FORMER England star Nick Compton believes Australia's "personal" sledging has gone too far while fast bowler Jimmy Anderson revealed why his team's verbal attack on Steve Smith was a success, despite the captain's denials.
Compton opened the batting in 16 Tests - his last of which was in 2016 - and said the way England has reacted in the Ashes suggests it isn't just dealing with the usual barbs commonly dismissed as "banter".
Jonny Bairstow went nose-to-nose with Peter Handscomb in Brisbane after receiving a few choice words and Joe Root waved his bat at Tim Paine when he copped a mouthful in Adelaide. Paine hosed down the seriousness of the exchange this week but Compton said Australia has likely overstepped the mark this summer.
"To be honest I think the Aussies came pretty hard at the English and some of the things that were said - there's no doubt they went beyond the call of duty if you know what I mean," Compton told RSN radio.
"When you've played that much cricket, when you've played international matches, it takes a lot to get through to someone. You've probably heard it all before and it takes a bit more, something a little bit personal to really get under the skin of top professionals.
"I think that's what's happened.
"It's riled the English a little bit, they've tried to come back and fight fire with fire and you can say that in many ways it could be a good thing.
"Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have got a bit to say as well. I don't think anyone in the English team or the Australian team are saints by any stretch of the imagination.
"It's a Test series, an Ashes series and you're going to get what you give."
Anderson, in the headlines this week after it was revealed England Lions batsman Ben Duckett poured a beer over his head in the same Perth bar where Bairstow headbutted Cameron Bancroft, said he expects Australia to use the latest alcohol-related incident to disturb the tourists in the third Test starting at the WACA on Thursday.
He said the incident was "not malicious and was a bit of a non-event" before taking a sly dig at the Aussies by saying whatever Duckett material they use will be funnier than what they've dished out in the series so far.
"I know Australia will use the Duckett incident as a way of goading us, or taking the mickey," Anderson wrote in an article for The Telegraph. "Fine. It will probably be funnier than what they have spouted at me so far in this series.
"They jump on anything to have a go at you so I am expecting a bit of lip. I have no problem with that."
Anderson was involved in a prolonged stoush with Steve Smith when the hosts' skipper was batting in Adelaide, umpire Aleem Dar having to come between the pair.
Smith said afterwards the sledging made him concentrate even more but Anderson has dismissed that suggestion, believing the way the world's No. 1 ranked Test batsman snubbed teammate Usman Khawaja is proof his mind was elsewhere.
"In Adelaide we tried to get in Steve Smith's bubble. In the first innings I sensed he was more bothered about what Stuart (Broad) and I were saying to him, which was not very interesting," Anderson wrote.
"We knew he was focusing on us because between overs he was supposed to go and talk to Usman Khawaja. He was waiting for the chat from his captain but Smith ignored him and went back to his own end because he wanted to speak to us instead. We knew we were on top.
"Essentially we did not say a word to him second innings. We just bowled really well at him and that was enough."