Sport Cricket Disturbing new evidence raises questions on whether the Ashes were tainted

Disturbing new evidence raises questions on whether the Ashes were tainted

Cameron Bancroft South Africa
Bancroft fronted the press to admit tampering with the ball in South Africa. Photo: Getty
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As disturbing footage of Cameron Bancroft allegedly putting a spoonful of sugar into his pocket during this summer’s Ashes emerged, England pace bowler Stuart Broad has revealed he was surprised by the amount of reverse swing Australia generated during the series.

Australian cricket is in damage control after sidelined captain Steve Smith revealed that he and his leadership group plotted to tamper with the ball during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Young batsman Bancroft was then left to commit the crime with a piece of tape, spotted by eagle-eyed camera operators. The 25-year-old was later charged by the ICC and fined 75 per cent of his match fee.

More punishment came for Smith, suspended for the fourth Test by the ICC, and Cricket Australia are sure to weigh in with their own sanctions, likely to be harsher.

As the fall out continued on Monday, footage of Bancroft allegedly spooning sugar into his pants during the Ashes emerged.

If the product was sugar, it is unclear what it was used for, or if it was used at all.

Sugar could be used on a cricket ball to affect how it moves through the air.

According to The Telegraph, the incident was, at the time, explained as a way of giving Bancroft an energy boost on a hot day.

The footage in question. Photo: Wide World Of Sports

The release of the footage came after Broad said Smith’s side got lots of reverse swing “in conditions where you wouldn’t expect the ball to reverse” in the Ashes series they won 4-0.

Broad stopped short of accusing Australia of ball-tampering during the Ashes but did express surprise at the side’s change in tactics.

“I saw Steve Smith say it was the first time they have tried it [ball tampering],” he said.

“To me, it’s surprising – why they would change a method that’s been working?

“If you look at the Ashes series we’ve just played, they reverse swung the ball in nearly all of those Test matches sometimes in conditions where you wouldn’t expect the ball to reverse.

“I don’t understand why they have changed their method for this one game.

“But Steve said this is the first time they have tried it and we have to believe his words … there was no evidence they were doing this in the Ashes series from what I’ve seen.”

‘Hypocrite’ Lehmann criticised

The series in South Africa has been dominated by scandal, with David Warner and Proteas wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock having to be separated by teammates in an ugly clash.

The incident was allegedly sparked by de Kock’s comments about Warner’s wife, Candice.

On-field drama and sledging, and abuse from crowds, has been a constant, too.

Earlier in the third Test, Australia coach Darren Lehmann – under major pressure due to the cheating scandal – blasted South African fans for “disgraceful behaviour”.

Darren Lehmann
Lehmann was not happy with South African fans. Photo: Getty

Lehmann has previously urged Australian crowds to “give it to Broad right from the word go”.

“And I hope he cries and goes home”, he said, speaking after Broad refused to walk when edging a ball during a 2013 Ashes Test.

Broad was asked by The Sun if he thought Lehmann was a hypocrite and said: “That’s your word, not mine, but I would agree with you, yes.

“You look at the quotes from that 2013 interview where he basically asked the country to send an opposition player home crying. I didn’t.

“We lost the series but it didn’t make me cry. I enjoyed the series and the banter and all that sort of stuff.

“So I can’t understand why you’d come out and moan about a different country and what they are saying to their players … just from the outside, it looks like Australia have started a lot of fights and then moaned when someone comes back.”

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