Former Australian coach Darren Lehmann has hit out on social media in response to fans being handed pieces of sandpaper on their way to Australia’s opening ODI loss to England at The Oval.
Lehmann tweeted “your (sic) better than that?” to British journalist Alison Mitchell after she posted a photo of sandpaper four and six cards being handed out to the crowd.
The pieces of “Australian ball-tampering grade sandpaper” were part of an advertising stunt. It is understood 5000 sandpaper cards were confiscated in the ground.
— Darren Lehmann (@darren_lehmann) June 13, 2018
It was an unsubtle reference to Australia’s sandpaper ball-tampering scandal as they played their first international match since that ill-fated South African tour which led to long bans on skipper Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft.
Rookie Australian captain Tim Paine admitted before the game that his new-look team expected to cop plenty of flak from the English crowds.
Paine and Shaun Marsh were the only two players in the starting line-up that played in the infamous Cape Town Test, and the skipper indicated there hadn’t been much ribbing from the sell-out crowd aimed at his players.
“I’m pretty lucky being in the middle I can’t hear anything,” Paine said.
“I haven’t spoken to the [other guys] but there wasn’t any talk of copping too much stick out there which is nice.
“Maybe if we win a few games they might.”
But Paine’s reign as Australia captain began with a loss as his side slipped to a three-wicket defeat in London.
Paine won the toss and elected to bat in perfect conditions, only for his side’s batting woes to resurface once again as they were dismissed for just 214 in 47 overs.
Despite the hugely under-par total, a rookie Australia bowling attack did its best to force what would have been a stunning victory but England reached its target with six overs to spare finishing at 7-218.
Giant paceman Billy Stanlake was the pick of the attack, but he was ably supported by debutant Michael Neser and Andrew Tye with the trio taking two wickets apiece.
The 204-centimetre Queenslander bowled Jason Roy with the second ball of the England innings and also dismissed Joe Root (50) to finish with figures of 2-44.
England’s response got off to a shaky start as its slipped to 3-38 but, led by skipper Eoin Morgan (69) and Root, it recovered to 3-153 before Australia fought back to reduce the hosts to 7-197.
David Willey got his team over the line, finishing 35 not out to give Morgan’s side a sixth ODI success over Australia in its past seven meetings.