Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 5th day

Television replays caused Sri Lanka's tampering concerns

Andrew Fernando at Bellerive Oval

December 18, 2012

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Peter Siddle grabbed a five-for, Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 3rd day, December 16, 2012
Peter Siddle was adamant that the video footage of him handling the ball had been misinterpreted © AFP
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Mahela Jayawardene has said it was the television broadcaster's choice of close-up replays that led Sri Lanka's team management to raise concerns with the match referee that Australia's players were allegedly tampering with the ball in Hobart.

Australia's players were since absolved by Broad. In a statement issued after the Test, Broad said that match officials had reviewed the footage and monitored the state of the ball, and had not found any evidence to suggest the condition of the ball had been changed.

Jayawardene said Sri Lanka's management simply reacted to close-up footage of Siddle's grip on the ball from the broadcaster. "[The ball tampering concerns] weren't from our management," he said. "It was something that was shown on television and that was it. We just wanted to make sure that the officials saw what we saw on television. We never made any official complaint about it. We just moved on. It's up to the officials to see if anything happened and if so, take action. If not, move on.

"For the TV guys to zoom in and stop, obviously they saw something funny. Otherwise, we had five days of Test cricket and nothing else was shown. It's up to the officials to find out, even from the TV guys, to see whether there was something funny happening, and if that is the reason that they showed it. Otherwise they don't have to show something like that on national television where millions of people are watching this match. That's what prompted us to find out what was going on. Like I said, we don't have any proof. We didn't see it happen."

After the match, Siddle was adamant the footage had been misinterpreted. Siddle took 9 for 104 in the Test and was the Man of the Match. "I wake up in the morning, I thought today if I ran out there and ball-tampered in front of 15 cameras and a lot of people watching the game I will get away with it?" Siddle said. "That is a ridiculous statement. Why would I want to jeopardise that when I know we can go out there and do everything in the spirit of the game and win. That's how we play and we always play. There's nothing to it at all."

Australia captain Michael Clarke backed Siddle and emphasised his team's commitment to playing fairly. "At the end of the day, the ICC have made it very clear there was nothing there," Clarke said. "I 100% believe we always play in the spirit of the game. I don't think any of the Australian players would ever jeopardise that or do anything to ruin our reputation. We play hard on the field but we understand there is a line you can't cross and we play the right way."

Jayawardene also said Sri Lanka would be dismayed if the match officials had not at least raised the issue with the Australian team. Broad's statement said he had spoken with Australia coach Mickey Arthur during the tea interval of day three, soon after the close-up shots of Siddle's grip had caused concern in the Sri Lanka camp.

"The easiest thing for them to have done is to at least have a chat with the Aussie management or the captain and see what happened," Jayawardene said. "If they haven't done that, we'd be a bit sad about it. That's the minimum requirement. Everyone saw on television, what they zoomed in on. It's not that just we saw something, it was on television."

When told that match officials had not found any evidence upon which to lay charges, Jayawardene said he was fine with their findings and was happy to move on. "The teams will fight it out there in the field - there's no love lost in that. Off the field we are pretty good friends and the players can have an unofficial chat about it. It's not that big a deal. I think they've got the talent to win matches without doing those kinds of things."

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

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