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August 25, 2008
Marcus Trescothick has admitted to shining the ball with help from mints during England's 2-1 Ashes victory in 2005. England's bowlers mesmerised the Australian batsmen with their late movement throughout the epic contest and Trescothick, who has retired from the international game, said he was the man in charge of "looking after the ball when we were fielding".
"It was my job to keep the shine on the new ball for as long as possible with a bit of spit and a lot of polish," he said in his autobiography Coming Back To Me. "And through trial and error I finally settled on the type of spit for the task at hand.
"It had been common knowledge in county cricket for some time that certain sweets produced saliva which, when applied to the ball for cleaning purposes, enabled it to keep its shine for longer and therefore its swing.'' He found Murray Mints worked the best.
Michael Clarke was a batsman who suffered from the swing and his poor time in England led to him being dropped from Australia's side the following summer. Three years later and he is not concerned by Trescothick's revelations.
"That's the past," Clarke said in Brisbane. "Right now we're looking forward to playing Bangladesh in Darwin. In 15 months we'll get our chance to play England. It doesn't bother me at all right now."
The tactic was raised publicly by Nathan Bracken, who first said he had seen sweets used in 2003, after England's 2005 victory. However, Bracken back-tracked when Simon Jones said his comments were silly and showed Australian sour grapes. Jones was one of the key exponents of reverse-swing in that series along with Andrew Flintoff.
Using artificial measures to shine the ball is illegal, but an ICC spokesman told the BBC it would not "outlaw sucking sweets''. "It depends on the evidence and circumstances, so if something is brought to our attention it would be dealt with," he said. "But where do you stop, for example, if you start to try to stop everyone who is chewing gum?''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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