Soon after the news of Australian ball tampering broke out during the Australia-South Africa Test series and Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft faced suspensions, former English batsman Michael Vaughan had accused the Aussies of trying to change the condition of the ball during the Ashes.
Hinting at the involvement of David Warner in the malicious act, Vaughan had said, "I look at the amount of tape some of the fielders have worn, particularly during the Ashes series at mid-on and mid-off. You don't have to name names, they know who they are."
Although Captain Steve Smith said in a press conference that it was the first time that such a thing had happened, the incident certainly left us with some unanswered questions. One of them being, ‘Was ball tampering the reason behind the booming reverse swing by Australian bowlers in the Ashes?’
Here’s Cameron Bancroft appearing to put sugar in his pocket against England in January... pic.twitter.com/ju6W47PECc— David Coverdale (@dpcoverdale) March 24, 2018
Now, former English Captain Alastair Cook has also admitted that England suspected the Aussies were tampering with the ball during their 4-0 Ashes drubbing this winter.
Cook said that he was amazed with the home side's ability to find such drastic movement on the final day of the third Perth Test during the Ashes, despite most of the morning session being lost to the heavy rain. Even after some water managed to seep through the covers onto the pitch, the Aussie quicks were successful in squaring up the English batsmen. After the delay, England looked set to save the match but Australia took just a little over 30 overs to clinch England's six remaining wicket, with the ball reverse swinging a fair bit.
The southpaw said "We did think in Perth, when the outfield was wet after the rain, how had they managed to get the ball reversing? I didn't see anything, [but] we've been pretty good on the ball, managing the ball so that it can reverse swing at certain times. Jimmy [Anderson] is obviously very good at reverse swinging, we got it going a touch at Melbourne either way, but with those drop-in pitches we didn't get it going massively."
However, in the same breath Cook also suggested the additional pace of the Aussie bowlers as one of the reasons for them being able to extract a bit more. "We were curious in that series at certain moments but we couldn't get the ball up to 90 mph and they consistently could. That was the thing back in 2005. Obviously in England, we had Simon Jones and Freddie [Flintoff] who were quicker than the Aussies and they managed to get the reverse swing."
The highest scoring English Test batsman advocated for fair play and said that that the outcry after the entire Sandpaper gate incident is a reminder of how people want to watch their sport. However, Cook refused to comment on the quantum of punishment meted by Cricket Australia to the Aussie players.
© Cricket World 2018