Cricket: Proteas rub salt in wound
England have strenuously denied the accusations of ball-tampering levelled by South Africa at Stuart Broad yesterday, with coach Andy Flower calling the charges 'pernickety', WRITES Stephen Brenkley.
England were extremely angry about their opponents' actions and it seemed that talks between the two boards will be necessary to avoid bitter confrontations on the field in the rest of the Test series.
Although the tourists had heard nothing official from series referee Roshan Mahanama by the end of play yesterday, a team spokesman said: "We totally refute any suggestions of ball-tampering or malpractice."
Footage had been shown on television earlier in the day of Broad appearing to stamp on the ball as he stopped it with his foot -- the implication being that he was attempting to 'rough it up' to encourage it to swing.
However, the incident looked to have been swept aside later as South Africa extended their lead to a massive 330 with eight wickets still in hand.
But the home side's official spokesman began the post-match press conference by announcing: "We have raised our concerns with the match referee and it's up to him to decide if any further action or investigation is necessary."
South Africa must know that the repercussions of their actions were potentially explosive. Ball-tampering, if proved, can lead to penalty runs and even match bans for the guilty team. Infamously, at The Oval three years ago, a Test match was brought to a halt when Pakistan were accused of it -- and later cleared.
However, Mahanama said last night that he had received no official complaint. A written statement has to be made on an official form by the start of play today if the matter is to proceed.
And when the matter was raised with Flower, he had heard nothing about it.
"The umpires or match referees haven't said anything to us about it," he said.
"Over the years we have seen a lot of tall fast bowlers stop balls with their feet, so I don't see anything sinister in it. If you are talking about stopping a ball once with your boot, I think you are being a little bit pernickety." (© Independent News Service)