Hobart, Australia – Controversial television images from the first test at Hobart purporting to show Australian pace bowlers Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc altering the state of a ball from ‘being held in the hand’ to ‘dismissing opposition batsmen’ has been forwarded to the ICC after concerns were expressed by Sri Lankan team management.
The footage, taken during the final day of the first Australia versus Sri Lanka test, appears to show a close-up view of Siddle and Starc manipulating the match ball with their fingers to make it fly through the air until it hits the edge of an opposition bat.
Sri Lankan team manager, Charith Senanayake, explained his team’s concerns:
“I don’t want to get too drawn into this matter whilst it’s in the hands of the ICC but it was clear to everyone who saw today’s television coverage that the ball was being deliberately scuffed up by a process of the bowlers propelling it at high speed into the stumps, bats and pads of our players. That gives Australia a huge advantage as it’s difficult for our batsmen to build an innings when the ball has been altered like that and also because they’ve already been dismissed.”
But Australia coach, Mickey Arthur, was quick to put the controversy down to cultural differences:
“It’s part of an Australian bowlers upbringing to ricochet the ball at high speed off the edge of a bat but judging by their career averages that’s just not the case in Sri Lanka.”