Siddle shocked by ball-tampering allegations

DAVID BENIUK
Last updated 22:39 18/12/2012
Ball tampering
SEAM PICK?: The photo of the alleged incident from Sunday's play.

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Australian pace spearhead Peter Siddle has reacted with disbelief to reports he was the subject of an unofficial complaint from Sri Lanka about ball-tampering during Australia's first Test victory.

Sri Lankan officials alerted ICC match referee Chris Broad to television footage allegedly showing Australian players lifting the seam of the ball during the tourists' first innings.

While Australia pressed for victory on day five at Bellerive, the real drama was unfolding off the ground as an unsourced media report named Siddle as one of the tamperers.

A Lankan official confirmed a conversation had taken place with Broad, who released a statement saying no formal complaint had been lodged.

Broad then released another statement on Tuesday evening clearing the Australians of any wrongdoing.
A clearly perplexed Siddle described the suggestions as "ridiculous" with "15 cameras" watching his every move.

"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?" he told reporters.

The big-hearted quick, who took the first four Sri Lankan wickets to fall on day five for a match haul of 9-104, said his girlfriend had first alerted him to the reports on Twitter, where a photograph was circulating.

"On Twitter you say what you want and obviously there's no consequences," Siddle said.

"If you took a picture every time I turned around and ran into bowl it's going to look exactly like that same picture.

"If you watched a video of it you'd just see me turning around holding the ball and running in.

"You take a still picture, you can make anything unreal."

Broad said the umpires had inspected the ball after reviewing the video footage on Sunday.

"There was no evidence to suggest that the condition of the ball was changed, or that the video or photographic evidence would support a charge under the code of conduct," he said.

Broad said he had told Australian coach Mickey Arthur the umpires would continue their inspections and then informed Sri Lankan team management of the outcome.

Australian captain Michael Clarke said he was unaware of the alleged incident until Tuesday, but defended his team's sportsmanship.

"I 100 per cent believe that we always play in the spirit of the game," he said.

"I don't think any of the Australian players would ever jeopardise that and do anything to ruin our reputation."

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Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene said there had been no formal complaint to umpires because his players had not witnessed anything on the field.

"We can ask the match officials if we saw something on television whether they saw the same thing," he said.

"When that was asked, they said 'Yes we saw that, we put a note on that'."

Jayawardene said the incident wouldn't sour the good relations between the two sides heading into the final two matches of the series.

Pacemen Mitchell Starc (5-63) and Siddle (4-50) claimed nine wickets to bowl Australia to a 137-run victory late on day five, dismissing the tourists for 255.

Tasmanian quick Jackson Bird has been called into Australia's squad for the Boxing Day Test for Ben Hilfenhaus (side), while Usman Khawaja is on standby for Clarke (hamstring). 

- AAP

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