Melbourne [Australia]: England cricket team coach Trevor Bayliss on Friday strongly condemned the ball tampering charge against fast bowler James Anderson.
Footage on Channel Nine showing Anderson running his thumb-nail along the seam of the ball on Friday drew fierce criticism from several Australian commentators and former players.
Bayliss, however, dismissed the allegations, calling them “beat up” stories and “Pommie bashing”.
“If he (Anderson) was trying to scratch it, he was scratching the wrong side. I am sure that is not the case. We’ve had a good couple of days and there hasn’t been too much positive press from their (Australia) point of view. It’s a bit of Pommie-bashing. You’ve got to laugh it off and put up with it,” Bayliss told The Telegraph.
The head coach claimed that he was assured by umpires S Ravi and Kumar Dharmasena that they had no concerns over the aired footage.
“It is a beat up. As soon as I saw the headlines, I raced into the umpires. The words they used were it was a ‘beat up’ and that it is absolutely fine. That is as much as I know. You are allowed to clean the ball,” he added.
Pacer Stuart Broad also picked a piece of leather off the ball with the permission of the umpires.
Channel Nine then broadcasted a freeze-frame image of Jimmy Anderson looking as though he was picking the ball with his left thumb.
“I’m not sure you are allowed to use your fingernail there,” said Shane Warne during commentary.
“That’s interesting, you can’t get your nail into the ball. That’s a no-no,” added Michael Slater.
“It didn’t look great, to be honest. There might be a little bit of a ‘please explain’ there for Jimmy Anderson,” said ex-Australian cricketer Michael Hussey.
Several cricketers also took to micro-blogging website Twitter to air their concerns.
Mitchell Johnson raised questions on how England were able to extract reverse swing after only 10 overs.
“Ball reversing under 10 overs,” the 36-year-old wrote on Twitter.
But former England captain Michael Vaughan was quick to jump to Anderson’s defence.
“Ball tampering incident is ridiculous … Clearly a slow news day in #Melbourne … #OnOn,” he posted.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 29, 2017
At the close of play, Australia were 103 for the loss of two wickets of opener Cameron Bancroft (27) and batsman Usman Khawaja (11).
David Warner (40*) and captain Steve Smith (25*) were at the crease before rain stopped play.
Australia now trail by 61 runs with 8 wickets in hand.
The home side is already 3-0 in the five-match series. (ANI)