Aussies mint a fresh excuse for Ashes loss

Published: Wednesday, October 19, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:English bowlers regularly doctor the ball with breath-freshening mints to achieve the type of devastating reverse swing that left Australia's batsmen reeling during the Ashes series, New South Wales paceman Nathan Bracken said.

While Bracken did not directly accuse England's fast bowlers of tampering with the ball to achieve their first Ashes victory in 16 years, he did say the practice was commonplace in England.

Bracken, a fringe Test player who played no part in the Ashes, said English bowlers managed to get reverse swing by sucking a particular brand of mint available in Britain then polishing one side of the ball with their saliva.

Bracken said he first encountered the magic mint during a stint playing county cricket at Gloucester in 2003.

"It is just a breath mint you put in your mouth but it makes your saliva very sugary and that is being talked about being used over there," Bracken told commercial radio in Sydney.

"Every team has lollies (sweets) and things like that, we had all our lollies checked before the first game to make sure there was nothing illegal that we had.

"When I was playing at Gloucester a couple of years ago as soon as we needed the ball to go 'Irish' the captain would call and they would bring out some of these mints and it would work."

English bowlers Andrew Flintoff took 24 wickets at an average of 27 and Simon Jones took 18 wickets at 21 during the five Test Ashes series.

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