In THE wake of his side’s 137-run first Test loss, captain Mahela Jayawardene denied that ball-tampering allegations levelled at Australia’s Peter Siddle were first raised by Sri Lankan team management.
Close-up replays of footage taken during Siddle’s five-wicket haul in the first innings in Hobart appeared to show the Australian spearhead rubbing at the seam of the ball.
However, an ICC statement at the conclusion of play yesterday confirmed Siddle had no case to answer in relation to any such allegations.
Despite the bowler being found innocent, Jayawardene was still keen to impress on reporters after the game that Sri Lanka were not behind questions being asked over Siddle’s actions.
“It wasn’t from our management,” Jayawardene declared.
“It was something we saw on television which was shown and that was it, nothing else.
“We just wanted to make sure the officials saw what we saw on television, simple as that. We never made any official complaint about it, we just moved on.”
Jayawardene was at pains to point out the only action taken by the Sri Lankan camp was to query the substance of the television footage with match referee Chris Broad and that this did not constitute any kind of formal allegation.
“It’s not just that we picked up something, it was shown on television,” he said. “The minimum requirement would have been to at least have a chat and see what happened and for us all to move on, simple as that.
“If we see something happening we can make an official report, which we haven’t done because we haven’t seen anything [during play]. It was an informal discussion. We can ask the match officials, if we saw something on television, whether they saw the same thing. There’s a lot of informal discussions that happen between the officials and the management.”
Siddle was named man of the match after also taking four for 50 in the second innings, against the backdrop of the tampering claims, to complete career-best match figures of nine for 104.
Mitchell Starc added five for 63 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 255. Despite the controversy, Jayawardene said relations between the two camps remained amicable and there would be no bad blood ahead of the second Test in Melbourne.
“It’s pretty good, it’s fine,” he said of his team’s rapport with the Australians. “We will fight it out on the field and they know there’s no love lost in that but, off the field, we’re pretty good friends and, if there’s something, obviously we can have an unofficial chat about it, the players, but it’s not a big deal.
“I think they’ve got the talent to win matches without doing that kind of stuff so I’m pretty confident about that.”
Australia have named Usman Khawaja and Jackson Bird in their squad for the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka.
Michael Clarke has been included in the party but the Australia skipper is a doubt for the match after injuring his hamstring while batting as the hosts wrapped up victory in the first Test. With seamer Ben Hilfenhaus also ruled out with a side injury, the national selection panel has turned to Mitchell Johnson and Bird as potential replacements.