Broad questions thought process behind Australia's ball-tampering

Australia's decision to alter an effective bowling method surprised Stuart Broad, who was surprised by Darren Lehmann's crowd complaints.

England bowler Stuart Broad   -  Getty Images

England's Stuart Broad has questioned why Australia moved away from the bowling methods that served them so well during the Ashes, following Saturday's ball-tampering controversy.

Australia captain Steve Smith and bowler Cameron Bancroft admitted attempting to alter the condition of the ball after the latter rubbed tape covered in dirt against the ball on day three of the third Test in South Africa.

But having seen Australia bowl effectively in their dominant Ashes win earlier this year, Broad cannot understand the decision to take a risk that resulted in Smith losing the captaincy for the rest of the series.

"I've only seen the series from afar but, between two brilliant teams, it has seemed to be marred by off-the-field things - the [Kagiso] Rabada stuff, now the ball-tampering issue," Broad said after day four of England's Test with New Zealand, where they trail by 237 runs.

"It's a real shame. I saw Steve Smith in his press conference say it's the first time they've tried it, which to me seems really surprising they've changed a method that's been working. 

"Look at the Ashes series we've just played, look through all of those Test matches and they reverse swing the ball sometimes in conditions you wouldn't expect the ball to reverse. So I don't understand why they've changed their method for this one game."

Asked if that could mean Australia also tampered during the Ashes, Broad replied: "I don't know - Steve's said it's the first time they've tried it so he's saying they have [changed their methods].

"And there was no evidence they were doing this in the Ashes series from what I've seen."

Broad was then asked if he thought there was some hypocrisy to complaints from Australia coach Darren Lehmann about the South African crowd, the same man having previously called on his own home support to target the 31-year-old in 2013.

"[Hypocrisy] is your word, not mine," Broad told reporters. "But I'd agree with you.

"You look at the quotes from that 2013 interview, where he basically asked the country to send an opposition player home crying. We lost the series, but it didn't make me cry. I quite enjoyed the series, and the banter, and all that sort of stuff.

"I then can't understand why you'd come out and moan about a different country and what they're saying to players.

"I've always been a bit of a believer in sport [where] if someone looks you in the eye, you look them back in the eye. If someone wants to take you on verbally, and they've started that fight, then you're allowed to say something back.

"Just from the outside, it looks like Australia have started a lot of fights and are moaning when someone comes back."

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