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The Ashes: England coach hits out over ‘Pommie-bashing’

PUBLISHED: 08:17 29 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:17 29 December 2017

England's James Anderson celebrates the wicket of Usman Khawaja at the MCG (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

England's James Anderson celebrates the wicket of Usman Khawaja at the MCG (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

England head coach Trevor Bayliss revealed his side are not under any investigation over allegations of ball-tampering and believes the claims are another example of “Pommie-bashing” in Australia.

Rain stops play during day four of the Ashes Test at the Melbourne Circket Ground (pic Jason O'Brien/PA) Rain stops play during day four of the Ashes Test at the Melbourne Circket Ground (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

Controversy arose on the penultimate day of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne, shortened by rain, when several commentators drew attention to television footage which appeared to show England seamer James Anderson rubbing a thumb nail on the ball.

Using a thumb or fingernail in an effort to scuff up one side of the ball which could encourage reverse swing is strictly prohibited and the tourists were warned by the umpires about throwing it on the bounce to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

However, Bayliss said Anderson is not under suspicion from the umpires and pointed out England’s leading wicket-taker of all-time had been attempting to clean the shiny side of the ball.

He told BT Sport: “As soon as I did see it I went to the umpires to find out what was going on. There was absolutely nothing to worry about. You’re able to clean the ball and that’s what we were doing.

“He was cleaning the ball and if he was trying to rough it up, he was trying to rough the wrong side up, that was the shiny side his thumb was on. The umpires have got absolutely no problem with it at all.”

Former Australia international Shane Warne was among those to speculate on the drama as England all-but secured at least a draw at the MCG, ensuring they would avoid a second successive whitewash Down Under.

Bayliss added: “We’ve had a good couple of days and there hasn’t been a lot of positive pressure from their point of view so there’s been a bit of Pommie-bashing there, we’re used to that I suppose.

“We knew when we came here it was going to be 24 million versus 11, we’ve just got to laugh it off as part of the game. You’ve got to put up with it.”

Australia are still 61 runs in arrears after closing on 103-2 although their two key batsmen David Warner (40 not out) and captain Steve Smith (25 not out) are still at the crease.

Anderson had fallen to the first ball of the day to leave Alastair Cook unbeaten on 244 and the first England opener to carry his bat for 20 years as their first innings closed on 491.

The hosts collapsed from 260-3 to 327 all out in their first innings and despite losing 43 overs to bad weather on day four, Bayliss remains positive England can seal a consolation win in a series in which they are trailing 3-0.

He said: “The first innings we took six or seven wickets for not a lot of runs, so it is possible.

“Obviously the two best Australian batsmen are at the crease at the moment so they’ll be difficult to get through, but if we can do that and put some pressure on the rest of the batting line-up, pressure can do funny things.”

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