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Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann expresses displeasure over sandpaper banter in England

As part of an advertising stunt, sandpaper cards with number 4 and 6 printed on them were used ahead of the Oval ODI between Australia and England on Wednesday.

cricket Updated: Jun 14, 2018 17:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Australia Cricket coach,Darren Lehmann,England vs Australia
Darren Lehmann quit as the coach of Australia cricket team in the wake of ball-tampering row in South Africa.(AFP)

Former Australia coach and middle order batsman Darren Lehmann took umbrage over the use of sandpaper cards to ruffle Australian cricketers during their opening ODI against England at the Oval on Thursday.

Making his displeasure known in a tweet, Lehmann reacted strongly to British journalist Alison Mitchell’s post featuring photos of England fans being handed over sandpapers with number 4 and 6 printed on them.

“Your better than that @AlisonMitchell?” read the 48-year-old’s tweet.

According to a report in The New Daily, the sandpaper cards were part of an advertising stunt with security officials confiscating some 5000 such cards from the ground.

The stunt was meant to get under the skin of visiting Australian players by making a reference to the infamous sandpaper ball-tampering scandal that broke out during Australia’s tour of South Africa earlier this year.

The ball-tampering scandal tarnished the image of Australian cricket team and resulted in a 12-month ban to captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner, besides a nine-month sanction for young opener Cameron Bancroft.

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The ongoing limited-overs tour of England is Australia’s first international assignment post the ball-tampering fallout.

Under the leadership of Tim Paine and newly appointed coach Justin Langer, the Australian team is taking part in five-match ODI series with the hosts. They will also play a T20I during the tour.

In the first match of the ODI series, a new-look Australian team suffered a three-wicket defeat against England on Wednesday. Despite getting skittled out for only 214, Australia’s rookie pace bowlers showed good fight and were able to give the hosts a scare.

Billy Stanlake, Andrew Tye and debutant Michael Neser took two wickets apiece as England were reduced to 163 for 6 at one stage during their run chase. A composed 49-ball 35 from bowler David Willey, though, took England over the line with three wickets and 36 balls to spare.

This was England’s sixth victory against Australia in the last seven ODIs. England had earlier beaten Australia 4-1 in a five-match ODI series Down Under just after the Ashes.

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First Published: Jun 14, 2018 17:59 IST