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Rediff News  All News  » Cricket » Bracken unwraps Ashes swing secret

Bracken unwraps Ashes swing secret

October 19, 2005 15:52 IST

Australian fast bowler Nathan Bracken suspects a mint sweet could have been the secret weapon behind England's stunning Ashes victory.

Australia's batsmen were baffled by the way England's bowlers, particularly Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones, were able to make the ball reverse swing when their own paceman could not.

Bracken, a regular on the English county circuit, believes he may have unwrapped the mystery that played a significant part in Australia's 2-1 series loss.

"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," he told reporters in Australia on Wednesday.

"Every team has lollies 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."

There is no suggestion England's players broke any rules as players are permitted to apply saliva and sweat to polish the ball.

However, officials have begun to crackdown on any suspicious activities with Cricket Australia issuing an advisory to watch out for anyone "loading" one side of the ball.

Bracken's explanation about the art of reverse swing, the ability to swing an old cricket ball in the opposite direction to that expected by batsmen, is the latest in a series of theories that have puzzled the cricket world for decades.

Most were based on suspicion and claims it was done illegally, with bottle tops and penknives and sharp fingernails while some players were caught on tape trying to scuff up the ball or apply lubricants, earning the practice a dubious reputation as ball-tampering.

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