Accusations of 'cheating' as Durham prepares for Ashes

The Australia and England cricket teams began training at the Emirates Durham ICG, but before they had time to settle in, the debate had turned to accusations of cheating.

An Australian TV channel claimed both sides have applied silicone tape to their bats, to attempt to mislead the wicket technology Hot Spot - which umpires turn to when there is doubt over whether a player has hit the ball.

Dan Ashby reports.

On Twitter, Kevin Pietersen responded to the claims.

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Horrible journalism yet again! My name brought up in hotspot crisis suggesting I use silicon to prevent nicks showing! Such hurtful lies..?

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I am never afraid of getting out! If I nick it, I'll walk.. To suggest I cheat by covering my bat with silicon infuriates me..

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How stupid would I be to try & hide a nick when it could save me on an LBW appeal, like in 1st innings where hotspot showed I nicked it..

Meanwhile, anticipation is building for the fourth Ashes test, which begins on Friday. England have already retained the Ashes, but could win the series outright with a victory in the North East.

And a local lad could help them to do it. Durham cricketer Graham Onions is in the squad. He said to play against Australia, in front of his family, would be "a dream come true".

Durham Emirates ICG
The fourth test, in the shadow of Lumley Castle, will be the first Ashes match ever held in the North East Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
England have already retained the Ashes with a draw, but could win the series outright in Durham Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen in Durham said the accusations against him were "hurtful lies" Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Kevin Pietersen's bat
A view of Kevin PIetersen's bat during a nets session in Durham, as his England side prepare for the fourth Ashes test Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire