Steve Smith was banned for one year following the ball-tampering scandal in the Newlands Test against South Africa. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Steve Harmison had ruffled a few feathers when he said Steve Smith would forever be remembered as a cheat despite his magnificent performances in the Ashes 2019 contest. Smith was handed a one-year ban after he was caught tampering with the ball along with Cameron Bancroft and David Warner during the Newlands Test against South Africa in March 2018. In a chat with talkSPORT, Harmison said Smith could not be forgotten. "When you're known as a cheat - and he is, I'm not going to sugar-coat it - that's on your CV. You're marked and you take it to the grave. Whatever Steve Smith does, he'll always be remembered for what happened in South Africa."That's something he's got to live with. I can't see anyone's opinion changing on Smith, Bancroft, or Warner - because they've tarnished the game," Harmison said.
However, the war of words has now intensified with Australia pacer Peter Siddle laughing off Harmison's comment. While speaking with the SEN SA Breakfast show, Siddle recalled how a couple of England players have admitted to tampering with the ball during the 2005 Ashes series.
"It’s more of a laugh than anything because we know some stories about what has gone on in the past. A couple of his teammates from back then put out books since the ‘05 Ashes and talked about sugar-coating the cricket ball to get reverse swing in that series. That’s the irony in all that, that he actually used the word sugar-coat when two of his teammates have talked about mints and different things to put on the ball. It actually comes back on him," Siddle said.
Siddle was referencing to the autobiography of Marcus Trescothick in which he spoke about this incident. In Trescothick's Book "Coming Back To Me", Trescothick admitted that he used mint-induced saliva to keep the shine on the ball during the 2005 Ashes series. In the book, Trescothick wrote he had used Murray Mints to produce a saliva which, "when applied to the ball for cleaning purposes, enabled it to keep its shine for longer and therefore its swing'.'
England won the Ashes for the first time in 16 years as they won the 2005 series 2-1. Tim Paine's Australian side are bidding to become the first team since Steve Waugh's side in 2001 to win a series in England. On the other hand, Joe Root's side will be determined to win at The Oval and ensure a drawn Ashes contest for the first time since 1972.