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Ashes: Michael Clarke backs Phillip Hughes in cheat row

Fifth Ashes Test: Australia 280 v England 488-7 (stumps, day three)
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Resumes: 2300 GMT Coverage: Live on Test Match Special (from 2245 GMT) on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW & online; TMS highlights online (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; live text on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
Match scorecard


Bell is no cheat - Clarke

Australia captain Michael Clarke has rejected claims that team-mate Phillip Hughes attempted to cheat Alastair Cook in the final Ashes Test in Sydney.

Hughes claimed a catch off Michael Beer at short leg, with Cook on 99, but this was overturned by a review that proved the ball had grounded first.

Cook went on to make 189 in England's 488-7 end-of-day-three total, which gives them a first-innings lead of 208.

"Phillip Hughes is not a cheat. He's a wonderful young guy," said Clarke.

"Hughesy wasn't sure. [Wicketkeeper] Brad Haddin, who saw the ball clearly, wasn't sure. We made that quite clear to the umpires.

"The umpires obviously referred the catch, checked it. I haven't seen the replays. But it must have come up clear that the ball bounced. And the right result was made."

English Test great Ian Botham, commentating on television, called Hughes a cheat when reviewing the incident but Clarke defended his player, saying: "I think that's a bit harsh from Ian to say that about Phillip. He's certainly not that kind of guy at all."

Cook, who extended his series aggregate to 766 at an average of 127.66 as a result of his impressive innings in Sydney, also supported Hughes against any impropriety.

"To be fair to Phil Hughes [he] said straight away that he wasn't sure [of the catch]," said the Essex opener.

"I obviously was going to hang around on 99, you're not going to walk off too quickly, you have to be dragged off.

"He said he wasn't sure, they went upstairs and I think the right decision was made."

It was Cook's second reprieve of the innings after he skied a Michael Beer ball to Ben Hilfenhaus at deep mid-on only for umpire Billy Bowden to ask for the third umpire to check on a suspected no-ball, which was confirmed by the review.

Cook was supported for much of his innings by Ian Bell, who joined the opener after Beer had Paul Collingwood caught by Hilfenhaus for 13 with the score on 226-5, and went on to score 115 - his first century against Australia.


However, the Warwickshire man was also indebted to a controversial review decision when he was given out caught behind by umpire Aleem Dar off Watson when on 67 - a call that was overturned on the basis that Hotspot had not picked up an edge.

But with nothing else making contact with the ball, and both Snicko and the stump microphone detecting a nick, it was highly questionable whether the final verdict was the right one.

Cook, who has benefitted from a number of technology decisions during the series, feels the system has led to correct verdicts.

"I think that one in Adelaide when I was hit on the arm I was given out and I referred it and the lbw one which I clearly hit in Melbourne," he said.

"At the moment I'm thinking it's looking after me, but I'm sure there will be another time where I am be given not out, it is referred and you then have to walk off and that's when you have to take your medicine, you then can't complain about it.

"I think some times you get a little bit lucky along the way and little things have gone my way on this trip and I'm really grateful for that."

The innings from Cook and Bell - along with Matt Prior, who scored 54 not out and added 107 with Bell - have put England in a strong position on day three and with a great chance of securing a first series victory in Australia for 24 years.

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