ICC - England in the clear
The ICC have confirmed no action will be taken against England over their treatment of the ball during the Newlands Test.
Last Updated: 06/01/10 6:41pm
The International Cricket Council have confirmed no action will be taken against England over their treatment of the ball during the Newlands Test.
South Africa had earlier decided not to make an official complaint to match referee Roshan Mahanama about their suspicions of ball tampering by the tourists on day three of the third Test.
The Proteas had, however, raised their concerns with Mahanama on Tuesday evening over "allegations about the ball".
Television footage of England seamers Stuart Broad and James Anderson alerted the home side to the possibility that they were trying to alter its condition to accelerate reverse-swing.
South Africa had until the start of play on Wednesday to make a formal complaint and therefore effectively force Mahanama to investigate the issue further on behalf of the ICC.
But that complaint was not forthcoming and the ICC subsequently released a statement, reporting the umpires have also decided no charge is justified against any player - and the matter is therefore closed.
The statement read: "The International Cricket Council confirms that it has received no official lodgement from South Africa team management laying a charge against any England player following reports of alleged breaches of Law 42.3 (changing the condition of the ball) on day three of the third Test between the two teams in Cape Town.
"With play on day four of the match having resumed, the deadline for submission of such notification has now passed.
"In addition, having reviewed relevant television footage, the umpires decided not to bring a charge against any player for a breach of Law 42.3.
"As such, the ICC now considers this specific matter to be closed."
England had responded on Tuesday evening by "refuting any suggestions of ball-tampering or malpractice".
They will nonetheless inevitably be under the microscope for the final two days of the third Test.
South Africa's concerns centred on Broad stopping a straight drive with the sole of his boot - studs and all - on the third morning, and television pictures showing Anderson running his thumb and fingers over the ball on other occasions.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain was not surprised to learn of South Africa's concerns after the footage emerged.
Hussain told Sky Sports: "We've all been there, we're not whiter than white, where you see the ball and think would it be nice to get nails into that, get it reverse-swinging.
"But you've just got to leave it alone because if the opposition see you going like that to the ball they get very fidgety.
"Some cricketers of old allegedly would get their nails into it, use implements to really scrape it off and it would go very quickly.
"It doesn't look like James Anderson is trying to do that.
"He's been in the middle and he's playing with the thing but that is right on the edge of acceptable, he probably hasn't altered (the ball) that much, but if he does it for 30 overs he is altering the ball."
Another former England skipper, Mike Atherton, suggested picking at the seam has "gone on since time immemorial" and urged South Africa to take their complaints to match officials if they have serious concerns.
"They're serious allegations," Atherton said. "They (South Africa) must put up or shut up rather than put it out in the wider domain that they've got concerns over the ball."