Cricket: Root not aware of any ball tampering during Ashes

Joe Root refused to speculate on Australia's ball-tampering scandal and was not aware of any similar incidents in the Ashes.

England captain Joe Root insists he was never aware of any ball tampering during the Ashes amid the fall-out from Australia's admission to cheating in their series with South Africa.

Australia captain Steve Smith has been banned for the final match of the four-game series after he revealed he had been involved in a plot to manipulate the ball on day three of the third Test, which they lost by 322 runs.

Opener Cameron Bancroft used tape and dirt from the Newlands pitch in an attempt to engineer reverse swing and has been fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points for his part in the fiasco.

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Reports have claimed England had concerns about ball tampering during their 4-0 Ashes defeat, while footage of Bancroft appearing to spoon sugar into his pocket during that series has recently emerged on social media.

But, speaking to Sky Sports following England's first-Test defeat to New Zealand, Root said: "I wasn't aware of anything personally [during the Ashes], I'm sure there's plenty of other people around the world making comments, I don't think there's any need for me to get involved.

"I've got plenty on my own plate to worry about to make sure we prepare well throughout the rest of this series and make sure we win in Christchurch. I haven't got too much to say on the matter but it's obviously not been great for cricket."

One of the many subplots of Australia's duel with South Africa has been the tourists' complaints about the treatment they have received from the home fans.

Root would not be drawn on the irony surrounding the focus on the behaviour of spectators given the often hostile nature of crowds in Australia.

"You go to certain places around the world and you get different receptions, different atmospheres," he added. 

"Australia can be quite hostile and as a player you have to deal with that, you have to learn to take that as you have to deal with different atmospheres elsewhere as well."

"It was a very different press conference wasn't it," Root added, alluding to the contrast between Bancroft and Smith's media conference admitting to ball tampering and the one they held in Brisbane as the pair giggled when discussing Jonny Bairstow's greeting of Bancroft with a headbutt in an off-field meeting prior to the Ashes.

"I think they've got plenty on their plate to deal with, as England captain all I can worry about is this team and make sure we come back strong from a very disappointing game here."