Australians at last find some spirit ... haunting them

It is official: Australia's cricketers have been spooked out on their tour of England.

No, not by the vision of Kevin Pietersen smashing Jason Gillespie all around Bristol, or by the illusion of Stephen Harmison ripping through the Australians' highly rated batting line-up. Not even by the sight of Bangladesh causing one of the greatest upsets in sport at Cardiff on Saturday.

They have been spooked out by The Lily of Lumley, the ghost that is believed to haunt Lumley Castle, the hotel in Durham where the tourists are staying before their NatWest series encounter against England tomorrow.

Lily was at work on Monday night when she caused several members of the Australian touring party to have a sleepless night. The ghost of Lord Lumley's wife, who was murdered and thrown down a well within the 14th-century castle, is said to come up via the well and rumblings in the dark led to Shane Watson abandoning his room and sleeping on the Brett Lee's floor.

Belinda Dennett, Australia's media officer, also had a night she will never forget. "My phone went off in the middle of the night and I looked out of the window," she said. "I knew I had closed the blinds but they were open and I saw a procession of white people walking past. It was amazing, very scary. Then I went back to bed and the blind went up, and there was someone looking in through the window. I know I wasn't dreaming because I wrote down a message from my phone and the time."

The Australians are not the first touring team to have had an experience like this at the hotel. In 2005 three West Indies cricketers asked if they could be relocated to another hotel.

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