Cricket chiefs probe Ashes betting claim

Cricket chiefs are probing a suspicious betting allegation concerning the Ashes series ahead of tomorrow's crunch final test.

The sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has received a report from the Australia team making a claim of suspicious bookmaking activity during the current Ashes series.

According to website Cricinfo, an Australian player was approached by a man suspected to be linked to illegal bookmaking at the team's hotel, following their defeat by England in the second Test at Lord's last month.

The unidentified player is said to have alerted senior team officials immediately, who contacted the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU).

England take on Australia at The Oval in the winner-takes-all clash which starts tomorrow. The sides are level at 1-1, with England needing to win to claim back the historic urn.

An ICC spokesman said: "I can confirm the ACSU has received a report from Australia team management.

"The anti-corruption and security unit of the ICC has developed and implemented a fairly comprehensive education programme for all international players and every single international player has undergone that education and is aware of his responsibilities to report any suspicious activity that he feels he may have been subject to.

"It seems in this case that education has hit home and we have received a report that the ACSU will now investigate."

The ACSU was set up in 2000 in the wake of match-fixing allegations and revelations about South Africa captain Hansie Cronje and the captains of India and Pakistan, Mohammed Azharuddin and Salim Malik, who were all subsequently banned for life.