ICC: No evidence of corruption regarding 3rd Ashes test

FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2017, file photo, England's captain Joe Root, center, prepares to lead his team onto the ground for the second day of their Ashes test match against Australia in Adelaide, Australia. Root's first Ashes tour as England cricket captain has been more eventful than he expected, just not in the way he had hoped. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

PERTH, Australia (AP) The International Cricket Council says there is no evidence the third Ashes test had been ”corrupted” after claims in a British newspaper that bookmakers offered to fix parts of the match.

The Sun newspaper published purported evidence of bookmakers offering to sell details of rigged periods of play for betting purposes in the test which began on Thursday in Perth.

ICC anti-corruption unit general manager Alex Marshall launched an investigation.

”From my initial assessment of the material, there is no evidence, either from The Sun or via our own intelligence, to suggest the current test match has been corrupted,” Marshall said in a statement. ”At this stage of the investigation, there is no indication that any players in this test have been in contact with the alleged fixers.

”The allegations are wide-ranging and relate to various forms of cricket in several countries, including T20 tournaments. We will look closely at all the information as part of our investigation.”

Marshall said police have not been contacted over the claims.

”Nothing has been referred as yet because we are still assessing the information. If we deem that offenses have taken place in countries where match-fixing is illegal then, yes, we will work with the local police and report our concerns and share information to push for prosecution.”

Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board offered to cooperate with the ICC investigation.

The Sun said it conducted a four-month investigation, with interviews conducted at hotels in New Delhi and Dubai with two men claiming to be involved in illegal gambling.

”Before match, I will tell you this over, this runs and then you have to put all the bets on that over,” a man says in the Sun’s undercover video footage.

During the video, information on fixes is estimated to be worth around $150,000.

There is also mention of fixing ”four to five” Big Bash League matches.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he spoke with Marshall about the allegations, and wondered why the story was published on the day the third test began.

”There’s no substance to these allegations or justification to suspect that this test match or indeed the Ashes series as a whole is subject to corrupt activities,” Sutherland told a news conference at the WACA.

”My comments today are based on a briefing I’ve had from Alex Marshall and I don’t think for one moment anyone should believe that we’re complacent. The timing is a bit strange, obviously, but I guess I’ll leave that to Alex to make judgments on what the reason behind this might be.”

The ECB said it was ”aware of these allegations and there is no suggestion that any of the England team is involved in any way.”

Australia leads the five-match series 2-0 after victories in Brisbane and Adelaide and can regain the Ashes with a victory at the WACA, a venue where England’s only test victory was in 1978.

AP Sports Writer Dennis Passa contributed to this report.