Ashes - ECB set to investigate England stars 'urinating on Oval pitch'

Graeme Swann appeared to confirm England players urinated on the Oval pitch as they celebrated their Ashes triumph on Sunday and the ECB are now set to investigate the matter.

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Graeme Swann celebrates England winning the Ashes (Reuters)

The victorious squad returned to the field to celebrate after their 3-0 series win over Australia concluded with a draw in fading light in south London.

Reports subsequently appeared in the Australian press that players had relieved themselves pitch during the course of their boozy party.

Quoted in the Sun, England spinner Swann said: "We did go out to the middle of the pitch, all the lads, drinking beers, singing a few songs and enjoying each other's company.

"I think the call of nature might have come once or twice but it was nothing untoward.

"It was midnight, a private celebration in the middle of the pitch and the ground was dark."

According to reports from Down Under, players including Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and James Anderson queued up to relieve themselves on the square while team-mates cheered.

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The entire incident is said to have taken place been in plain view of the press box at the ground, where several correspondents were apparently still working on stories.

Australia great Shane Warne has called England "crass" and "arrogant" following the reports and insists the episode paints a bad picture of England.

It is not the first time Warne has been critical of England this summer, and he remains a close ally of the Baggy Green dressing room, but his comments in the Daily Telegraph were explosive nonetheless.

"Unfortunately, the way people are judged these days it's best to celebrate within the confines of the dressing room," he told the newspaper.

"Stay in there as long as you like, get as drunk as you like if that is what you want to do and enjoy your team-mates and the moment.

"But to go and disrespect something as ancient as the Oval pitch in such an unnecessary and crass way is a pretty ordinary and arrogant thing to do, I wonder also if the opposition was mentioned too?"

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It is the second time Warne has accused England of arrogance this summer, but he felt they had lifted their standards prior to their late night celebrations.

"I noticed a significant change in their attitude in the last two Tests and the way they conducted themselves off the pitch," he added.

"I thought they were very humble when they won the Ashes, but emotional and excited too. They celebrated with the fans, enjoyed each other, had their children with them, it was a very special time for the England players.

"It's a real shame they let themselves down so badly and I'm sure it will have some big ramifications from the ECB."

It would not be the first time such a practice, however unsavoury, has been observed by a victorious cricket team but the incident has nevertheless attracted significant debate.

Surrey are certainly less than impressed by the reports and chief executive Richard Gould is said to have contacted the England and Wales Cricket Board.

He has been quoted as saying the ECB are "looking into the matter", though representatives from the board have been unavailable to confirm that on Tuesday morning.

"We've spoken to the ECB and they say they will be looking into the matter," said Gould.

"We would be very disappointed if it turns out they did urinate on the pitch."

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