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Oz 'Fanatics' claim responsibility for fire prank on English team

Posted By: Staff

Leeds (UK), Aug.9 (ANI): Australian cricket fans have claimed responsibility for a hotel fire alarm that roused the England team from their beds the morning of their batting collapse on the first day of the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley.

The Fanatics - Australian supporters who follow the Test team around the world - claim they set off the fire alarm at the Radisson Hotel in Leeds about 4.30 a.m. on Friday.

England's Test team was evacuated with other guests and staff while two fire engines from West Yorkshire Fire Service searched the premises for the source of the alarm.

Players were left standing in the street in their pyjamas for more than 20 minutes until the all clear was given for them to return to their beds.

Warren Livingston, head of the Fanatics, told The Sunday Mail one of the 100-strong group had managed to set the alarm off with the intention of disrupting the English team's sleep, saying it was "good old fashioned Aussie high jinks".

"Yes it was one of our guys who did it as a bit of a prank. I got a text message after it happened. At first, I thought, 'good onya', we're just doing our bit for Australia," news.com.au quoted Livingston, as saying.

"But I can't condone this sort of thing. I don't want any trouble. We've all had a big laugh and it might have made a difference to the way they batted," he added.

If the claim is found to be true, English cricket fans and authorities will not view the situation with any humor.

Earlier, British media reports said the alarm may have been set off by a guest who had rinsed her underwear in a bathroom sink and then left it close to a light bulb to dry.

When the underwear started to smoulder, the woman was reported to have thrown it back in the sink, but not before the room had filled with smoke and the fire alarm went off.

England's wicket-keeper Matt Prior blamed the incident for his team's batting collapse in the first innings of the Test. (ANI)

Story first published: Sunday, August 9, 2009, 11:53 [IST]
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