Channel Nine said the International Cricket Council (ICC) general manager of cricket operations Geoff Allardice was in Durham, where the fourth Test begins on Friday, to investigate the matter.

Nine did not provide sources and gave no details of whether the Australian or England batsmen were believed to be using the silicone-based tape.

Controversy has raged over the effectiveness of the Decision Review System during the five-match series, in which England retained the Ashes after winning the first two games and drawing the third.

'Hot spot' technology uses an infra-red imaging system to determine whether a batsman has made contact with a ball -- with a visible mark often detected on the bat where the ball has hit.

Channel Nine said there was concern regarding the dismissal of England batsman Kevin Pietersen in the second innings of the third Test, when a noise was heard indicating a nick but no hot spot was detected on the bat.

Cricket Australia said it had no immediate comment on the Channel Nine report.

"Until such time as we have clarification from the ICC and further details, then we are not in a position to make any further comment," a spokesman told AFP.