Mon 26 Mar 2018, 09:02
As news continues to break around the Australian cricket team ball tampering scandal involving Australian captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, here’s everything we know so far about the ball tampering that occurred during the third test between South Africa and Australia at Newlands in Cape Town in March 2018.
On Saturday 24 March, a SuperSport cameraman captured footage of Australian opening batsman Cameron Bancroft rubbing a small yellow object against the surface of the ball during South Africa’s second innings. When the footage was aired in the Australian cricket team’s dressing room, Australian coach Darren Lehmann and Australian captain Steve Smith appeared to send the 12th man onto the field with instructions for Bancroft to hide the object, which he was subsequently filmed concealing in the front of his pants.
Steve Smith and Cameron Bancoft later admitted to cheating. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday 24 March after the end of the day’s play, Cameron Bancroft described the incident as "an opportunity to potentially use some tape to get some granules from the rough patches on the wicket and try to change the ball condition." Australian captain Steve Smith, meanwhile, accepted responsibility for the ball tampering incident, although he did make reference to a “leadership group” who were aware of the plan: “I'm not proud of what happened. It's not within the spirit of the game and my integrity, the team's integrity, the leadership group's integrity has come into question and rightfully so.
“It's not on and it won't happen again, I can promise you that, under my leadership."
Following the admission of ball tampering, Australian captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner stepped down from their leadership roles ahead of the fourth day’s play at Newland. South Africa went on to win the third test by 322 runs. Steve Smith was subsequently suspended for one test by the ICC and fined 100% of his match fee. Cameron Bancroft received three demerit points and was fined 75% of his match fee.
While both players have received the maximum penalty allowable under ICC regulations, they are expected to face harsher punishment by Cricket Australia, who have dispatched their head of integrity to Cape Town to investigate the incident. Prominent Australians have questioned whether Australian captain Steve Smith and Australian coach Darren Lehman will be able to remain in their positions. Critics include former Australian captain Michael Clarke and current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who spoke of being “shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa.”
South Africa face Australia at the Wanderers in the fourth test and final test of the series on Friday 30 March. With no shortage of drama on the tour so far, and South Africa needing a win or draw to secure a historic home test victory over the Australians, it promises to be essential viewing. Watch it live online or on your mobile phone on SuperSport 2. Find out how to download, register and watch on the DStv Now app.