Australia captain Steve Smith and opener Cameron Bancroft admitted to ball tampering on day three of the third Test at Newlands.
Day three of the third Test between the Proteas and Australia went smoothly for most parts. The Proteas stayed on top after getting an early breakthrough in the first session and went on to pile up a lead of 294 by the end of the day’s play.
It seemed as the day would sidestep any controversy until Bancroft was called over by the umpires over possible ball tampering. The Australia opener showed the umpires what seemed to be a black sunglasses bag and play continued, while TV footage later showed Bancroft hiding a foreign object in his underpants.
Fronting up to the media after the day’s play, Bancroft and Smith admitted to using training tape to gather dust and dirt to alter the shape of the ball.
‘I’ve been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball. We had a discussion in the break and I saw an opportunity to potentially use tape and use some granules from the rough patches on the wicket and try to change the ball condition,’ said Bancroft, who is the most junior player in the Australian team.
‘It didn’t work. The umpires didn’t obviously change the ball but I was sighted on the screens and having done that I panicked quite a lot and shoved it down my trousers.
‘We have this yellow tape in our kit and is connected to some padding. But the sticky stuff itself could be used to collect some stuff from the pitch.’
Smith admitted that he knew what Bancroft was doing.
‘The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch. I’m not proud of what happened. It’s not within the spirit of the game,’ said Smith.
‘My integrity, the team’s integrity, the leadership group’s integrity has come into question. It’s not on and it won’t happen again, I promise you that, under my leadership.
‘I’m not going to mention any names, the leadership group spoke about it and Bangers was there at the time, we thought it was a possible way to get an advantage.
‘Obviously, it didn’t work, the umpires did not think it changed the way the ball was behaving or the way it looks.
‘Poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. It was purely the players and the leadership group that came up with this. I can promise you it won’t happen again,’ said Smith, who added that coach Darren Lehmann had nothing to do with the decision that was taken.
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