Proteas coach Ottis Gibson says his team will always play within the rules of the game for as long as he is in charge.
Gibson and the Proteas could do nothing but watch as Australia were engulfed in a ball-tampering scandal during the third Test at Newlands, and while every team has their own strategy in roughing up the ball, Gibson said they would never let desperation allow them to take it as far as Steve Smith’s men did on Saturday.
Smith will miss the final Test at the Wanderers after being given a one-match suspension by the ICC, and Cricket Australia is expected to act on vice-captain David Warner by making him miss the game.
‘Every team, since the beginning of time, tries to get the ball reversing by skimming and bouncing it in to get it rough,’ Gibson told journalists as Australia were departing their hotel in Cape Town on Tuesday morning.
‘The spinner gets his hands in the dirt and rubs it on the ball. The ball will reverse naturally, and everybody’s got a way to get it to go a little bit further. But a little desperation, as they were behind in the game, caused them to take it that step further and it’s unfortunate.
‘I would hope that it never happens under my watch. I’m not going to sit here and say we’re whiter than white or anything. We’ll try and play the game within the rules of the game all the time.
‘We know where the rules are, and the imaginary line that was talked about for the whole series. We sort of feel like we know where that line is and we’ll make sure that we never try and cross that line,’ said Gibson.
The Proteas take a 2-1 lead into the final Test, and are the favourites to win in Johannesburg due to the added pressure the Australians find themselves in. But Gibson felt there was still a lot of work to do as the series against a very good side had not yet been won.
‘We’re trying to win the series, so we hope they’re very shattered. But we know they’re going to come back. They’re still a very good team. They’ve been a very good team for a long time. So even if they’ve somehow lost their way, they still a good team with very good players.
‘I’m still a very huge fan of their bowling attack. They’ve got three six-foot-six fast bowlers bowling 140km/h. I thought Pat Cummins was excellent in the last Test match. He is 24 years old and kept coming in all the time and got crucial wickets for them in the first innings, and then I saw him running and diving around in the field.
‘I’m still watching their bowlers and thinking, “Wow, that’s a very good bowling attack they’ve got”.’
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