Aussies go down to Proteas, tampered ball and all

Cameron Bancroft is in the midst of a ball-tampering row during the Newlands Test against South Africa

Despite not leading the team in an official capacity, both Smith and Warner still took the field on day four. "In recent weeks we have seen incidents of ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpires' decisions, a walk-off, ball-tampering and some ordinary off-field behaviour". "We will ensure we have all information available to make the right decisions for Australian Cricket".

"The one positive that will come is that some guys will get an opportunity to play for their country", Paine said, adding that the team now had to restore their shattered reputation.

"Credit to them. They knew what was going on", Manthorp said. He admitted the actions weren't "in the spirit of the game".

Smith was quick to emphasise this was a regrettable first-time offence but scepticism is natural. "I won't be considering stepping down. It's very sad, I would like to think it as one of great tragedies of modern cricket", Bedi said.

"Today was a big mistake on my behalf and on the leadership group's behalf as well but I take responsibility as the captain".

Television cameras clearly showed Bancroft attempting to hide the tape in his trousers.

Bancroft admitted that he breached Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to "changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3." and accepted the sanction proposed by Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees, and as such there was no need for a formal hearing.

"We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa", Turnbull told reporters.

He said he had spoken to Cricket Australia chairman David Peever to discuss the incident. The Indian cricket board (BCCI) boycotted the third test and fielded a reserve team to play an unofficial test.

While he did not call for Smith to resign he said thought there should be "decisive action" soon.

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Ex-Australia batsman Jimmy Maher dubbed it a national day of shame for the country "and for the entire cricket world, really".

Brief Scores: South Africa: 311 and 373 (Aiden Markram 84, AB de Villiers 63, Quinton de Kock 65, Vernon Philander 52 not out; Josh Hazlewood 3/69, Pat Cummins 3/67, Nathan Lyon 3/102) vs Australia: 255 and 107 (David Warner 32; Morne Morkel 5/23).

When the captain falls on his sword, hopefully before being pushed by Cricket Australia, others involved in the conspiracy must follow suit. For us at Cricket Australia that's extremely disappointing but more importantly it's extremely disappointing for Australian cricket fans.

As the scandal grew in Australia the hashtag #sandpapergate began trending on Twitter and former Cricket players tweeted their disappointment over the team's behavior.

Captain Steve Smith said he and the "leadership group" had discussed and agreed the action. If an amateur, ham-fisted attempt to sandpaper a ball was what this mob believed was the best way to gain an advantage in a Test match, it's only fair dinkum, to borrow an Australianism, for the lot to collectively pay the price. "It's pre-meditated cheating, it's blatant cheating".

Condemned and exposed for a ball-tampering ruse that has left Steve Smith scrambling for his future as captain, they were booed out of Newlands after crashing to a dismal defeat by South Africa.

The incident could lead to Bancroft from being suspended from the fourth Test in Johannesburg next week.

South Africa coach Ottis Gibson also called for strong action from the ICC. "How can our team be engaged in cheating like this?"

Back in the day, before so many TV cameras, it was nearly a free-for-all, with New Zealand's tour to Pakistan in 1990 seeing the visitors fed up with what they felt was the hosts gouging the ball and the umpires not doing anything about it, that they took it upon themselves to use a sharp bottle top to gain some instant bowling success.



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