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Australia skipper Steve Smith suspended by ICC for one Test over ball-tampering row

Steve Smith has been suspended for one Test by the International Cricket Council over the ball-tampering row in the Cape Town game while Cameron Bancroft has been fined 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points.

cricket Updated: Mar 25, 2018 21:53 IST
HT Correspondent/Agencies
HT Correspondent/Agencies
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Steve Smith,Cameron Bancroft,ball-tampering
Steve Smith will not play in the Johannesburg Test while Cameron Bancroft has been handed a 75 percent fine on his match fee over the ball-tampering row in the Newlands Test against South Africa. (AFP)

Steve Smith has been suspended by the International Cricket Council for one Test for his admission to ball-tampering in the Cape Town game against South Africa on Sunday. Cameron Bancroft, who was spotted by Television cameras using sandpaper to scrap the ball, has been fined 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points for his role.

Smith’s ban would mean Tim Paine will captain the Australian side for the final Test in Johannesburg. Paine is currently captaining the Australian side after Smith was told to step aside from captaincy following his admission of ball-tampering.

Speaking on the ban, ICC CEO Dave Richardson said, “The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore ‘serious’ in nature. As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended.”

Muted chorus of boos greeted the Australian cricket team when stand-in captain Tim Paine led the team out at the start of play against the South African cricket team on day 4. Paine was made captain for the rest of the third Test -- after Smith and vice-captain David Warner were stood down following Saturday’s revelations.

The Newlands Test between South Africa and Australia was engulfed with controversy after television cameras spotted Bancroft taking yellow sandpaper from his pocket and scraping the ball. Smith admitted that he had masterminded an attempt by Cameron Bancroft to alter the condition of the ball in the outfield using a yellow object.

“The leadership group knew about it,” Smith said. “I’m not proud of what happened.”

Bancroft also admitted, “We had a discussion during the break, I myself saw on opportunity to get some tape and get some granules from the rough patches on the wicket and try to change the ball condition. It didn’t work. I didn’t change the ball condition, but I was sighted on the screens and I panicked quite a lot, that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers.”

The controversy has shocked the Australian cricket fraternity, with the likes of Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Allan Border and Michael Clarke all expressing their anger and disappointment. Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland arrived in Cape Town to launch a probe into the issue while the Australian media have slammed the players for being ‘out-of-touch’ with a furious public. Even Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vented his anger against the Australian team, calling it an “embarrassment”.

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 18:21 IST