The Australia ball-tampering scandal: A timeline
Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for a year for ball-tampering, while Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month ban.cricket Updated: Mar 30, 2018 11:21 IST
That clash at the Wanderers begins on Friday, and will conclude a desperately sorry saga for the tourists, who have seen captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft all suspended and sent home.
Bancroft was found guilty of attempting to change the condition of the ball during day three of the third Test at Newlands, which the Proteas won convincingly to take a 2-1 series lead ahead of the final instalment in Johannesburg.
A Cricket Australia (CA) investigation found Smith and Warner to have been part of the plot and the fiasco has rocked the cricketing world, with current and former players - as well as prominent politicians - quick to have their say.
Here’s a recap how the events of the last six days unfolded -
March 24: Television replays begin to emerge of Bancroft rubbing the ball with sandpaper, which he then hides down the front of his trousers.
March 24: Bancroft and Smith face the media after the day’s play, admitting - along with the “leadership group” - their plot to manipulate the ball, although they claim the foreign object was tape. Bancroft confirms he has been charged by the ICC while Smith insists he will not resign as skipper.
March 25: Amid rising condemnation, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is scathing in his assessment of the issue, saying the plan to cheat “beggars belief”. CA promises to investigate.
March 25: Shortly before the start of day four, it is confirmed Smith and Warner will relinquish their leadership roles for the remainder of the Test, with Tim Paine taking over as captain.
March 25: The ICC announces that Smith has been suspended for the fourth Test, although Bancroft is free to play. Australia collapse from 57-0 to 107 all out to lose by 322 runs in Cape Town.
March 26: CA officials travel to South Africa to investigate. Smith stands down as captain of IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals.
March 27: Smith, Bancroft and Warner are all sent home from the tour. CA decrees they were the only individuals who knew of the plan. Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are called up.
March 28: Warner follows Smith in stepping down from his captaincy role in the IPL, with Sunrisers Hyderabad.
March 28: CA hands Smith and Warner one-year bans from international and domestic cricket. Bancroft is suspended for nine months, while Warner will not be considered for any leadership roles in future. James Sutherland, CEO of CA, reiterates that Lehmann knew nothing of the plan. It is confirmed Bancroft used sandpaper and not tape on the ball.
March 29: An ‘absolutely devastated’ Smith breaks down in tears when addressing the media upon his return to Sydney. Bancroft also faces reporters and expresses remorse for his part in the fiasco.
March 29: Lehmann confirms he will resign from his post after the fourth Test. Sutherland insists he will not follow suit. Somerset cancel plans for Bancroft to join as the county’s overseas player for 2018.