Former Proteas fast bowler Fanie de Villiers has suggested Australia’s ball-tampering in the third Test against South Africa at Newlands may not have been the first time they had done so.
Australian captain Steve Smith went to great lengths to assure the public that the scandal that rocked the Cape Town Test against the Proteas was the first time under his captaincy that cheating had taken place.
However, Australia’s news.com au website reported that De Villiers felt Australia may already have done so earlier in the series.
“I said earlier on, that if they could get reverse swing in the 26th, 27th, 28th over then they’re doing something different from what everyone else does,’’ De Villiers told RSN Radio.
“We actually said to our cameramen … go out (and) have a look boys. They’re using something. They searched for an hour and a half until they saw something and then they started following (Cameron) Bancroft and they actually caught him out at the end.
“It’s impossible for the ball to get altered like that on cricket wickets where we knew there was grass on, not a Pakistani wicket where there’s cracks every centimetre. We’re talking about (a) grass covered wicket where you have to do something else to alter the shape, the roughness of the ball on the one side. You have to get the one side wetter, heavier than the other side.
“Australian teams getting reverse swing before the 30th over … they had to do something. If you use cricket ball and scratch it against a normal iron or steel gate or anything, anything steel on it, it reverse swings immediately. That’s the kind of extra alteration you need to do.’’
De Villiers is working as an Afrikaans commentator for SuperSport during the series.
The third Test was plunged into controversy on Day 3 on Saturday when television footage showed Bancroft take an object out of his pocket during the post-lunch session and rub it on the ball.
The Australians admitted guilt afterwards, with Smith suspended by the ICC for the final Test starting at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday.
Bancroft is however free to play, pending a Cricket Australia inquiry after being fined and handed three demerit points – one point short of a suspension. — Sport 24