Smith, Warner and Bancroft sent home after blame laid firmly at their feet

Cricket Australia (CA) has said that only three players are responsible for the humiliating ball-tampering scandal – David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft. 

The players will be sent home and replacements for the fourth Test in Johannesburg called up immediately. Tim Paine was officially appointed captain.

The findings were revealed by CA boss James Sutherland who arrived in South Africa this week. He was eager to stress that no other players participated in the premeditated attempt to cheat.

Darren Lehmann was cleared of wrongdoing and will continue in his role as coach.

“The key finding is that prior knowledge was limited to three players, Steve Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft,” Sutherland said. “No other support players had prior knowledge. This also includes Darren Lehmann, who will continue to coach the team.”

Sutherland insisted that these are preliminary findings and further sanctions will follow – possibly in the next 24 hours. He also apologised to all those involved in the match, Australians, South Africans and the kids who looked up to the disgraced cricketers.

A nation’s shame
Australian cricket was plunged into turmoil last weekend when television footage exposed a blatant attempt to cheat during Day 3 of the third Australia Test at Newlands, Cape Town. Bancroft was filmed clearly taking an object to the match ball before hastily tossing it into his crotch area. 

After the match, the batsman admitted to tampering with the ball, while captain Steve Smith revealed that the team’s leaders had discussed its disruption.

“The leadership group knew about it,” he said. “We spoke about it at lunch.

“I’m not proud of what happened. It’s not within the spirit of the game and my integrity, the team’s integrity, the leadership group’s integrity has come into question and rightfully so.

The International Cricket Council fined Smith 100% of his match fee and gave him a one-Test match ban. Bancroft was fined 75% of his match fee and incurred three demerit points.

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Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

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