Ball-tampering row: Australia captain Steve Smith banned for one Test and fined

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Australia captain Steve Smith has been banned for one match and fined his entire match fee by cricket’s world governing body for his part in a ball-tampering incident in South Africa.
Smith said the team’s “leadership group” had a plan, carried out by Cameron Bancroft, to tamper with the ball to “get an advantage.”
Smith, 28, will now miss the fourth and final Test of the series.
Bancroft, 25, was fined 75 percent of his match fee and got three demerit points.
Smith admitted a charge of conduct “of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game,” said a statement from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended,” said ICC chief executive David Richardson.
Hours later, the Australians lost 10 wickets in the final session of day four to lose the third Test by 322 runs.
Chasing a target of 430, they reached 47-0 at tea but were all out for 107. Smith had made one when he top-edged Kagiso Rabada for six, but soon departed for seven.
South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel, who will retire from international cricket at the end of the series, took the final wicket to finish with 5-23 as the hosts took a 2-1 series lead.
The final match of the ill-tempered series begins in Johannesburg on Friday.
The ball-tampering incident took place on the third day in Cape Town – escalating the tension around what has been an ill-tempered series.
Television footage showed Bancroft take what he said was yellow tape out of his trouser pocket before rubbing the ball.
Smith said after play it was a “big mistake” but that he would not stand down.
Cricket Australia (CA) has begun an investigation into the actions of its team, which Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said had “shocked and bitterly disappointed” him.
“The game needs to have a hard look at itself,” added ICC chief Richardson.
“The ICC needs to do more to prevent poor behaviour and better police the spirit of the game, defining more clearly what is expected of players and enforcing the regulations in a consistent fashion.
“In addition, and most importantly, member countries need to show more accountability for their teams’ conduct.
“Winning is important but not at the expense of the spirit of the game which is intrinsic and precious to the sport of cricket. We have to raise the bar across all areas.”
Batsman Bancroft admitted “changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3” and accepted his punishment from Andy Pycroft, who is on the elite panel of ICC match referees.
“To carry a foreign object on to the field of play with the intention of changing the condition of the ball to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent is against not only the laws, but the spirit of the game as well,” said Pycroft.
“That said, I acknowledge Cameron has accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to the charge and apologising publicly.”
Bancroft has been punished by the ICC for attempting to change the condition of the ball – which is prohibited by Law 41.3.
Roughing up one side of the ball can help the fielding side achieve “reverse swing” – in which the ball moves in the opposite direction to conventional swing, which is achieved by polishing one side of the ball.
There are several methods by which the ball can be deliberately roughed up – ranging from the outright illegal (scuffing it with a bottle top, or scratching with fingernails), to those which are frowned upon but frequently take place anyway, such as throwing the ball into the stumps on the bounce, or applying saliva after sucking sugary sweets.
Polishing the ball on your clothing is allowed if no artificial substance is used, as is drying a wet ball with a towel that has been approved by the umpires, or removing mud from the ball under an umpire’s supervision.
The umpire’s ultimate sanction, if they feel the
ball has been altered illegally, is to change the ball and award five penalty runs to the batting side – although this did not take place in Cape Town.
Such an instance did take place at The Oval in 2006 when umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove ruled that Pakistan had tampered with the ball during a Test against England. Pakistan refused to take the field after tea in protest, and forfeited the Test.

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