Australia cricketers admitted ball tampering with a piece of sticky yellow tape in a stunning public confession on Saturday. Captain Steve Smith said he and other senior players came up with the idea to try and cheat and change the condition of the ball. How the incident panned out:
From pocket to innerwear
During the second session on Day Three of the Newlands Test, television footage, which was also played on the giant screen at the stadium later, showed Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft use a ‘yellow object’ — which later Bancroft admitted was yellow tape — to rub the rough side of the ball. Shortly, Bancroft is seen taking the object from his pocket and putting it into his trousers.
Umpires make their move
At the end of the 43th over of the South Africa innings, the on-field umpires Nigel Long and Richard Illingworth talk to Bancroft. It is likely that the third umpire alerted the on-field umpires about the television footage. On his part, Bancroft shows the umpires a black cloth which he pulled out of his pocket but did not produce the ‘yellow object’. Australian skipper Steve Smith listens in from close quarters.
Ball is not changed
The umpires, however, didn’t change the ball or dock Australia five-runs as penalty, both of which needs to be done according to the rules if they feel the condition of the ball has been unfairly changed. The ball continues to reverse swing.
Before the umpires spoke to Bancroft, visual shows substitute Peter Handscomb, seemingly communicating with the Australian dressing room, while sitting in the dug out. Soon Handscomb is on the field and has a chat with Bancroft. It is after this that Bancroft puts the yellow object down his pants.
Markram’s two cents
The Australian fast bowlers were generating reverse swing on Day Three but South Africa opener Aiden Markram in the post-match press conference said that he felt the reverse swing was ‘normal’. However, he did add that he was ‘inexperienced’ to comment on the issue.
Experts don’t mince words
Television experts had no doubt that Bancroft had tampered with the ball. “I think he’s tampered with the ball and used an object to do that. It does look like it’s a bit of sandpaper. The footage is quite damning,” former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith had said during the tea break. Michael Holding and Shane Warne too think that Bancroft have violated the spirit of the game.