Ball-Tampering Row: Australia Captain Steve Smith Banned For One Test And Fined

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.

Steve Smith

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% 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 game needs to have a hard look at itself’

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.”

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