Australia captain Steve Smith takes responsibility as Cameron Bancroft admits to ball-tampering

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Bancroft is confronted by umpires in Cape Town.

Australia’s Cameron Bancroft and captain Steve Smith admitted to ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa on Saturday, sending shockwaves through cricket.

Bancroft was caught on television cameras appearing to rub a yellow object on the ball, and later said: “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I want to be here (in the press conference) because I want to be accountable for my actions.”

Smith added: “The leadership group knew about it.”

Television footage showed Bancroft, 25, take on object out of his pocket while fielding in the post-lunch session on the third day of the Test at Newlands.

He was spoken to by umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth during the 43rd over of South Africa’s second innings after appearing to have the object in his hand after fielding the ball at cover.

While the umpires were conferring, Bancroft then appeared to place a small yellow object in his underpants.

When the umpires went across to talk to him he reached into a pocket and showed them what seemed to be a different object — a soft pouch for sunglasses.

The umpires took no action and did not change the ball.

There were boos from a capacity crowd at Newlands when the incident was shown on the big screen at the ground.

Both Bancroft and Smith, who took over the Australian captaincy in 2015, appeared before the media after the match and admitted that they had attempted to change the condition of the ball.

“We had a discussion during the break. On myself I saw an opportunity to use some yellow tape and the granules from the rough patches of the wicket to change the condition of the ball,” said opening batsman Bancroft who is playing in his eighth Test.

“It didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball. We have this yellow tape in our kit. The actual sticky stuff itself is very sticky so I felt it could be used to collect some stuff from the side of the pitch.”

Smith now faces calls for his resignation after admitting that Bancroft did not act alone.

“The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch. I’m not proud of what happened. It’s not in the spirit of the game,” said the skipper.

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Analysis of Aiden Markram's performance as South Africa take control of third Test against Australia

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South Africa edged ahead in the third Test against Australia in Cape Town after reaching 238-5 at stumps on Day Three on Saturday.

Opener Aiden Markram scored a defiant 84 as the Proteas took their lead to 294 with five wickets in hand after the hosts dismissed Australia for 255 early on Saturday  morning.

Here we analyse the performance of Markram during a pivotal day of the four-Test series.

STATISTICS

RUNS SCORED: 84

BALLS FACED: 145

BOUNDARIES: 10

SIXES: 2

STRIKE RATE: 57.9

30-SECOND REPORT

The South African opener is only 23 but showed maturity beyond his years to thwart the Aussie pace attack and put the South Africans in a comfortable position on Day Three of the third Test. He was dropped twice and made the most of the reprieves, scoring an invaluable 84 that all but secured the Cape Town Test for the hosts.

GOT RIGHT

Was dropped on zero off Mitchell Starc. But didn’t take a step back against the left-armer who got the new ball to shape in, which has been a rarity in the third Test. Latched onto anything remotely lose, hitting ten boundaries and two sixes to maintain a strike rate of close to sixty that kept the game moving along.

GOT WRONG

Didn’t convert a fifty into a big knock. Right before the tea break, chipped a dolly off Starc to mid-on. Gave the Aussies an outside opportunity to get back into the game. Needs to learn that when it’s your day, you need to make the most of it and block every escape route for the opposition.

Markram has now scored a century and a fifty in the series.

Markram has now scored a century and a fifty in the series.

KEY MOMENTS

TWO DROPS

Markram offered two chances during his innings. First in the opening over against Starc when he edged a full delivery to gully where Usman Khawaja grassed the ball after going for it with one hand and then on 59, when Steve Smith went for an edge off Josh Hazlewood at second slip but couldn’t cling onto the ball.

DENYING STARC

Starc was getting the new ball to shape in and credit to Markram for playing as straight and late as he possibly could. While he did play a few lose strokes against most bowlers, the fact that he stopped Starc from finding any wicket-taking rhythm with the new ball was worth a lot more than the runs he scored.

PRAISE FROM KOHLI

Markram is held in very high regard in South Africa, which is why he was made the limited-overs captain during the India series. His technique and temperament have been recognised earlier and on Saturday, India captain Virat Kohli joined the Markram appreciation society as he tweeted his delight at watching the South African in action. Don’t think you can get a bigger stamp of approval in cricket.

VERDICT: 8/10

It’s not just about how many you score. It’s also about when you do it. Markram scored a crucial fifty when the series was in the balance with the hosts gaining a 56-run first innings lead. Early wickets and the Australians would have been right in the mix. But his diligence, aided by loose fielding from the visitors, gave the South Africans a healthy lead at Newlands. Top effort from a young batsman.

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Australia's Cameron Bancroft in hot water over dodgy ball-shining method

Sudhir Gupta 24/03/2018
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Umpires ask Bancroft about the object he used to shine the ball at Newlands.

The Australian team found itself in hot water after Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera carrying a foreign object in his trouser while shining the ball during the third Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

In the 43rd over of South Africa’s innings, the umpires asked Bancroft to show what item he put in his pocket after shining the ball as footage was shown of the Aussie batsman acting in a suspicious manner. Bancroft was also shown taking the said object – a small yellow piece – out of his trouser pocket and putting it in his underpants. However, the umpires were shown a different item used to shine the ball, not the yellow object stuffed in Bancroft’s trouser.

Allegations of ball tampering flew thick and fast with Aussie great Shane Warne saying the player has been caught on camera and there is no way out of it. “He has been caught and needs to own up,” Warne said during the tea-break analysis.

However, the on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth didn’t change the ball or award five penalty runs to South Africa, which is standard procedure for incidents involving deliberately changing the condition of the ball using a foreign object.

In 2016, South Africa’s current captain Faf du Plessis was found guilty by match referee Andy Pycroft of ‘changing the condition of the ball’ after being caught on camera applying saliva to it with a mint in his mouth during a Test in Hobart against Australia. He was fined 100 per cent of his match fee and given three demerit points.

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