Cameramen 'searched 90 mins' to catch Bancroft

A former South African Test cricketer turned commentator has revealed the Cape Town cameramen followed Australia's players for more than an hour before catching Cameron Bancroft tampering with the ball.

Australia's tour came crashing down on day three of the third Test when Bancroft was caught using tape to scuff the ball and then hiding it in his jocks to deceive the umpires.

Bancroft and Steve Smith later admitted to hatching the plan and cover-up plot upon the 'panicked' realisation that they had been highlighted on television and the big screen.

Australia went on to lose the match by 322 runs, while the ICC has already banned Smith from the fourth Test match for his role in the saga.

The situation only came to a head when the match referee stepped in to charge Bancroft after play on Saturday local time.

Watch the initial footage:

The field umpires did not believe Bancroft's attempts to change the condition of the ball had worked, but Fanie de Villiers said the act would not have been discovered if not for the eagle-eyed cameramen.

"I said early on that if they can get reverse swing in the 26th, 27th, 28th over then they are doing something different from what everybody else does," the commentator told RSN radio on Monday morning.

"We actually said to our cameramen, go out, have a look if they are using something ... They searched for an hour and a half until they saw something and then they started following Bancroft."

Both teams had achieved reverse swing earlier in the series, and Smith conceded it was a desperate attempt to speed up the process.

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Bancroft inspects his trousers. Pic: Getty

The series was level after two Tests but Australia looked unlikely to bowl South Africa out before the target became too great a challenge.

De Villiers, an 18-Test veteran from the 1990s, believed the tourists' attempts were obvious.

"It's impossible for the ball to get altered like that (for reverse swing) on cricket wickets where we knew there was a grass covering on," he said.

"(It's) not a Pakistani wicket where there's cracks every centimetre. We're talking about grass covering wickets, where you have to do something else to alter the roughness of the ball on the one side."

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The umpires were initially deceived by Bancroft. Pic: Getty

A Cricket Australia investigation into the saga is already underway after the public, former cricket greats and the government condemned the cricket team's actions.

Bancroft appears likely to follow Smith out of the side for the for the fourth Test beginning on Friday in Johannesburg.

One of the big questions facing CA is who else was involved in the plan, with David Warner the only other player named to date.

Darren Lehmann, whose contract to coach the team is up after the 2019 Ashes, is also under heavy pressure to retain his job.

Many have criticised the former international batsman for ushering in the win-at-all-costs mentality that has brought about a number of ugly spats -- on and off the field -- since he took over in 2013.

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