SIX QUESTIONS TO ARISE FROM CRICKET'S BALL TAMPERING BOMBSHELL
1) What the hell was Cameron Bancroft doing?
Bancroft used sticky yellow tape, which had debris from the pitch, while working on the ball in an illegal attempt to scuff it. To make matters worse, Bancroft attempted to hide the evidence when he realised umpires were suspicious. He stuffed the tape down his pants, instead showing umpires a piece of cloth in his pocket. Cameras captured it all and the match referee later charged him with ball tampering.
2) Why would he do that?
Reverse-swing has played a crucial role in the ongoing Test series in South Africa. It is achieved by scuffing one side of the ball and can help fast bowlers produce unplayable deliveries. Both sides have achieved remarkably early reverse-swing in the first two Tests, but attributed it to dry pitches and an abrasive centre-wicket block. Australia were desperate to make the old ball start hopping in Cape Town, where the home side had seized control of the crunch clash.
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- WHAT THE: Cricket world shocked by ball tampering Aussies
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3) Whose idea was this?
Steve Smith has revealed it came up during a discussion the team's leadership group had at lunch on day three of the third Test. Smith wouldn't name names when asked who hatched the idea, while the skipper insisted coach Darren Lehmann had no idea about it and that Australia have never tried this before.
4) Why are there calls for Smith to resign as captain?
A premeditated plan to cheat is not a good look for any leader of any sporting team. Smith said he was "embarrassed" and "incredibly sorry for trying to bring the game into disrepute the way we did", but vowed to continue on as captain. Cricket Australia's board will meet on Sunday and make the ultimate call. The International Cricket Council may also charge Smith and other members of the leadership group.
5) Is this worse than the underarm incident of 1981?
Both moments of madness were triggered by a captain's desire to win. Greg Chappell told his brother Trevor to do something legal but obviously not in the spirit of the game. The incident at Newlands was both illegal and not in the spirit of the game; it was the team's most inexperienced player carrying out a premeditated plan hatched by people who should know better.
6) Did it work?
No. Umpires didn't change the ball or award a five-run penalty as they were happy the condition hadn't been illegally altered. South Africa will resume at 5-238 on day four, holding a 294-run lead. The home side, shooting for their first home Test series win over Australia since the fall of apartheid, now have the perfect platform to grab a 2-1 series lead in Cape Town.