Why South Africa felt sorry for ball-tampering Aussies


Proteas batsman Aidan Markram has revealed how the South Africans reacted to Australia's ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.

The 23-year-old South Africa opener and his teammates found themselves at the centre of an international furore during their 3-1 Test series victory which saw the tourists' skipper Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft banned for conspiring to alter the condition of the ball.

Markram and his teammates were innocent bystanders as the drama unfolded during the third Test in Cape Town, and he admits they were stunned when they learned what had transpired.

"We were very shocked," he said. "The heat of the series was obviously happening."

"It was the third Test match and it was a crunch game, and the next thing, the story broke out.

"Everyone woke up the next morning and the guys couldn't believe what had happened."

Markram felt sorry for Smith and Warner. Image: Getty

Markram says the Proteas players felt sorry for the way the Aussies were treated by the media and fans afterwards.

"It obviously hit home overnight and it was tough to see what the Australians went through," he said.

"You don't wish that on your worst enemy, so I'm sure they're glad it's done and we're glad it's done.

"The punishments that were dealt out were harsh, but having said that, you also can't let people get away with what they did."

However Markram, who distinguished himself with two centuries in the series, believes the game's integrity remains largely intact.

Asked if the spirit of cricket still exists, he said: "I do think it exists, yes. On the field, there are a lot of pressure to deal with and a lot of competitive juices that get flowing, and that's when it's the toughest part to try to keep it in the spirit of cricket.

"But definitely afterwards or after something, let's say, happens that is not in the spirit of cricket, you get your apology very quickly and you get your reasons behind it.

"If the reasons make sense to you, then you accept your apology; if not, you try to look past it.

"For as long as I play, wherever I play in the world, it's something I'll encourage and drive forward because at the end of the day, it is the gentleman's game and it's a big part of cricket itself."