Australian skipper Steve Smith has admitted that his team players planned to alter the ball during Day 3 of the third Test match against South Africa in Cape Town.
Footage emerged of Australia opener Cameron Bancroft using a foreign object on the ball and then hiding it down his trousers – an action that has seen him charged by match officials.
Speaking after the day’s play at Newlands, captain Smith said Bancroft’s actions were planned by the ‘leadership group’ of players in the Australia team during the lunch break.
The 28-year-old expressed his regret over the incident but insisted he would not be resigning as Australia captain.
Smith said: “The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch.
“I’m not proud of what’s happened. It’s not within the spirit of the game and my integrity, the team’s integrity and the leadership group’s integrity has come into question and rightfully so.
“It’s not on and it won’t happen again under my leadership.
“We thought it was a possible way to get an advantage and obviously it didn’t work. It was a poor choice and we are deeply regretting our actions.
“The coaches weren’t involved – it was purely the players and the leadership group. Being the leader of the team I’m incredibly sorry for trying to bring the game into disrepute with what we did today. If we weren’t caught I’d still feel incredibly bad about it.
“I won’t consider stepping down – I still think I’m the right person for the job. This is something I am not proud of but can hopefully learn from. I’m embarrassed to be sitting here talking about this.”
Bancroft admits his mistake
Bancroft explained how he had used a piece of tape with dirt from the wicket stuck to it and then rubbed it onto the ball in an attempt to alter it.
He admitted he was nervous about carrying out the plan and panicked once it became clear he had been spotted rubbing the tape onto the ball.
Bancroft said: “I had discussions with the match officials and I’ve been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball.
“I saw an opportunity to use some tape and get some granules from the rough patches on the wicket to change the ball condition. It didn’t work and the umpires didn’t change the ball.
“I was obviously nervous about it – with hundreds of cameras around there’s always a risk. Once I was sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers.
“Unfortunately I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m accountable for my actions and I’m not proud of what’s happened. I have to live with the damage to my reputation.”