Cricket: Australia ban Smith, Warner in ball-tampering scandal

Batsman Bancroft, who carried out the ball-tampering, handed nine-month ban by Cricket Australia.

    Australia cricket captain Steve Smith and vice captain David Warner have been banned for 12 months for their role in a ball-tampering scandal in the Test series in South Africa, Cricket Australia (CA) announced.

    Batsman Cameron Bancroft, who was tasked to do the on-field tampering in the Cape Town Test, was handed a nine-month ban.

    Smith, Warner and Bancroft conspired to cheat by changing the condition of the ball by rubbing it with a piece of yellow sandpaper in the match against South Africa in Cape Town last weekend.

    Bancroft carried out the tampering on Saturday – roughing up one side of the ball – but botched it when he was caught by television cameras doing the tampering and then trying to hide the sandpaper down the front of his trousers.

    The CA punishments followed an internal investigation into the extent of the cheating plot in South Africa.

    Smith, as he prepared to leave the team hotel, said that he wasn’t allowed to play for Australia, or any state cricket in Australia, for a year. Smith and Warner have also been banned from captaining Australia for two years.

    Wicketkeeper Tim Paine will take over as Australia captain for the final Test in South Africa.

    The trio is set to face the public outrage when they get home after their actions left the reputation of Australia’s favourite sports team in tatters.

    The evidence from the TV cameras was overwhelming and Smith and Bancroft came out after play to confess to their roles in the plot to reporters.

    Earlier, the ICC, cricket’s world governing body, handed Smith a one-match ban and fined him 100 percent of his match fee. Bancroft was fined 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points.

    Warner was not initially named in the plot, but was officially implicated by CA on Tuesday when chief executive announced all three would be sent home from the tour.

    Australia also lost the Test in Cape Town by a crushing 322 runs.

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