© Associated Press
Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft has admitted to trying to change the condition of the ball using a foreign object on the third day of the Cape Town Test against South Africa.
“I had discussions with the match officials, I’ve been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball,” Bancroft said after play in Cape Town. “We had a discussion during the break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition, it didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball. I was cited on the screen and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers.”
A contrite Smith admitted to Australia’s leadership group knew about it. “The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch,” he said. “I am not proud of what’s happened. It’s not within the spirit of the game. My integrity, the team’s integrity and the leadership group’s integrity has come into question. It wont happen again.
“It was the leadership group’s idea. Poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this. This is the first time it has happened under my leadership. We saw this game as such as an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions. Deeply regrettable and wont happen again. I can promise you. I can promise you this is the first time it has happened.
“I am embarrassed. I know the boys in the shed are embarrassed as well. Being the leader I am incredibly sorry. If we weren’t caught, I would still regret it.
“I wont consider stepping down [from captaincy]. I still think I am the right person for the job. Today was a big mistake on my part and on the leadership group as well. I have to take control of the ship. This is something I am not proud of. It’s something I hope I can learn from and come back from. I am embarrassed. It is a big error in judgement.”
More to follow …
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.