Qantas Tour of South Africa
Timeline of tamper: Dark day for Australia
Australia's senior players hatched a plan to tamper with the ball on day three in Cape Town. Here is how events unfolded
Callum Kanoniuk at Newlands, Cape Town
25 March 2018, 05:38 AM AEST
1 – With the home side in a dominant position at 1-65 and a lead of 121, Australia's senior players come together during the lunch break to discuss the prospect of tampering with the ball to gain an advantage in order to stay alive in the Test – and the series. Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft is in the vicinity of the conversation and becomes the man to carry out the task.
2 – Bancroft takes some yellow tape from a kit bag and collects loose pieces of dirt from the edges of the wicket on the sticky side.
3 – He uses that to rub on the ball in an attempt to rough up one side and help produce the reverse swing that has been so potent throughout the Test series.
4 – Footage from the host broadcaster SuperSport of Bancroft rubbing the ball is shown on the big screen at Newlands. Further footage later in the day suggests head coach Darren Lehmann spots the vision and subsequently sends sub-fielder Peter Handscomb out on to the field to alert Bancroft.
5 – Bancroft is shown on TV loosening the drawstring of his pants, taking a yellow object out of his right pocket and placing it down the front of his trousers, before being confronted by the on-field umpires.
6 – When confronted by umpires he produces a black sunglasses case from his pocket for the officials. The umpires check the condition of the ball and deem it suitable for play to continue.
7 – The incriminating footage is shown repeatedly on broadcast, as well as the big screen at the venue, all while a social media storm erupts with various past players weighing in with their thoughts.
8 – South Africa finish the day's play in a dominant position with a lead of 294 runs and five wickets still in hand, but it's the fallout from the Bancroft incident that dominates discussion among the cricketing public.
9 – Australia opt out of the standard broadcast interviews after play while the match officials speak with the members of the team. They charge Bancroft with a Level 2 offence of attempting to alter the condition of the ball.
10 – South Africa batsman Aiden Markram – one of the men out in the middle while the controversy unfolded – greets the press and says he was unaware of the unfolding drama while in his "batting bubble" and that any reverse swing he faced was "normal".
11 – More than 65 minutes after play was brought to an early close due to bad light, captain Steve Smith is joined by Bancroft on the long walk across the Newlands outfield from the dressing room to front the waiting press pack.
12 – The subdued duo immediately owned up to their actions, with Bancroft explaining his thinking and revealing the charge had been laid.
13 – Smith takes full responsibility for the incident and tells the media that no coaches were aware of what was happening, while confirming he won't be stepping down from the captaincy and promising such conduct will never happen again under his leadership.
Qantas tour of South Africa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights
First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard
Second Test South Africa won by six wickets. Scorecard
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage