Qantas Tour of South Africa
Details reportedly emerge from scandal
A look at the latest coverage of the ball-tampering scandal from Australia's Sunday newspapers
1 April 2018, 11:42 AM AEST
Plot thickens without Smith knowing: Sun Herald, Sydney
Fairfax has directed its focus on Steve Smith, who they report was not privy to "key elements" of the ball-tampering plan – a line of thinking consistent with the Cricket Australia investigation, given Smith's sanctioning included lines regarding "knowledge of a potential (ball-tampering) plan" and a failure to "take steps to seek to prevent the development and implementation of that plan".
"Investigators were told Smith did not know how the plan would be carried out until after Bancroft had been exposed on the big screen," Fairfax reported.
"It is believed they found Smith had expressed his dislike of the plan but did not attempt to stop it.
"It is understood CA's investigation found that the sandpaper was used twice on the ball, which umpires believed had not been sufficiently altered to warrant replacement, and had come from a kit bag, though it is unclear who supplied it for use."
How cricket's day of shame unfolded: Sunday Mail Brisbane
News Ltd has reported that a message from AB de Villiers to his former Proteas captain Graeme Smith – triggered by de Villiers' suspicions that David Warner was "up to something during the second Test" – led to a broadcast camera monitoring the ball closely while in the possession of the fielding Australians.
The report describes the sandpaper that was used by Bancroft as being "a square inch" in size and contextualises the controversy in a background of pent-up frustration and anger from the tourists; frustration that Kagiso Rabada had successfully appealed his third Test ban, and residual anger over the Quinton de Kock controversy from the first Test in Durban. That continued in Cape Town, with abuse from the crowds, while the frustration became an on-field issue due to the stubborn resolve of South Africa's batsmen.
"In the first innings (at Newlands, Australia felt the ball just went (reverse) out of nowhere for South Africa," says the report. "Australia's theory for that, it's understood, was that wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was rubbing the ball on his gloves."
The report then offers details of how Australia's ball-tampering plan unfolded.
"Warner and Bancroft sat in close proximity in the sheds as opening partners," it says. "In a dressing room described by ex-players as one of the smallest in world cricket, sources claim Smith became aware of a plan, but didn't want to know about it. This, of course, was his failure as captain. Did others know of the plot? Some sources are convinced it could not have remained such a closely-guarded secret between three people.
"Others believe it is possible due to the chaotic nature of lunch breaks. Players only get a couple of minutes together as a group.
"There are unconfirmed suggestions someone in the room uttered a phrase resembling 'just don't be ridiculous'."
After the controversy unraveled on the pitch, the report suggests coach Darren Lehmann's walkie-talkie enquiry became a much sterner dressing room tirade once stumps were called, setting the scene for what was to come.
Caught on tape: How panic sealed Bancroft's fate: Sunday Times, Perth
The Sunday Times in Perth spoke with Alvin Naicker, who was directing the coverage for host broadcaster SuperSport.
The report details how "a total fluke" sparked the scandal, with Naicker and his Slow Motion Operator noticing something amiss when the camera was trained on Bancroft.
"Bancroft (was) shining the ball and when he threw the ball, in his right hand I could see something in between his fingers," Naicker told the Sunday Times.
"… We put it on a bigger monitor. I thought, 'OK, I haven't seen this before', and we played it
back in slow motion."
The footage was then shown on the big screen and the situation quickly unraveled, Bancroft later admitting he "panicked" when he saw it on the giant monitor at Newlands.
"Then I cut to him and cut to the coach (Lehmann on the walkie-talkie)," Naicker continued. "Something wasn't right, so we continued following the story. The rest of the visuals
speak for themselves. We didn't script it.
"They way they behaved gave us the opportunity to get more things unravelling."
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: Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Matt Renshaw, 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 South Africa won by 322 runs. Scorecard
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage