Qantas Tour of South Africa

Sticky truth about sandpaper revelation

Australia's banned former opener Cameron Bancroft's declaration he used sticky tape in ball tampering case exposed as false

Sam Ferris, in Johannesburg

28 March 2018, 11:58 PM

Bancroft charged, Smith admits ball tampering ploy

Perhaps the most damning revelation from Cricket Australia’s internal investigation into the Cape Town ball-tampering saga is that David Warner instructed Cameron Bancroft to use sandpaper to artificially alter the condition of the ball.

Up until today, it was believed the foreign object used on the ball was sticky tape.

Players banned, Lehmman cleared: Sutherland

The investigation found Warner conceived the idea to rough up the ball with sandpaper, enlisted Bancroft to carry out the task and demonstrated how to do it.

Warner was also found to have failed to report any knowledge of the plan at any time and that he misled the ICC match officials.

After being caught by television cameras using sandpaper to rough up the ball, Bancroft fronted the media after play alongside captain Steve Smith and told the cricket world he used sticky tape with granules of the pitch attached to rough up the ball.

Bancroft, Smith reveal ball tampering plan

"We had a discussion during the break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from rough patches on the wicket to change the ball condition,” Bancroft said on Saturday.

“It didn't work, the umpires didn't change the ball.

"Once being sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving (the item) down my trousers.

"We have this yellow tape in our kit and it is connected to some padding but the sticky stuff is very sticky and I felt like it could be used to collect some stuff from the side of the pitch and I have been charged with ball tampering."

That statement has proven to be false.

Cameron Bancroft wit h the sandpaper
Cameron Bancroft with the sandpaper

Sandpaper is not uncommon in the kits of cricketers, particularly batsmen, who use it to smooth their bats when changing bat sponsor stickers.

However, it is strictly forbidden to be used on the ball, as is any artificial, foreign agent.

In addition to his involvement in the plan to rough up the ball and conceal the evidence, Bancroft was found to have made misleading comments about the plan.

Smith was found to have breached the same aspects of the CA Code of Conduct as Bancroft in regards to misleading the match officials and public, and that he did not stop the plan going ahead once he had knowledge of it.

CA have come down on the three parties involved, with Smith and Warner banned for 12 months and Bancroft nine months from international cricket and domestic cricket in Australia.

For Warner’s part as mastermind, he can longer be considered for a leadership role in the Australian cricket team, meaning his days as captain and deputy are over.

The report from CA Head of Integrity Iain Roy highlighted Warner's decision to ask a junior player to carry out the plan.

The spotlight was on Warner after media reports surfaced in the second Test in Port Elizabeth the Proteas were suspicious of protective taping on Warner's left hand.

While those reports never materialised into a story of substance, the attention it generated is perhaps why Warner instructed Bancroft to carry out the devious plan.

Bancroft admitted at the time he was uneasy with his new role.

"I'll be honest with you, I was obviously nervous about it because with hundreds of cameras around that's always the risk, isn't it?" he said.

"I sit before you today and I'm not proud of what's happened today.

"I'm not proud of what's happened and I have to live with the consequences and the damage to my own reputation that comes with (it).”

CA chief executive James Sutherland, who labelled Warner's attack on England's Joe Root in a Birmingham bar "a dispicable thng" in 2013, said he was surprised by Warner's actions given his unblemished record over the past few seasons. 

“David has got a rap sheet but I actually had a lot of confidence that he was going well," Sutherland told reporters on Wednesday.

"And over the last couple of years, certainly at least prior to Durban, he had a pretty clean sheet and he was performing well and he was leading well.

"He had just come off the T20 successful series (in New Zealand) and was doing well.

"So, I guess based on prior things you can say that (he was confident), but at the same time, I am as surprised as anyone about all this.

"Putting aside individuals, I am surprised that Australian cricketers have let this happen to them, allowed this to happen, and allowed it to happen to the team and the game."

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