Qantas Tour of South Africa
How the tampering scandal was exposed
South African broadcaster reveals how Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera at Newlands
Sam Ferris in Cape Town
27 March 2018, 08:28 AM AEST
SuperSport Head of Production Alvin Naicker has revealed how the television broadcaster exposed Australia's premeditated plan to alter the condition the ball in the third Test at Newlands.
Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught by SuperSport cameras using yellow tape to alter the condition of the ball on Saturday before he panicked and tried to hide the foreign object down his trousers.
The plan to use tape with granules of the pitch to rough up one side of the ball was hatched by senior members of Australia’s squad at lunch on day three and carried out by rookie Bancroft.
Broadcast vision of Bancroft putting something in his pocket was displayed on the Newlands big screen, prompting standing umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth to ask the Australian to empty his pockets.
With nothing but a cloth sunglasses case to show, the umpires were seemingly satisfied and allowed play to continue, unaware Bancroft had ditched the tape moments before he was called before the standing officials.
"We initially just saw that he had something in his hand and he put it in his pocket, but we didn’t know what it was," Naicker told Reuters yesterday.
"It was only when he later panicked and put it in his underpants that we got sight of the yellow tape.
"The moment he tried to dispose of it in his pants, we knew that this was a major incident. Until then, we were not sure what we were looking at."
There has been some suggestion that SuperSport were targeting the Australians, looking for ways the tourists were possibly manipulating the ball.
The tape on David Warner’s hands that protect his previously broken fingers and thumb had been put under the spotlight in the preceding Test in Port Elizabeth, to which the opener responded by writing the names of his wife and daughters on the bandages.
But Naicker says SuperSport have seven dedicated cameras following the ball during a day’s play of Test cricket regardless of who is fielding.
He added that moments after Bancroft was seen using the foreign agent on the ball, the broadcaster aired the footage that led to a message being sent from the dressing room to the Australian, who promptly tried to hide the evidence.
"We don’t want it to seem like we are going after the Australian team," he said. "If that was a South African, we would have broadcast the footage for sure.
"We have a responsibility to entertain, but just like journalists we have a moral obligation to provide unbiased editorial.
"He (Bancroft) probably saw it two minutes after it happened and very smartly our cameraman focused on the coaching staff and we saw the coach (Darren Lehmann) get on the walkie-talkie to the player down on the field (Peter Handscomb), who ran on to speak with Bancroft. It was then he panicked.
"We have seven cameras that stay with the ball always, whether it is in play or not.
"But there are a lot more cameras, we had 30 at the ground."
Bancroft was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points by the ICC for his involvement in the scandal, while his captain Steve Smith has been suspended for one match and fined his entire pay packet from the third Test.
"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 after play 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 tape) 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
"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?
"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).
"I'll do my best to move forward and play cricket."
Cricket Australia has launched an investigation into the incident, with an update on the findings aimed to be released by Wednesday morning AEDT.
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, David Warner, 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 South Africa won by 322 runs. Scorecard
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage