Qantas Tour of South Africa
Paine reflects on 'horrible 24 hours'
Acting captain says the enormity of the situation is sinking in for the pair at the centre of ball tampering scandal
Sam Ferris at Newlands, Cape Town
26 March 2018, 06:11 AM AEST
Interim Test captain Tim Paine says Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft are "struggling" following the ball tampering scandal that has rocked the cricket world in what's been a disastrous 24 hours for the Australian men's cricket team.
"They're not great," Paine said in Cape Town after Australia slumped to a 322-run third-Test defeat.
"It's been a horrible 24 hours, they're struggling, but probably the reality and the enormity of what's happened is starting to sink in.
"I don't think we all would have expected this to be as big as it has been and particularly the fallout that we have seen from back home."
The fallout Paine refers to has been widespread and scathing.
Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it "beggars belief" that Smith and his team would engage in cheating, and expressed his disappointment and concerns about the events in Cape Town to Cricket Australia chairman David Peever.
Test legend Adam Gilchrist labeled Australian cricket the "laughing stock of world sport" and that he wasn't sure if Smith should remain as captain.
Former Australia opener Simon Katich said CA has no option but to sack Smith, David Warner and coach Darren Lehmann.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain said Australia's "blatant" ball tampering is a bad look for the game, while ex-skipper Michael Vaughan says the tag of 'cheat' will be attached to Smith, his charges and the team management for the rest of their careers.
As it stands on Monday, Smith's captaincy future is up in the air after he was suspended for "conduct of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game". In essence, for admitting his role in conspiring to tamper with the ball.
Smith stood down as captain, as did Warner as vice-captain, on Sunday morning for the remainder of the third Test, with Paine installed as interim captain.
Meanwhile, Bancroft has escaped suspension but has been fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points for using yellow tape and chunks of the pitch stuck to it to rough up the ball in the afternoon session of day three at Newlands.
CA chief executive James Sutherland told a throng of reporters on Sunday an internal investigation has been launched, led by CA Head of Integrity Iain Roy, who travelled to South Africa with CA Team Performance boss Pat Howard.
Paine said it was "impossible" to know if he will remain as captain, a title he was not expecting in such a unique situation.
"Strange," Paine said when asked what it was like to front the press as the Australia Test captain.
"Not the circumstances that anyone would like to be sitting here, really bizarre, strange, horrible 24 hours.
"We had a quick chat as we do as a team every morning and Steve and Dave both announced that they were stepping down and then I was told by the chairman of selectors that I would be captain for the day."
The fourth Test starts on Friday, which Australia must win to draw the series after losing in Cape Town in dramatic fashion.
Set 430 to win, Australia were realistically never going to leave Newlands as victors but a stunning collapse of 10-50 in less than 20 overs resulted in a mammoth defeat that "rubbed salt into the wounds" of the tourists.
"It was extremely difficult (to focus on the cricket) and that's no excuse for that you saw in the last 45 minutes, we are still the Australian cricket team and we are expected to put up a better effort than what we did today," Paine said.
"It was in some trying circumstances and probably circumstances we brought on ourselves."
With at least one change certain for The Wanderers, Paine says those players who are called upon can take the appropriate strides in restoring the image of the Australian cricket team.
"The one positive that may come of it is guys are going to get an opportunity to play for their country," he said.
"The whole opportunity for us going forward now is something we can learn from and something we can try to control how we are seen going forward by our Australian public, and become the team that we want to become and they want us to be seen as.
"So that's an opportunity going forward."
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