3rd Test, Australia tour of South Africa at Cape Town, Mar 22-25 2018 - Australian cricket in crisis after Captain Steve Smith and WA youngster Cameron Bancroft admitted to pre-planned cheating. Smith has stood down as captain for the remainder of the Test Match, after ball tampering was sensationally caught on camera.
What was Bancroft doing with that yellow tape?
Bancroft used sticky yellow tape, which had debris from the
pitch, as a makeshift form of sandpaper while working on the
ball in an illegal attempt to scuff it.
To make matters worse, he attempted to hide the evidence when he realised umpires were suspicious.
He stuffed the tape down his pants, instead showing umpires a piece of cloth in his pocket.
Cameras captured it all and the match referee later charged him with ball tampering.
What's the point of scuffing the ball?
Reverse-swing has played a crucial role in the ongoing Test
series in South Africa.
It's achieved by scuffing one side of the ball, and it can help fast bowlers produce unplayable deliveries.
Both sides have achieved remarkably early reverse-swing in the first two Tests, but attributed it to dry pitches and an abrasive centre-wicket block.
Australia was desperate to make the old ball start hopping in Cape Town, where the home side had seized control of the crunch clash.
What actual rules were broken?
Fielders aren't allowed to change the condition of the ball,
with the major exception that they're allowed to polish it — so
long as no artificial substance is used and it doesn't waste
Players can also remove mud from the ball (under the supervision of an umpire) and dry it with an approved piece of cloth.
The ICC Code of Conduct specifically outlines some of the things you can't do to the ball, including:
deliberately throw it into the ground to roughen it up
apply any artificial substance to it
interfere with the seams
scratch the surface with fingernails or any implement
It's up to the umpires to determine if a team has unfairly changed the condition of the ball. If they have, the ball is changed and their opponents are awarded five penalty runs.
While Bancroft was charged with ball tampering — and lost 75 per cent of his match fee as a result — Smith was charged with the separate offence of "conduct of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game", which led to him being suspended for one match and losing 100 per cent of his match fee.
What do (and don't) we know about the plot?
On Sunday, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland
said the organisation needed a "clearer picture" of what had
transpired before taking action.
But there's already a lot that we do know.
Steve Smith admitted that there was a plot to tamper with the ball, saying it came up during a discussion in the team's leadership group at lunch on day three of the third Test.
But he did not specifically name who was involved in the discussion and who came up with the idea, so that could be a focus of the investigation.
Questions will also be asked about coach Darren Lehmann's level of awareness, despite Smith insisting he had no idea about the plan.
CA's head of integrity Iain Roy was travelling to South Africa to lead the investigation.
"Once Iain submits his report we'll be able to make further comment," Sutherland said.
What does this mean for Smith's captaincy?
A premeditated plan to cheat is not a good look for any leader
of any sporting team.
Smith said he was "embarrassed" and "incredibly sorry for trying to bring the game into disrepute the way we did", but vowed to remain captain in the immediate aftermath of the scandal.
However, that could be taken out his hands, with many fans, former players and commentators calling for him to resign or be axed.
Cricket Australia already stood down Smith and David Warner as captain and vice-captain for the remainder of the third Test.
Smith's tour of South Africa was also brought to an abrupt end, with the captain suspended for the upcoming fourth and final Test.
Is this worse than the underarm incident of 1981?
In case you don't remember, this was when Australia bowled
underarm in order to stop New Zealand from scoring a six off
the last ball of a one-day international — so ensuring an
Both moments of madness were triggered by a captain's desire to win.
Greg Chappell told his brother Trevor to do something legal but obviously not in the spirit of the game.
The incident at Newlands was both illegal and not in the spirit of the game — it was the team's most inexperienced player carrying out a premeditated plan hatched by people who should know better.