JOHANNESBURG – Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been suspended on Tuesday by Cricket Australia for the 4th Test in Johannesburg for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal.
After a Cricket Australia investigation, all three players were found guilty of breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct and will fly home from South Africa on Thursday.
Smith has also been stripped of the captaincy for at least the final Test in South Africa, with Tim Paine endorsed by the board as his successor and Australia's 46th Test captain after he acted in the role on day four in Cape Town.
Queensland pair Matthew Renshaw and Joe Burns, and Victoria's Glenn Maxwell have been called up as replacements for the banned trio.
BREAKING NEWS: Darren Lehmann remains Australian coach, but captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft to go home | By @ashfakmohamed @IOL #SAvAUS #BallTampering #JamesSutherland https://t.co/WJGCbzYDYV
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland told reporters at a Johannesburg hotel that Smith, Warner and Bancroft have been charged with CA Code of Conduct breaches and added their respective sanctions will be revealed in the next 24 hours.
The immediate future of head coach Darren Lehmann was also clarified, with the South Australian to continue his tenure as per his contract.
"In view of the broader reputational and integrity issues involved, the sanctions that will be contemplated are significant," Sutherland said. "The process must therefore be thorough to ensure that all relevant issues have been examined."
Smith had already been suspended for the final Test at The Wanderers by International Cricket Council CEO David Richardson on Sunday, while Bancroft was fined and handed three demerit points to his disciplinary record.
"This is a reminder to us of how the Australian fans want their players to behave. This is extraordinarily bad for Australian cricket." - Sutherland
All three players now face lengthy bans from international cricket.
The incident that led to the suspensions took place during South Africa's innings on Saturday afternoon when Bancroft was seen on television holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers.
As soon as the incident was shown on the big screen, the player was questioned in the presence of his captain by the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, who along with third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar, later charged Bancroft.
The umpires inspected the ball at that time and elected not to replace the ball and award a five-run penalty as they could not see any marks that suggested the condition of the ball had been changed as a direct result of Bancroft's actions.
The umpires, though, agreed that Bancroft's actions were likely to alter the condition of the ball and he was therefore charged.
The plan to alter the condition of the ball had been made at the lunch break on day three between senior players from Australia without the consent of the coaching staff, according to Smith.
African News Agency (ANA)