The Proteas remain focused on the job at hand despite the issues going on around them. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

The Proteas are steadfastly focused on winning the on-going third Test at Newlands, despite their opposition being embroiled all forms of chaos, according to team manager Mohammed Moosajee.

Australia are in virtual free-fall after captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft admitted to ball tampering on Saturday evening. Bancroft was caught on television shoving a yellow piece of tape down his trousers.

Subsequently, Smith, who had earlier expressed his desire to continue leading the Australian team at the admission press conference, has now stepped down along with vice-captain David Warner from their respective leadership positions for the Newlands Test on Sunday morning after consultation with Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

Wicket-keeper Tim Paine will lead the Australian team for the remainder of the Newlands Test, where South Africa have already stretched their lead well beyond 300.

“We have had Ottis Gibson (Proteas coach) address the team this morning. The focus has been about applying relentless pressure. To be focused on the job at hand and from a mental space they are certainly in a good one,” Moosajee told a group of reporters at the Newlands nets before the start of the fourth day.

“It has been an interesting series. Intriguing on the field, and somewhat theatrical off the field. We survived Kingsmead, came through PE. Now we sit here at Newlands. From a Proteas perspective, the most important thing is for us make sure we focus on the job at hand, which is to win the Test match.”

Moosajee stressed that CSA would not be investigating the ball tampering incident any further, and stated that because of Australia’s admission, “the process is very much in the match referee and the ICC’s hands”.

He was equally not surprised that Australia opted not to deny the allegations.

"When the evidence is at damning as it was, sometimes it's better to come clean. That's probably what they were thinking," he said. "Reverse swing is about trying to change the condition of the ball but in a legal way. Many teams try and do that."

Moosajee, however, could understand why the ball wasn’t changed by the umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth after they had spoken to Bancroft on the field.

“That was a bit surprising. In a sense they didn’t change the ball because the condition of the ball hadn’t been affected. My understanding of the rules is that if there is evidence, like there was, pretty much for everyone to see, then the ball should have been changed and a five-run penalty awarded,” he explained.


IOL Sport

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