CAPE TOWN – Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft was questioned by the umpires after appearing to rub something on to the ball during day three of the third Test against the Proteas at Newlands on Saturday.
Bancroft was seen on SuperSport’s TV coverage to rub the ball vigorously on his pants, before putting his right hand into his pocket and then rubbing the ball with something.
Moments later, Bancroft is seen producing a yellow item from his pocket and putting it inside the front part of his pants, and when he was approached by umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, the Australian opener showed them a black item – possibly his sunglass cleaning cloth – and with his captain Steve Smith also part of the discussion.
Can we talk about this? pic.twitter.com/cmpRrOArgD
The umpires allowed play to continue and did not inspect the ball, but the TV footage was damning.
The cameras then panned to the Proteas dressing-room, where coach Ottis Gibson and captain Faf du Plessis seemed upset by it all. Du Plessis motioned a turning gesture with his hands, suggesting that Bancroft had used something unusual to work on the ball.
Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith said in commentary afterwards that he felt that there was indeed ball-tampering, but now it remains to be seen whether the International Cricket Council match referee Andy Pycroft will take any action.
He definitely can add chafe to his list of stresses tonight https://t.co/t9QBtnWV8H
“In my opinion, I think he’s tampered with the ball and used an object to do that. It does look like it’s a bit of sandpaper,” Smith said.
“The footage doesn’t look good. I’m quite amazed the umpires haven’t done anything with the ball… the footage is quite damning.
“If it is proved that what has gone on in the footage is correct, then some tough questions have to be asked of Steve Smith and Darren Lehmann.
“I think there is a lot of questions that need to be answered, and Australia need to answer them.
“For me, it’s quite obvious that he’s doing something with the ball, and the umpires need to do something about it.”