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Australia's Smith, Warner and Bancroft sent home

The three players involved in the ball-tampering case will leave South Africa on Wednesday. Credit: PA

Darren Lehmann will continue in his role as head coach of the Australia team after a Cricket Australia investigation found that he had no prior knowledge of the plan to ball tamper during the third Test against South Africa.

CA chief executive James Sutherland said that knowledge of Cameron Bancroft's attempt to manipulate the ball with sticky tape against South Africa in Cape Town was limited to three players - opener Bancroft, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner.

Sutherland said Tim Paine has been appointed captain of Australia's Test team, and said the three players involved in the ball-tampering case will leave South Africa on Wednesday.

"I want to apologise to all Australians for what took place," Sutherland told a press conference in Johannesburg. "It's about the reputation and integrity of Australian cricket and Australian sport and whether Australians can take pride in their national team.

"The key finding is that prior knowledge of the ball-tampering incident was limited to three players - captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

"The three players on report, we are contemplating significant sanctions, which will reflect the gravity of what has occurred and the damage it has done to the standing of Australian cricket."