Australia cricketers admit ball-tampering against South Africa

Australia cricketers have admitted deliberately tampering with the ball during the third Test against South Africa.

Cameron Bancroft was caught rubbing a piece of tape, coated with dust from the pitch, on the ball while fielding, and in a press conference after the match admitted deliberately tampering with it.

Bancroft attempted to hide the tape down his trousers but the video evidence was clear and he was charged by the match officials after play finished on day three in Cape Town.

Team captain Steve Smith, who admitted he and the team leadership knew of the plan in advance, said he was "incredibly sorry" for bringing the game "into disrepute".

The pair appeared in a press conference after the match, in which Smith said: "The leadership group knew about it and spoke about it at lunch. I'm not proud of what's happened, it's not within the spirit of the game.

"My integrity and the integrity of the leadership group has come into question, and rightfully so."

He added: "I'm embarrassed and I feel for Cam as well. Being the leader of the team, I'm incredibly sorry for, I guess, trying to bring the game into disrepute."

Bancroft said: "We had a discussion during the break and on myself, I saw an opportunity to use some tape and granules from rough patches of the wicket to change the ball's condition.

"Once I was sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot, and that's why I shoved it down my trousers."

Australia's Cameron Bancroft. Credit: PA

Smith, who said he thought it was a "way to get an advantage", insisted he won't step down following the controversy.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain led the condemnation of Australia's actions and referenced the 1994 incident which saw then-England skipper Michael Atherton fined for using dirt in his pocket to dry the ball.

"Michael Atherton had a 'brainfade'," Hussain told Sky Sports. "This looks more like a pre-meditated, 'We are going to tamper with the ball'.

"You don't just have a bit of sandpaper, or whatever that yellow piece was that he tries to hide down his pants. That's a pre-meditated thing you take out there with you."