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Date TimeMarch 24, 2018
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  • Small yellow object seen in Bancroft’s hands after working on ball
  • Bancroft spoken to by umpires after incident in afternoon session
Cameron Bancroft ball-tampering claims mar South Africa v Australia
An apparent ball tampering controversy involving Australia’s Cameron Bancroft overshadowed play during day three of the tourists’ third Test against South Africa.
Bancroft was spoken to by the on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth after television cameras captured him holding a small, yellow object when working on the rough side of the ball during the afternoon session before seeming to place it down his trousers.
The umpires spoke with Bancroft – a conversation during which he showed them a piece of black cloth – but did not choose to change the ball or penalise his team the statutory five-run on-field penalty for illegally changing the condition of the ball.
Ball tampering has been an issue raised throughout the series. In Port Elizabth Warner was highlighted for the impact of the bandages on his hand – the result of finger injuries suffered while batting – on the ball and on day one in Cape Town Australia bowler Pat Cummins inadvertently stepped on the ball.
After the first Test in Durban Australia’s coach, Darren Lehmann, said both sides would try various “techniques” to get the ball to reverse swing.
“Obviously, there are techniques used by both sides to get the ball reverse and that’s just the way the game goes,” Lehmann said after the Durban Test. “I have no problems with it, simple. You’d have to ask the umpires and ICC about that one [whether it is legal]. I don’t mind the ball moving, I have no problems with it at all.”
Former players were quick to react to the incident on social media, with South African-born former England captain Kevin Pietersen accusing Lehmann of being involved in the plan.
Another former England captain, Michael Vaughan, tweeted: “Mr Bancroft may end up on the naughty step.”
The Bancroft incident was the latest in a string of contentious moments in the series. On Friday at Newlands, the Australians lodged an official complaint with their South African hosts over what they called the abusive behaviour of home fans in Cape Town. Lehmann said several of his players had been verbally abused by the crowd, abuse which included references to the players’ families. Lehmann called the fans’ behaviour “disgraceful” and Cricket South Africa ordered an increased security presence in the crowd on Saturday. That included police officers.
Aiden Markram’s 84 helped South Africa increase their lead to 207 runs at tea on Saturday. Markram was out just before the tea break to lift the Aussies, as South Africa ended the session 151-3 for their second innings. Earlier, the hosts had wrapped up Australia’s first innings for 255 when Kagiso Rabada took the one Australian wicket that South Africa needed, removing Josh Hazlewood with an edge to Hashim Amla at slip. Rabada finished with four wickets, as did fellow pace bowler Morne Morkel.

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