Smith banned as Australia's day of shame ends in humiliation


Cape Town (AFP)

Australian cricket's day of shame ended in a crushing 322-run rout at the hands of South Africa on Sunday and with captain Steve Smith banned for masterminding the ball-tampering scandal which has rocked cricket.

Set an unlikely 430 to win, Australia were bowled out for a paltry 107 at Newlands, with fast bowler Morne Morkel taking five for 23.

It was a fittingly dismal end to the match for Australia after Smith, who has refused to quit but is facing a growing clamour to be sacked, had admitted hatching the plot to tamper with the ball during Saturday's action.

The 28-year-old Smith was subsequently banned for one match by the ICC and fined 100 percent of his match fee, just hours after he and vice-captain David Warner had stood down from their positions for the remainder of the match.

"It's been a horrible 24 hours -- I want apologise to our fans and those back home," said Tim Paine who was handed the stand-in skipper role.

"We're struggling but the reality and the enormity of what's happened has probably started to sink in. I don't think we expected this to be as big as it has been, the fall-out we have seen from back home."

Smith will miss the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg from Friday due to his ban.

However, Cameron Bancroft, the 25-year-old opening batsman who was caught red-handed using yellow tape to alter the condition of the ball before hiding it in his underwear, escaped a suspension.

He was instead fined 75 percent of his fee, warned and hit by three demerit points.

"The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore 'serious' in nature," said ICC chief executive David Richardson.

"As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended."

Smith, who was out for just seven runs on Sunday, Warner and Bancroft were loudly booed by fans during Australia's second innings.

- 'Sorry' for cheating -

Australia's admission of cheating brought a firestorm of anger down upon them.

"We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa," said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating."

Cricket Australia (CA) chief James Sutherland issued an apology to fans.

"To our Australian cricket fans, we are sorry," said Sutherland.

"This behaviour calls into question the integrity of the team and Cricket Australia."

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who has himself twice been sanctioned for ball-related offences, gave Smith qualified support for coming clean.

"Obviously he's trying to take responsibility so there is right in that but there's also a right in that people are responsible for their own actions," he said Sunday.

"I don't know what the right answer is but I can understand it's a really tough time for him to be in right now."

Smith had insisted on Saturday he wouldn't resign from the captaincy but CA will be under heavy pressure to act decisively.

Some media even suggested that Smith, whose talents with the bat have drawn breathless comparisons with Aussie great Don Bradman, could even face a life ban.

Former wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist told Australian broadcaster Channel Ten Sunday the captaincy was a "tough position to hold after you have admitted to what you've admitted to and carry on with any faith from everyone watching".

"Australian cricket now -- and the integrity of Australian cricket -- is the laughing-stock of the world."

Smith admitted on Saturday to having committed "a big mistake" and took responsibility for Bancroft's actions, admitting he was involved in planning the move at lunchtime with "the leadership group".

"I'm not proud of what happened. It's not in the spirit of the game," he said.

Smith, though, insisted that coach Darren Lehmann was not part of the conspiracy, even though footage appeared to show the coach sending a message onto the field with 12th man Peter Handscomb after the first footage of the incident.

Bancroft said: "I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I want to be accountable for my actions."

Australia had been hoping glue from Bancroft's yellow tape would stick to the ball and in turn pick up "granules", potentially allowing their bowlers to get more swing from the ball.