South Africa's opening bowler, Vernon Philander, has been found guilty and fined 75% of his match fee by the International Cricket Council after umpires Billy Bowden and Richard Kettleborough discovered his ball tampering misdemeanour after the third day's play against Sri Lanka in the first Test match.

The umpires did not witness the incident on the field of play but did see the incident after reviewing the day's play alongside third umpire Nigel Long.

Deliberate

Philander was found guilty of deliberately trying to change the state of the match ball by scratching the surface with his finger and thumb.

The 29-year-old accepted the charge, which is categorised as a level two offence as set out by the ICC's code of conduct. He could have been fined between 50-100% of his match fee and /or banned from 1 Test or two ODIs as a result of being found guilty.

South Africa are no strangers to ball-tampering issues with Faf du Plessis also found guilty in October for deliberately scratching the ball near his zip pocket on his trousers. On that occasion du Plessis was charged and fined 50% of his match fee.

Beautifully poised

The game itself in Galle is beautifully poised as the teams head into day five. Sri Lanka are chasing down a very challenging 370 in the fourth innings to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

At the close on day four Sri Lanka were 110-1, needing another 260 for victory. Despite losing Upul Tharanga with the score on 14 an unbeaten second wicket partnership of 96 by Kaushal Silva (37) and Kumar Sangakkara (58) has given the hosts a good platform to begin their run chase when they resume on the final day.

Top ranking

South Africa, under new captain Hashim Amla, are looking to overtake Australia at the top of the Test rankings. However, to do so the Proteas will need to beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in the two Test series.

Topics:
Sri Lanka cricket
Hashim Amla
Cricket
South Africa cricket
Kumar Sangakkara