Steve Smith makes a startling admission about the Cameron Bancroft ball tampering contoversy

South Africa v Australia - 2nd Test: Day 4

The current series between South Africa and Australia has been laden with controversial moments that have sadly overshadowed some scintillating cricket.

David Warner, Kagiso Rabada, Nathan Lyon and Quinton De Cock have all been fined for some dreadful behaviour.

Warner and De Cock very nearly came to blows during the Durban Test after a verbal exchange left the fiery Australian absolutely enraged as his teammates had to physically restrain him in the stair-well.

Kagiso Rabada was banned (and subsequently unbanned) for two games after bumping Steve Smith while celebrating a wicket and Nathan Lyon was fined after dropping the ball onto AB De Villiers’ chest after running out the South African star.

The sledging has been brutal, the individual battles intense and the umpires have had a torrid time trying to keep both camps in check

As hard as it is to believe, some cricket has been played in between all that too.

However, what transpired on Day 3 of the Cape Town Test has the potential to be the biggest controversy of the lot.

Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera using a foreign object, that many people thought to be sandpaper, when working on the ball in an attempt to illegally change its condition.

Once Bancroft realised he had been gaffed, he quickly stowed the object in his underpants but was again caught on camera doing so.

Pretty damning that.

Now, Bancroft has admitted that he was tampering with the condition of the ball in a press conference following the third days play.

However, the most startling admission came from Australian captain Steven Smith, who revealed that the Australian on-field leadership team knew all about Bancroft’s actions while the coaching staff knew nothing about what was going on.

“It was the leadership group’s idea. Poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this.

“This is the first time it has happened under my leadership. We saw this game as such as an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions.

Looks like KP called it.

Smith then continued: “Deeply regrettable and wont happen again. I can promise you. I can promise you this is the first time it has happened.”

“I am embarrassed. I know the boys in the shed are embarrassed as well. Being the leader, I am incredibly sorry. If we weren’t caught, I would still regret it.”

Not so sure about that, Steve.

This really is a shocking admission from Smith who has every right to be more than embarrassed for his actions. The skipper could find himself in hot-water over the coming days on all fronts and rightly so.

The senior members of a team are meant to guide and lead the younger ones, today Smith has done the exact opposite and has put Bancroft in an absolutely dire situation.

Cheating in this way is simply unacceptable. A dark day for cricket indeed.

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