Australia’s ball-tampering is dominating the cricket headlines around the world and Down Under there is not much sympathy from the country’s media towards captain Steve Smith and team-mate Cameron Bancroft.
Shock and shame appear to be the order of the day as Bancroft confessed to trying to use tape and dirt to change the condition of the ball on day three of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Here is how Australia’s press reacted following the weekend fallout:
“Smith’s shame” cries the headline above an “ashen-faced” Smith as he left his hotel on Sunday.
Cricket writer Peter Lalor calls it “the greatest scandal in the sport’s history” as Smith and vice-captain David Warner stepped down from their roles for the fourth day of play in the third Test. Lalor goes on to say it is believed they will not return to their leadership positions for “sometime – if ever following the nation’s shocked response”.
Comment from Patrick Smith also makes the front page, with the sports journalist saying the “cheating has hurt Australian cricket from helmet to boot”.
Darwin’s morning tabloid is sure to grab readers’ attention with its humorous “Why I’ve got some sticky near my dicky” headline – alongside a picture of Bancroft trying to hide a small piece of yellow tape down the front of his trousers. Heads are expected to roll, it says, on what has become “cricket’s darkest day”.
THE COURIER MAIL
The Brisbane tabloid turns its focus to Cricket Australia with the blunt but catchy headline: “Show some balls”. It says shocked fans are calling for Smith and Warner to be given the axe “for real”.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
A one-word headline leads the front of the paper: “Shame” under a picture of the “sacred” baggy green cap, suggesting the enormity of the players’ actions for bringing the “symbol of national pride and fair play into disrepute”.
On the inside pages, the incident is referred to as “Sandpapergate”.
Commentator Ian Chappell says Smith should not be the sole scapegoat for a “dark day in Australia cricket”, while Robert Craddock says the scandal is the “culmination of a grubby win-at-all-costs culture finally crossing from self-righteous rule-bending into a world of shameless, bald-face cheating”.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
“Shame” reads again the headline in New South Wales. “‘Same old Aussies, always cheating’, goes the Barmy Army chant, and it’s impossible to be offended now,” writes Malcolm Knox.
The commentator says this is cricket’s “#MeToo moment” and gives cricket the opportunity to “cleanse itself”. “The first people Australian cricket should be hearing from are Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor – 20 years’ worth of captains – and their pace-bowling eminences, such as Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Jason Gillespie. From this group, we want the truth. Is this what Australian cricket is, and has been, about?,” he asks.