Cameron Bancroft was seen rubbing his hands over the ball shortly before tea on Saturday. © Twitter
The ongoing four-match Test series between South Africa and Australia has been hit by more controversy as on Day three of the Cape Town Test, Cameron Bancroft was seen rubbing his hands over the ball shortly before tea on Saturday. The Australian opener is expected to face a ‘please explain’ from the match referee in Cape Town, where footage emerged of him seemingly working on the ball with a yellow item, resembling a guitar pick, before sliding it into his pants. After the incident, on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth met mid-pitch and summoned the 25-year-old.
The ball was not changed at the time but match referee Andy Pycroft is expected to scrutinise footage of the episode.
Bancroft faces the risk of suspension from the final Test of the series if found guilty of tampering.
The incident drew the ire of injured South African pacer Dale Steyn on Twitter, while, Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan expressed their opinions about the incident.
My 2cents worth – This will be Darren Lehmann’s greatest test as a coach, cos I will struggle to believe that this was all Bancroft’s idea. #SandpaperGate.
— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) March 24, 2018
The last series between Ausralia and South Africa in 2016/17 featured a ball-tampering controversy when Proteas captain Faf du Plessis was found guilty of using a mint to shine the ball.
Under the ICC code of conduct is a level-two offence, carrying up to four demerit points, a total that brings about a one-Test ban for a player found guilty.