ICC bans Smith for one Test, Bancroft free to play

The ICC has banned Steve Smith for one Test following Saturday's ball-tampering scandal, while Cameron Bancroft has received demerit points.

Australia captain Steve Smith at Newlands   -  Getty Images

Steve Smith has received a one-match ban from the ICC after the Australia skipper admitted he was "party to a decision" to tamper with the ball during the third Test with South Africa.

On Sunday, Smith and David Warner stood down from their roles as captain and vice-captain for the remainder of the Cape Town Test, after the former had revealed Australia's "leadership group" had devised a plan to manipulate the condition of the ball.

Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera rubbing the ball with yellow tape, has received three demerit points as a result of his actions and been fined 75 per cent of his match fee.

The ICC's decision means Smith, who has lost all of his match fee, will be unavailable for the fourth and final Test of the series in Johannesburg starting next Friday, but Bancroft is free to play if selected.

It remains to be seen whether both men, or other members of the leadership group, will be subject to further sanctions from Cricket Australia, which has pledged to urgently investigate the matter.

Smith was charged under Article 2.2.1 of the ICC code of conduct, which prohibits "all types of conduct of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game".

ICC chief executive David Richardson laid the charge, with Smith accepting the decision and the proposed sanction of two suspension points, equating to a one-Test ban and four demerit points being added to his record.

In a statement, Richardson said: "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.

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

Richardson added: "The game needs to have a hard look at itself. In recent weeks we have seen incidents of ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpires' decisions, a walk-off, ball tampering and some ordinary off-field behaviour.

"The ICC needs to do more to prevent poor behaviour and better police the spirit of the game, defining more clearly what is expected of players and enforcing the regulations in a consistent fashion.

"In addition, and most importantly, member countries need to show more accountability for their teams' conduct. Winning is important but not at the expense of the spirit of the game, which is intrinsic and precious to the sport of cricket. We have to raise the bar across all areas."

Addressing Bancroft's punishment, match referee Andy Pycroft said: "To carry a foreign object on to the field of play with the intention of changing the condition of the ball to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent is against not only the laws, but the spirit of the game as well.

"That said, I acknowledge that Cameron has accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to the charge and apologising publicly. As a young player starting out in international cricket, I hope the lessons learned from this episode will strongly influence the way he plays the game during the rest of his career."

Australia were led by Tim Paine in day four of the Cape Town Test, after Smith and Warner were relieved of their leadership duties for the rest of the match.

The team has faced strong condemnation over the ball-tampering incident in the last 24 hours, with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull among their strongest critics.

"How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief," said Turnbull.

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