Smith, Warner relinquish leadership roles for rest of third Test

Tim Paine will lead Australia for the rest of the third Test with South Africa, after Steve Smith and David Warner agreed to stand down.

David Warner and Steve Smith   -  Getty Images

Cricket Australia has confirmed Steve Smith and David Warner have stood down as captain and vice-captain for the remainder of the third Test against South Africa following Saturday's ball-tampering controversy, with Tim Paine taking over as acting skipper.

On a remarkable third day in Cape Town, Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft was charged with ball-tampering after being caught on camera using yellow tape in an apparent attempt to alter the condition of the ball.

In a subsequent news conference, Bancroft admitted his guilt while Smith revealed the team's leadership group had been actively involved in devising the plot.

Smith stressed that he would not consider stepping away from his role as captain, but he has now relinquished the position after talks with CA.

"Following discussions with Steve Smith and David Warner they have agreed to stand down as captain and vice-captain respectively for the remainder of this Test match," said CA CEO James Sutherland.

"This Test match needs to proceed, and in the interim we will continue to investigate this matter with the urgency that it demands.

"As I said earlier today, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met. 

"All Australians, like us, want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of priority."

CA had come under increasing pressure to take action over the incident, most notably from Malcolm Turnbull, Australia's prime minister.

"We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa," he said.

"It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team have been involved in cheating.

"After all, our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief.

"I've spoken with David Peever, the chairman of Cricket Australia, and I've expressed to him very clearly and unequivocally my disappointment and my concern about the events in South Africa.

"He has said to me that Cricket Australia will be responding decisively, as they should.

"It’s their responsibility to deal with it, but I have to say that [to] the whole nation, who holds those who wear the Baggy Green up on a pedestal, about as high as you can get in Australia... this is a shocking disappointment.

"It's wrong, and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon."

Smith and Warner remain part of the team, led by Paine, who have taken to the field for day four of the Test.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Paine, 33, only returned to Australia's five-day side in November, earning a shock recall for the 2017-18 Ashes series.

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