A ball-tampering row consumes Australia

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IT HAS been a bad week for Australian cricket. Seven days ago, its Test team were playing a highly competitive, though bad-tempered, series against South Africa and performing creditably. In their captain, Steve Smith, they had one of the all-time great batsmen, while his deputy, David Warner, was a reliably intimidating presence at the top of the order. A young batsman, Cameron Bancroft, was also showing promise on his first overseas tour. Then, an ill-advised attempt at ball tampering was spotted by TV cameras. Cue fury around the cricket playing world, and ire from Australia’s prime minister. By the end of the week the Australian governing body, Cricket Australia (CA), had stripped Mr Smith and Mr Warner of their roles and banned them from playing professional domestic and international cricket for a year. Mr Bancroft has had his embryonic career halted for nine months.

But what kind of advantage were the Australians trying to gain? When bowling at the South Africans during the Third Test at Cape Town, the Australian players…Continue reading

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