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South Africa suspected Australia were ball tampering before Sandpapergate Test: Faf du Plessis

“During the first Test in Durban, the Australian pace attack had got the ball to reverse insanely," du Plessis wrote.

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SA Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former South African skipper Faf du Plessis has recalled the infamous ball-tampering incident by the Australian team during the third Test match at the Newlands, Cape Town in March 2018. He has made some big revelations in his book titled 'Faf: Through Fire'.

Du Plessis wrote that he could feel that the Australian pacers, especially Mitchell Starc, had tampered with the ball during the opening Test in Durban on a deteriorating wicket, which made the deliveries unplayable.

The veteran batter said that South African bowlers extracted reverse swing, but that was nowhere close to the amount of swing their Australian counterparts managed.

The Australian pace attack had got the ball to reverse insanely: Faf du Plessis

“During the first Test in Durban, the Australian pace attack had got the ball to reverse insanely. Mitchell Starc claimed nine wickets and, although I regard him as one of the best proponents of reverse-swing bowling I have ever seen or faced, those deliveries in Durban were borderline unplayable", wrote Du Plessis.

“He would come in around the wicket with a badly deteriorated ball and get it to hoop past us. Our balls had also reversed but not nearly as much as theirs," he added.

During the Cape Town Test, television cameras showed Cameron Bancroft tampering the ball with a sandpaper. The then skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were also found to be involved in the incident, as a result of which all three were severely penalised by Cricket Australia (CA).

Smith admitted that the incident took place under his supervision during a press conference and cried inconsolably, saying that he was not proud of his actions. Bancroft received a nine-month suspension and was fined 75% of his match fee whereas Smith and Warner were handed a 12-month ban after being stripped from their leadership roles. Steve Smith was also fined 100% of his match fees and was given a two-year leadership ban while Warner was handed a lifetime leadership ban. 

Veteran stumper Tim Paine was appointed the Australian Test captain while Aaron Finch took over the reins from Smith in white-ball cricket. Meanwhile, the then head coach Darren Lehmann, who had guided the Aussies to a World Cup triumph at home in 2015, immediately stepped down as the coach following this infamous incident. 

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