Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland has delivered his verdict of the investigation done on the ball tampering issue involving Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner.
James Sutherland apologised to the Australian cricket fans and to Cricket South Africa. He cleared that only Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner had the prior knowledge of intention to tamper with the ball.
He also cleared that coach Darren Lehmann had no knowledge of this and will continue to coach Australia as per his contract.
Sutherland also announced Tim Paine as the captain of Australian team for the fourth and final Test. Warner, Smith, and Bancroft will leave South Africa and will be replaced by Maxwell, Burns, and Renshaw.
Cameron Bancroft was caught by the cameras altering the condition of the ball with a yellow object, which was revealed to be sandpaper. When he was notified by the 12th man that he was caught on the cameras, he quickly tried to hide the object in his trousers and was captured for posterity again. The umpires had intervened, but Bancroft had produced a case for his sunglasses and the game went on.
However, with enough evidence to look at, the thing snowballed into a press conference that shredded the reputation of Australian cricket to shreds. Steve Smith admitted that the ball tampering was a premeditated plan, hatched up by the senior leadership of the team.
ICC took notice and banned Smith for a match and fined 100% of his match fees, while Bancroft got a 75% match fees and three demerit points. Smith and Warner both stepped down from their captaincy and vice-captaincy roles.
However, the backlash of the incident shook was severe. Cricket Australia was pressured by the Australia PM and the sponsors to conduct an independent investigation into the roles of Steve Smith and David Warner.