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Desperation may have influenced Australia's ball-tampering decision - Gibson

South Africa coach Ottis Gibson says Australia's desperation to turn the third Test around may have influenced their ball-tampering plan.

NEWS
27 Mar 2018, 15:48 IST
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stevesmith - cropped
Australia's Steve Smith

Australia's desire to "win at all costs" may have led to Steve Smith and his leadership group devising a plan to tamper with the ball in the third Test, says South Africa coach Ottis Gibson.

Cameron Bancroft admitted an attempt to alter the condition of the ball by collecting dirt from the Newlands pitch with some tape, an action Smith confirmed he was aware of.

Smith was handed a one-match ban and docked his match fee for that admission, while Bancroft received three demerit points as well as a fine.

Both Smith and David Warner were stood down from their roles as captain and vice-captain for the remainder of the Cape Town Test – Australia collapsing on Sunday to lose by 322 runs.

The fallout from the scandal has seen Cricket Australia launch an investigation into the incident, with Smith, Warner and coach Darren Lehmann expected to face further action.

Australia have come in for heavy criticism across the cricketing fraternity, and Gibson has added to that by suggesting their hunger for success led to them crossing the line.

"The Aussies have said it themselves, the brand of cricket they play is win at all costs," Gibson told a media conference.

"When you look at the Ashes, they were never really behind in any of the games, they won quite comfortably.

"Here, they have been behind a couple of times and perhaps that desperation came into it. It's a shame that something like this had to happen for them to have to have a look at themselves.

"Every team, since the beginning of reverse swing, tries to get the ball to reverse. They skim it in, they bounce it in, they try and get it rough. The spinner gets his hand in the dirt and rubs it on the ball. Everybody has got a way of getting the ball to go a little bit further.

"The ball will reverse naturally, but everybody has a way of getting it to go a little bit further. Perhaps the desperation that they were behind in the game meant they took it that step further. It's unfortunate."

Gibson says Smith's admission of being party to the plan makes this scandal worse than previous ball-tampering cases.

The coach added: "I have been surprised at how big it has become but at the end of the day when you see such a deliberate act like you saw on TV then people will become very interested in it, and especially the way that it was planned it seems.

"From what Steve Smith said it was planned by a few of them, obviously then that makes it a bigger topic for people to talk about."

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