Steve Smith backs rival skipper Faf du Plessis on ball tampering issue
Australia captain Steve Smith defends Faf du Plessis over ball-tampering sanction while admitting his team shine the ball 'the same way' as the SA skipper did during Hobart Test
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis sips a drink as he attends a press conference ahead of the third and final Test against Australia in Adelaide yesterday. Pic/AFP
Adelaide: Australia captain Steve Smith has admitted his team shines the ball "the same way" as South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis, who has been found guilty of ball-tampering. The 32-year-old was sanctioned by the International Cricket Council on Tuesday after an incident in his side's win over Australia in the second Test at Hobart last week, where television footage appeared to show him ''applying saliva and residue from a mint or sweet, an artificial substance, to the ball in an attempt to change its condition''.
'All teams do it'
But Smith, quoted on Cricket Australia's website, said yesterday: "Every team around the world shines the cricket ball." Both captains have pointed out that the ball-tampering allegation did not come from the Australia team. Du Plessis escaped a ban, instead receiving a fine for 100 per cent of his match fee, and will lead the Proteas in the third Test in Adelaide from today, where his team are chasing a 3-0 series whitewash.
Australia captain Steve Smith
Faf unhappy with fine
However, he remains irked by the ICC's decision, which was delivered by match referee Andy Pycroft. "I still completely disagree with that,'' he earlier said. ''I feel like I've done nothing wrong. It's not like I was trying to cheat or anything."
He continued: "The Aussies won't talk about it at all because they know it's part of their team as well. "(The controversy) has not been driven by the (Australia) cricketers at all. There's been no comment whatsoever from them, in fact it's all been positive comments."
Smith backed up Du Plessis' stance, saying: "I have seen Faf's comments in his press conference. And I make it very clear that we haven't come out and said anything about Faf or about how he was shining the ball or anything like that. We along with every other team around the world shine the ball the same way." Du Plessis called for the sport's law-makers to clarify a problematic "grey area" or face dealing with a "can of worms" in the future.
Adelaide: Skipper Steve Smith insisted he was excited rather than daunted as a drastically reshaped Australia look to avoid their first ever home Test series whitewash against rampant South Africa.
Australia's cull after two Test thrashings has extended to five changes to the starting team for the day-night third Test in Adelaide, including three debutants.
But Smith was upbeat about the changes, which includes English-born opener Matt Renshaw. "I'm really excited. I think it's a great opportunity for me to stamp my authority on this team as the leader," said Smith yesterday.
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