Du Plessis fined but cleared to face Aussies

ADELAIDE • South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis was found guilty of ball-tampering yesterday but cleared to play in the third cricket Test - a day-night affair starting in Adelaide tomorrow - against Australia, who are fighting to avoid a first home Test series whitewash.

Du Plessis was fined his entire match fee after he was caught on camera sucking a mint and rubbing the ball with his saliva, in an attempt to alter its flight, during last week's second Test in Hobart.

Match referee Andy Pycroft found du Plessis guilty at an International Cricket Council (ICC) hearing in Adelaide which viewed video footage of the incident in Hobart.

"The decision was based on the evidence given from the umpires, who confirmed that had they seen the incident they would have taken action immediately," an ICC statement said. "And from (Marylebone Cricket Club's John) Stephenson, who confirmed the view of MCC that the television footage showed an artificial substance being transferred to the ball."

The row, dubbed "Mintgate", has proved divisive and an Australian TV reporter scuffled with South Africa's team security as he tried to question du Plessis on Monday.

It is the second time the South African has been fined for ball-tampering, after he was docked 50 per cent of his match fee in 2013 in the second Test against Pakistan.

But Pycroft said it was treated as a first offence under the version of the ICC's Code of conduct that came into force in September.

As well as the fine, du Plessis had three demerit points added to his disciplinary record. If he collects another point within 24 months, they will be converted to suspension points and he will be banned.

South Africa lead the series 2-0.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'Du Plessis fined but cleared to face Aussies'. Print Edition | Subscribe