LONDON • The International Cricket Council (ICC) took decisive action yesterday, suspending Steve Smith for the fourth Test in Johannesburg and fining him his entire match fee after the Australia captain admitted his team deliberately tampered with the ball against South Africa on Saturday.
Smith was charged by David Richardson, the head of the sport's governing body, for "conduct contrary to the spirit of the game".
He has also been stood down as Australia captain for the remainder of the third Test against South Africa, Cricket Australia announced yesterday.
"This Test match needs to proceed and, in the interim, we will continue to investigate this matter with the urgency that it demands," Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said.
"As I said earlier today, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country and, on this occasion, these standards have not been met... we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of priority."
Vice-captain David Warner was also stood down with wicket-keeper Tim Paine standing in as captain for the remainder of the third Test in Cape Town and mostly likely now the fourth.
ADMISSION OF GUILT
We spoke about it and thought it was a possible way to get an advantage.
STEVE SMITH, suspended Australian captain, on what led to the ball tampering.
In a stunning press conference on Saturday, Smith admitted to overseeing ball tampering after opener Cameron Bancroft, who also fined 75 per cent of his match fee by the ICC, was caught on camera applying a piece of tape to the ball in an attempt to scuff it.
The incident and Smith's subsequent admission have led to calls for his immediate sacking.
Paine led out the Australian team on the fourth day of play yesterday to muted boos as South African fans, TV pundits and opponents made their feelings known in no uncertain terms.
England pace bowler Stuart Broad branded the Australians as "hypocrites" and called the scandal "a shame", while former Australia captain Allan Border said on SuperSport TV that he was "angry and embarrassed".
Australian leg-spinning great Shane Warne added he was "disappointed" with Smith.
Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock was adamant Australia had "been shown to cheat".
Ex-Australia wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist called the side the "laughing stock" of cricket and questioned Smith's long-term future for bringing the game into disrepute.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell took it further in his column for Sydney's Daily Telegraph yesterday, querying whether "entitlement", despite having "such a strong bowling attack" enticed the team to cheat and labelled the fiasco as "a dark day in Australian cricket".
Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also weighed in, saying Smith's behaviour was "beyond belief" and that "decisive action" had to be taken.
The series, tied at 1-1 after two Tests, has been marked by rancour.
On the fourth day of the first Test, Warner had to be restrained after trying to confront Quinton de Kock at the tea interval.
He had been sledging the South African, who responded in kind and Warner is understood to have objected to de Kock's remarks about his wife Candice.
Australia coach Darren Lehman confirmed on Friday that the team had lodged an official complaint about the "disgraceful" abuse from South African fans.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON