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South Africa dominating Australia amid ball-tampering scandal

South Africa was 333-7 in its second innings at lunch, a lead of 389 and poised for a big win and a 2-1 series lead.

Published: 25th March 2018 04:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2018 04:53 PM   |  A+A-

Quinton De Kock of South Africa, left, in action on the fourth day of the third cricket test between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Stadium, in Cape Town. | AP

Quinton De Kock of South Africa, left, in action on the fourth day of the third cricket test between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Stadium, in Cape Town. | AP

By Associated Press

CAPE TOWN: South Africa took its lead in the third test to nearly 400 runs over an Australia team burdened by a ball-tampering scandal that appeared to have completely deflated the tourists.

South Africa's Quinton de Kock made 65 on Day 4 on Sunday to go with half-centuries by Aiden Markram (84) and AB de Villiers (63) as the home team pressed on ruthlessly in pursuit of victory.

South Africa was 333-7 in its second innings at lunch, a lead of 389 and poised for a big win and a 2-1 series lead.

The Australia team started the day by announcing that captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner had stood down from their positions for the rest of this game over the ball tampering. They still took their places on the field, but wicketkeeper Tim Paine was made stand-in captain.

"This test match needs to proceed, and in the interim we will continue to investigate this (ball tampering) matter with the urgency that it demands," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said.

Smith admitted on Saturday that senior players in his team, himself included, hatched a plan to cheat by tampering with the ball on Day 3 of the test at Newlands in an attempt to get back into the match.

Smith didn't name the other senior player or players involved, but the announcement before play on Sunday appeared to indicate Warner had knowledge of the plan alongside Smith.

The plot was exposed when Cameron Bancroft, the young player chosen to carry out the tampering, was caught on TV tampering with the ball with a piece of yellow adhesive tape, then trying to hide the evidence down his trousers when umpires became suspicious.

South Africa was doing its best to ignore the unfolding ball-tampering scandal and concentrate on winning the game, team manager Mohammed Moosajee said.

"We've had (South Africa coach) Ottis Gibson address the boys this morning and the focus is very much to apply relentless pressure and to be focused on the job at hand," Moosajee said. "From a mental space, they are in a good one."

That was backed up on the field as de Villiers and de Kock put on a 68-run partnership and de Kock and Vernon Philander added another 55 runs to take South Africa to a position of dominance. Philander was 39 not out.

Australia did take two wickets in the day's first session, fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins collecting them, but the celebrations were muted.

Smith spent most of the session standing at his usual fielding position at slip wearing sunglasses. Warner left the field for a period but did return before the lunch break.



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