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Australian ball tampering scandal: Darren Lehmann knew about ‘techniques’ before

Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann said he was aware of ‘techniques’ being used by his side to gain an advantage over batsmen before his players were caught ball tampering. 

Lehmann told reporters earlier in the four Test series against South Africa that he had ‘no problems’ with methods being used to create reverse swing, which occurs when one side of the ball is more deteriorated than the other.  

Cameron Bancroft was trying to create the effect during the third Test on the weekend when he was caught on camera cheating by rubbing one side of the ball with dirt stuck to yellow tape. 

Weeks earlier, Lehmann seemingly acknowledged he was aware of the underhand tactics being used in the series, which came to light on Saturday and brought Australian cricket to its knees.

Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann (pictured) said he was aware of ‘techniques’ being used by his side to gain an advantage over batsmen before his players were caught ball tampering

Lehmann told reporters earlier in the four Test series against South Africa that he had 'no problems' with methods being used to create reverse swing

Lehmann told reporters earlier in the four Test series against South Africa that he had ‘no problems’ with methods being used to create reverse swing

Cameron Bancroft was trying to create the effect during the third Test on the weekend when he was caught on camera cheating by rubbing one side of the ball with dirt stuck to yellow tape (pictured)

Cameron Bancroft was trying to create the effect during the third Test on the weekend when he was caught on camera cheating by rubbing one side of the ball with dirt stuck to yellow tape (pictured)

‘Obviously, there are techniques used by both sides to get the ball to reverse and that’s just the way the game goes – I have no problems with it,’ Lehmann said after the first Test in Durban.

He was then asked by a reporter if he felt the techniques would be considered acceptable by the game’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC). 

‘I don’t know, you would have to ask the umpires and the ICC that one,’ Lehmann replied with a grin. 

An internal investigation by Cricket Australia (CA) found the coach had no knowledge of his players’ plans to cheat, and spared him the axe on Wednesday.

An internal investigation by Cricket Australia (CA) found the coach had no knowledge of his players' plans to cheat, and spared him the axe on Wednesday

An internal investigation by Cricket Australia (CA) found the coach had no knowledge of his players’ plans to cheat, and spared him the axe on Wednesday

Chief executive James Sutherland claimed only three people were aware of the plot; Steve Smith (pictured with Dani Willis), David Warner and Bancroft

David Warner pictured with wife Candice

Chief executive James Sutherland claimed only three people were aware of the plot; Steve Smith (left with Dani Willis), David Warner (right with Candice Warner) and Bancroft

The disgraced trio were sent home, where they were told they will receive 'significant sanctions' (pictured is Cameron Bancroft)

The disgraced trio were sent home, where they were told they will receive ‘significant sanctions’ (pictured is Cameron Bancroft)

Chief executive James Sutherland claimed only three people were aware of the plot; Steve Smith, David Warner and Bancroft.

The disgraced trio were sent home, where they were told they will receive ‘significant sanctions’. 

Sutherland refused to announce what the penalties for the trio will be when he faced the media on Tuesday night local time.

He also refused to utter the words ‘cheat’ or ‘cheated’ when questioned about the players’ conduct. 

Sutherland announced Lehmann would be spared his job, despite TV images of him talking to 12th man Peter Handscomb on a walkie-talkie moments before the latter entered the field of play to talk to Bancroft.

Sutherland (pictured) refused to announce what the penalties for the trio will be when he faced the media on Tuesday night local time

Sutherland (pictured) refused to announce what the penalties for the trio will be when he faced the media on Tuesday night local time

Sutherland announced Lehmann (pictured) would be spared his job, despite TV images of him talking to 12th man Peter Handscomb on a walkie-talkie moments before the latter entered the field of play to talk to Bancroft

Sutherland announced Lehmann (pictured) would be spared his job, despite TV images of him talking to 12th man Peter Handscomb on a walkie-talkie moments before the latter entered the field of play to talk to Bancroft

Bancroft then shoved the piece of yellow sticky-tape down the front of his trousers and only produced a glasses cleaner when confronted by umpires.

By the end of the day, he was sitting beside Smith as the captain confirmed he cheated under his instructions.

Smith also implicated the so-called ‘leadership group’, which includes bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

Both bowlers were said to be furious at being linked to the scandal and were cleared by the CA investigation.  

Bancroft then shoved the piece of yellow sticky-tape down the front of his trousers and only produced a glasses cleaner when confronted by umpires

Bancroft then shoved the piece of yellow sticky-tape down the front of his trousers and only produced a glasses cleaner when confronted by umpires

By the end of the day, he was sitting beside Smith (right) as the captain confirmed he cheated under his instructions

By the end of the day, he was sitting beside Smith (right) as the captain confirmed he cheated under his instructions

HOW THE CHEATING SCANDAL UNFOLDED 

The ball-tampering incident took place during the Saturday afternoon session in Cape Town and was picked up by TV cameras.

A small, yellow object was seen in batsman Cameron Bancroft’s hands after he had worked on the ball, the opener later revealing it to be a piece of tape covered in dirt.

He was later captured taking it from his pocket and placing it down his trousers, a few moments after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come onto the field after speaking to coach Darren Lehmann via walkie-talkie.

Although the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong of England, questioned Bancroft at the time, he produced what appeared to be a black sunglasses bag from his right pocket in way of explanation, in a bid to deceive the officials.

‘Once I was sighted on the big screens I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers,’ said Bancroft.

No action was taken at the time — the umpires could have changed the ball or docked Australia runs — but match officials, including referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, were able to review TV footage of the incident.

But after the day’s play, captain Steve Smith and Bancroft admitted the ball-tampering in a press conference.

Bancroft revealed: ‘We had a discussion during the (lunch) break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition — it didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball.’ 

Smith continued: ‘It was a poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this.

‘We saw this game as such an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions. Deeply regrettable.’ 



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