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Ball-tampering row: Smith, Warner, Bancroft sacked, coach Lehmann gets clean chit

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been suspended by Cricket Australia for their involvement in the ball-tampering row during the third Test at Cape Town. Darren Lehmann will continue as head coach of Australia.

The trio has been suspended for the fourth Test and will fly back to Australia from Johannesburg soon. They have been found guilty of breaching article 2.3.5 of Cricket Australia's Code of Conduct.

Sutherland also announced that Tim Paine will lead the side for the fourth Test and Glenn Maxwell, Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw will join the squad ahead of the fourth and final Test at the New Wanderers Stadium.

(Ball-tampering row: Why Starc, Lyon distanced themselves from Steve Smith's leadership group)

Sutherland also handed a clean chit to Lehmann. He also went on to add that the Cricket Australia will look into the matter further and sanctions for the three guilty players will be announced over the next 24 hours.

"CA will review the conduct and culture of the national teams. Focus on re-engaging with the cricket public to regain respect."

"In the next 24 hours we will be in a position to announce sanctions."

(Ball-tampering row: Smith and Warner stare at bans, likely to miss IPL 2018)

Preliminary investigations by CA revealed only 3 players -- Smith, Warner and Bancroft -- were involved in the ploy.

"Steve Smith is distraught," Sutherland said at the press-conference.

"Clearly we are not at all comfortable with what has taken place. Sanctions will be issued tomorrow and they will be significant," he added.

(Ball-tampering: Did South Africa players tip off broadcasters to catch Australia red-handed?)

Following the end of the Test that Australia lost by 322 runs, an investigation group flew to South Africa to enquire the people involved in the whole row. Sutherland also flew to Johannesburg on Sunday and was a part of the discussions and enquire the players further.

(Steve Smith, David Warner step down as Australia's captain and vice-captain)

He apologised to the fans again and said that this is a bad situation for Australian cricket.

"This is a reminder to us of how Australia cricket fans want their cricket players to behave. They want to be proud. This situation is extraordinarily bad for Australian cricket," he said.

(Australia ball-tampering scandal: How Steve Smith & Co. planned the coup)

They players will be kicking themselves for their 'stupidity' as many former players pointed out as this is definitely not the first time ball-tampering was being done but the way it was planned and carried out openly was strictly criticised.

Young opener Bancroft was caught scuffing the ball with what appeared to be yellow tape during the third day of the Cape Town Test, which led to the sensational revelation from the Aussie skipper.

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