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Cricket Australia boss heads to South Africa for ball-tampering crisis talks

The embattled Australia squad are preparing for the final Test against South Africa.

Cricket Australia’s chief executive is due to arrive in Johannesburg for crisis talks as the row over ball-tampering continues.

James Sutherland is to meet up with CA’s head of integrity Iain Roy to discuss Cameron Bancroft’s attempt to manipulate the ball with sticky tape during the third Test against South Africa.

Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull labelled the incident a “shocking affront” to the country, adding: “This cheating is… it is a disgrace. We all know that, it is a terrible disgrace.”

Captain Steve Smith has admitted he oversaw a plot to change the condition of the ball during the third Test loss and has been removed as captain of the side and the Rajasthan Royals, while the Daily Telegraph has reported head coach Darren Lehmann will offer his resignation.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has said it was “inconceivable” that Lehmann did not know of the plot.

He told Sky Sports: “It doesn’t look good on Lehmann either way, really. If he did know then he’s in a whole heap of trouble and will not be able to hold his job down if he is condoning cheating and (the) scratching of a cricket ball.

“If he didn’t know, then questions will be asked as to why senior players are going round not telling the coach exactly what is going on.

In the dressing rooms I’ve played in, it is inconceivable that the coach wouldn’t know something like this was being dreamt up. Nasser Hussain

“In the dressing rooms I’ve played in, it is inconceivable that the coach wouldn’t know something like this was being dreamt up.”

Smith has already been banned from the fourth Test, which begins on Friday, by the International Cricket Council after admitting trying to change the condition of the ball.

The scandal came to light on Saturday after Bancroft was caught on camera hiding sticky tape, which he had used to manipulate the ball with debris from the pitch, down his trousers.

Speaking on Tuesday, Turnbull said: “They (CA) now have to make sure that this great, national game, this great international game that is synonymous with fair play, is once again a game that is played by champions, that everybody can look up to.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull was shocked by events in Cape Town

“Cricket Australia is dealing with it, they have to investigate it and they have to act, continue to act decisively and emphatically.

“We want to get to the point where we can all say once again, not rhetorically but heartfelt and with sincerity, that cricket is a fair game, cricket is a game that is synonymous with a fair go and fair play, that is what has to happen.”

CA chairman David Peever said it hopes to update fans with its findings on Wednesday morning Australian time, Tuesday evening in South Africa and the UK.

Meanwhile, Queensland opener Matt Renshaw has been called up to join the Australia squad in South Africa ahead of the fourth Test. The 21-year-old left-hander will fly to Johannesburg later on Tuesday.

Press Association

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