#ThisDayThatYear: When the sandpaper saga rattled Australian cricket
On March 24, 2018, the cricket fraternity was jolted, owing to the infamous ball-tampering controversy. Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught on cameras, having rubbed the ball with sandpaper in order to rough up one side. In the aftermath, Bancroft, along with skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner faced heavy suspensions. Let us have a look at how the entire incident folded.
Bancroft used sandpaper to rub the ball
Batting first, South Africa posted 311, riding on Dean Elgar's 141-run knock. In reply, Australia were bundled out on 255. Having gained a lead of 56 runs, the Proteas looked solid on 129/2 when Bancroft took out a paper-like substance from his pocket and rubbed the ball with it. The intention was to garner reverse swing, which could have benefited the Australians.
The trio was banned from international cricket
Bancroft, Smith and Warner were penalized by the Cricket Australia after the trio admitted to charges. Skipper Steve Smith revealed that the leadership group knew about the matter beforehand. While Smith and Warner were slapped with a one-year international ban, Bancroft was suspended for nine months. In addition to it, Smith was barred from captaincy for two years and Warner for lifetime.
Smith and Warner also gave up their IPL contracts
Shortly after the fiasco, both Steve Smith and David Warner stepped down as captain of their respective IPL franchises - Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Australian head coach Daren Lehman also announced resignation even after he was cleared by Cricket Australia. The 48-year-old earlier revealed that he was unaware of ball-tampering. The fourth Test at the Wanderers was his last, in charge.
Tim Paine was named captain of Australia
Following the whole episode, Tim Paine took over as captain of the Australian side. The initial road was strenuous for the Men in Yellow, who were devoid of their core. Their lowest point was a 0-5 series defeat to England in the ODI series. The clean up was followed by a cruising defeat to India in the home Test series.
Both Smith and Warner were off to a flier
Australia redeemed big-time with Smith and Warner returning to the side in 2019. Warner scored 647 runs to finish as the second-highest run-scorer in the 2019 World Cup. He scored a T20I ton against Sri Lanka and followed it up with a triple century against Pakistan in Adelaide Test. Meanwhile, Smith amassed a mind-boggling 774 runs in seven Ashes innings at 110.57.