The South African cricket team, standard-bearers for world Test cricket, were embroiled in controversy on Friday after being penalised for ball-tampering, per Cricinfo.
Graeme Smith’s side are midway through the second Test against Pakistan, being played in Dubai.
They led by a huge margin against their hosts after Pakistan were bowled out for 99 in the first innings. South Africa responded by posting 517, making victory something of a formality.
However, controversy struck during the 31st over of Pakistan’s seconds innings, as reported by Cricinfo.
Smith was spoken to by umpires Ian Gould and Rod Tucker before a new ball was selected to replace the one deemed to have been tampered with.
South Africa were penalised five runs and now must await the fallout, which is sure to engulf the remainder of the two-Test series.
Footage of the moment that potentially caught the attention of the umpires has been published online.
On the face of it, South Africa have absolutely no need to be attempting to gain an advantage by disturbing the condition of the ball.
They have dominated Pakistan’s batsmen throughout the Test match and have already removed four wickets during the hosts’ second innings.
However, if the South Africans are proven to be guilty of the accusation, which comes under law 42.1 for the unlawful changing of the condition of the ball—per Cricinfo—questions will inevitably be raised as to whether this also took place in the first innings.
Smith made a majestic 234 in South Africa’s innings to remind the world of his ample batting talent, but it now appears this Test will be remembered for an altogether more unsavoury reason.