Picture: REUTERS/Jason Reed
Picture: REUTERS/Jason Reed

Former Proteas fast bowler Fanie de Villiers tipped off the television cameramen to be on the lookout for possible ball tampering in the third Test between SA and Australia at Newlands.

"We actually said to our cameramen: ‘Go out. Have a look, boys. They are using something.’ It’s impossible for the ball to get altered like that on [a] cricket wicket where we knew there is a grass covering on.

"It’s not a Pakistani wicket where there’s [sic] cracks every centimetre‚" De Villiers said in an interview with Australian radio station RSN927.

"They searched for an hour-and-a-half until they saw something and then they started following [Cameron] Bancroft."

De Villiers said he suspected the ball was being tampered with.

"I said earlier on that if they can get reverse swing in the 26th‚ 27th‚ 28th over‚ then they are doing something different from what everyone else does‚" he said.

"With the Australian team getting reverse swing before the 30th over‚ they had to do something. I mean if you take a cricket ball and you scratch it against a normal iron or steel gate or anything with steel on it‚ it reverse swings immediately‚ because of the roughness."

Australian captain Steve Smith admitted on Saturday that he and the rest of what he called Australia’s "leadership group" roped Bancroft into their plan to try to roughen the ball by rubbing it with sticking tape loaded with sand taken from the pitch.

Smith and Bancroft confessed after the latter was caught by television cameras before tea on day three of the third Test at Newlands on Saturday.