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

Cricket Australia (CA) chief James Sutherland on Wednesday said coach Darren Lehmann’s angry walkie-talkie exchange with 12th man Peter Handscomb was the crucial evidence that distanced him from the team’s ball-tampering plot.

Television footage of the scandal-hit third Test in Cape Town showed Lehmann relaying a message down to Handscomb after cameras caught Bancroft attempting to alter the ball’s condition with what Australian officials have now said was sandpaper.

"I want to clarify that specific point. He sent a message to say: ‘what the hell is going on’, except he didn’t use the word ‘hell’," Sutherland told reporters at the Australia team hotel in Joburg.

"[CA’s head of integrity] Iain Roy in his investigation found that to be the fact.

"I am satisfied that Darren Lehmann was not involved and didn’t know anything about the plan," Sutherland added.

He said the probe appeared to show it had been an "isolated incident" and had been a one-off, but he added: "If there are any credible allegations or suggestions to the contrary, we have an obligation to investigate them."