South Africa pledge not to taunt Australia over tampering
South Africa promised not to wind up Australia over ball-tampering Sunday when they meet for the first time since this year´s ill-fated Test series, when a cheating scandal plunged Australian cricket into disgrace.
The three-game, one-day series is a chance for Australia to move on from a miserable eight months, which began with the tampering row and continued with some grim results on the road. Australia lost the Test series to South Africa and another against Pakistan, and crashed badly in a one-day series to England.
They returned home to a scathing independent review this week that slammed Cricket Australia for creating an "arrogant" and "controlling" atmosphere that fostered a win-at-all-costs attitude. South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who played in the "sandpaper-gate" Test that culminated in lengthy bans for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, insisted his team won´t dredge up the past.
"I don´t think us as a team would go there," Faf du Plessis told reporters. "It´s got nothing to do with the cricket -- it´s in the past. For us, it´s business as usual."
South African fans laid into the Australians during the Test series, holding up signs mocking the team. One young supporter reportedly tried to get bowler Nathan Lyon to autograph a piece of sandpaper.
When South Africa toured Australia in 2016, Faf du Plessis was fined for ball-tampering after he sucked on a mint and then shined the ball. He disputed the finding.
The Proteas have brought virtually their strongest team to Australia for the one-dayers in Perth, Adelaide and Hobart, and a single Twenty20 clash on the Gold Coast.
While missing Hashim Amla (finger) and JP Duminy (shoulder) for the tour, fast bowler Dale Steyn is back and joins Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir in a formidable attack.
All-rounder Chris Morris also returns after recovering from a lower back injury, although South Africa´s tour didn´t start well with a four-wicket loss to a young Prime Minister´s XI in Canberra on Wednesday.
After recent failures, Australia have dumped Tim Paine as one-day captain, with explosive batsman Aaron Finch assuming the role.