Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins laughed off an incident captured on television which appeared to show him stopping the ball with the spikes of his shoes during the third Test against South Africa on Thursday.
The said incident took place during the 53rd over of South African innings with the hosts comfortably moving ahead 174/2 with Dean Elgar inching towards his century and AB de Villiers on 42. The partnership took the match away from the Aussies as the Proteas were on the front foot. When Elgar played the ball back towards Cummins, the bowler stuck his boot out to stop the ball and his spikes remained on the ball for a few extra seconds before the Cummins walked back. The incident, at the time did not get noticed in a big way except for former SA captain Graeme Smith saying that Cummins had stepped on the ball “accidentally on purpose”.
The on-field umpires inspected the ball and allowed play to continue with it.
Though there was no official reference to the incident in terms of calling it “ball-tampering”, the Australian was asked about it in the press conference after the end of play.
#SAvAUS Pat Cummins could be in trouble here. Stands on the ball "accidentally on purpose" as @GraemeSmith49 points out pic.twitter.com/FDLa6joXG8— Michael Sherman (@Golfhackno1) March 22, 2018
#SAvAUS Pat Cummins could be in trouble here. Stands on the ball "accidentally on purpose" as @GraemeSmith49 points out pic.twitter.com/FDLa6joXG8
“It was a mistake,” said Cummins. “I looked straight back and the umpire (Richard Illingworth) started to giggle. It was very unintentional.”
Cummins finished the first day with 4-64 as the home side reached 266 for eight at stumps.
The ongoing series has been dogged by controversy with Australia's David Warner and South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock squaring up in the first match.
Then, in the second Test at Port Elizabeth, Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada was banned for shoulder-charging Australian skipper Steve Smith.
Rabada appealed the decision and has been allowed to play at Cape Town.
(With various inputs)