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Australians humiliated on-field and off


Australia’s stand-skipper Tim Paine won’t blame the ball-tampering scandal for a humiliating collapse of 10-50, which led to South Africa winning the third Test by a record-breaking 322 runs.

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The Proteas have added indignity to ignominy in Cape Town, setting Australia an imposing target of 430 on day four then claiming 10 wickets in 99 minutes of madness.

South Africa skittled the tourists for 107 to take a 2-1 lead in the four-Test series.

Australia’s latest Newlands nightmare will forever be marred by Steve Smith’s intent to illegally scuff the ball with sticky tape, a ploy Cameron Bancroft acted out on day three.

Smith has copped a one-Test ban from the International Cricket Council but faces further sanction from Cricket Australia who are under immense pressure to sack him as skipper.

Captain Smith and vice-captain David Warner spoke with CA chief executive James Sutherland before the start of play on Sunday and stood down from their leadership posts for the rest of the game.

“It was extremely difficult, that’s no excuse for what you saw in the last 45 minutes,” Paine said, having finished unbeaten on nine then apologised to Australian fans in the post-match ceremony.

“Unfortunately it fell apart in a really ordinary manner, which only rubbed salt into the wounds of what’s been a horrible 24 hours for us.

“We are still the Australian cricket team and we are expected to put up a better effort than what we did.

“No one likes losing and no one likes losing in the circumstances that we have.”

The wicketkeeper is expected to lead the team in the series finale starting in Johannesburg on Friday.

The 33-year-old faces an incredible challenge as he seeks to rally a new-look XI and deny South Africa their first home Test series win over Australia since the fall of apartheid.

Smith is unlikely to be the only enforced omission, depending on the result of CA’s investigation.

“The one positive that may come of it, guys are going to get an opportunity to play for their country,” Paine said.

“We can try to control how we are seen going forward by our Australian public and become the team that we want to become.”

Smith, Warner and Bancroft were all booed to and from the pitch at Newlands.

The openers showed great composure in helping their side reach 0-57 before an unnecessary run out of Bancroft, completed with a direct hit from Proteas captain Faf du Plessis, ignited unmitigated chaos.

The margin was one run short of equalling Australia’s biggest Test loss to South Africa, in terms of runs.

It shattered a 61-year record for the biggest Test victory at Newlands in terms of runs, bettering England’s effort in 1957.

Man of the match Morne Morkel, who finished with career-best match figures of 9-110, and Keshav Maharaj were both on hat-tricks during the carnage.

“Everything happened so quickly,” Morkel said.


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