Australian cricket team in South Africa in 2017–18

The Australia cricket team toured South Africa between February and April 2018 to play four Test matches.[3][4] It was the first four-Test series between the two teams since South Africa's readmission.[5] Prior to the start of the tour, South African fast-bowler Morné Morkel announced that he would retire from international cricket at the end of the series.[6] During the third Test, Morkel became the fifth bowler for South Africa to take 300 Test wickets.[7]

Australian cricket team in South Africa in 2017–18
  Flag of South Africa.svg Flag of Australia.svg
  South Africa Australia
Dates 22 February – 3 April 2018
Captains Faf du Plessis Steve Smith[n 1][1]
Tim Paine[n 2][2]
Test series
Result South Africa won the 4-match series 3–1
Most runs Aiden Markram (480) Cameron Bancroft (223)
Most wickets Kagiso Rabada (23) Pat Cummins (22)
Player of the series Kagiso Rabada (SA)

The series was known for an Australian ball-tampering scandal, culminating in the bans of three Australian cricketers and the restructure of the Australian cricket governing body. During the third Test, Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft was charged with ball tampering. Captain Steve Smith and Bancroft admitted the ball tampering to match referee Andy Pycroft and the media.[8] Consequently, Smith and vice-captain David Warner stood down from the team leadership, and wicket-keeper Tim Paine was appointed acting captain for the remainder of the match.[9]

On 27 March 2018, Smith, Warner and Bancroft were all suspended by Cricket Australia and sent home, with Paine named as the captain for the fourth and final Test.[10][11] The following day, Cricket Australia banned Smith and Warner for one year, with Bancroft receiving a nine-month ban. Although Warner will not be considered for a leadership position in the future, Smith and Bancroft will not be considered to leadership positions for a minimum of 12 months after the completion of their bans.[12][13] After the three players had returned home, Darren Lehmann, Australia's coach, announced that he would step down from his role after the conclusion of the fourth Test in Johannesburg.[14]

South Africa went on to win the Test series 3–1. It was the first time that South Africa had beaten Australia at home since 1970.[15]


  South Africa[16]   Australia[17]

Jackson Bird was replaced in Australia's squad by Chadd Sayers before the tour began due to injury.[18] South Africa's Kagiso Rabada was given a two-match ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after he made contact with Australia's captain, Steve Smith, during the second Test, initially ruling him out of the rest of the series.[19] On 20 March 2018, Rabada's two-match ban was overturned by the ICC, therefore allowing him to play in the rest of the series.[20] For the last two Tests of the series, Duanne Olivier and Chris Morris were added to South Africa's squad.[21]

Following the suspension of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft after the third Test, Joe Burns, Glenn Maxwell and Matt Renshaw were added to Australia's squad for the fourth Test.[22][23]

Tour matchEdit

Three-day match: South Africa A v AustraliaEdit

22–24 February 2018
220 (58.5 overs)
Theunis de Bruyn 46 (43)
Pat Cummins 4/32 (11 overs)
329 (90.4 overs)
Pat Cummins 59* (95)
Beuran Hendricks 5/83 (24.4 overs)
248 (72.5 overs)
Shaun von Berg 52 (43)
Mitchell Starc 4/46 (15 overs)
140/5 (29.3 overs)
Shaun Marsh 39* (46)
Duanne Olivier 4/74 (12.3 overs)
Australia won by 5 wickets
Willowmoore Park, Benoni
Umpires: Phillip Vosloo (SA) and Johan Cloete (SA)
  • South Africa A won the toss and elected to bat.

Test seriesEdit

1st TestEdit

1–5 March 2018
351 (110.4 overs)
Mitchell Marsh 96 (173)
Keshav Maharaj 5/123 (33.4 overs)
162 (51.4 overs)
AB de Villiers 71* (127)
Mitchell Starc 5/34 (10.4 overs)
227 (74.4 overs)
Cameron Bancroft 53 (83)
Keshav Maharaj 4/102 (29.4 overs)
298 (92.4 overs)
Aiden Markram 143 (218)
Mitchell Starc 4/75 (18 overs)
Australia won by 118 runs
Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SL) and Sundaram Ravi (Ind)
Player of the match: Mitchell Starc (Aus)
  • Australia won the toss and elected to bat.
  • Mitchell Marsh (Aus) scored his 1,000th run in Tests.[24]
  • Aiden Markram's (SA) score of 143 runs was the highest 4th innings score in a losing cause by an opener and also the highest by a South African batsman.[25]

2nd TestEdit

9–13 March 2018[n 3]
243 (71.3 overs)
David Warner 63 (100)
Kagiso Rabada 5/96 (21 overs)
382 (118.4 overs)
AB de Villiers 126* (146)
Pat Cummins 3/79 (24 overs)
239 (79 overs)
Usman Khawaja 75 (136)
Kagiso Rabada 6/54 (22 overs)
102/4 (22.5 overs)
AB de Villiers 28 (26)
Nathan Lyon 2/44 (9 overs)
South Africa won by 6 wickets
St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SL), Chris Gaffaney (NZ) and Sundaram Ravi (Ind)
Player of the match: Kagiso Rabada (SA)
  • Australia won the toss and elected to bat.
  • Sundaram Ravi (Ind) took up the on-field umpiring duties in the absence of Chris Gaffaney from day 2 onwards.[26]
  • Shaun Marsh (Aus) scored his 2,000th run in Tests.[27]

3rd TestEdit

22–26 March 2018[n 3]
311 (97.5 overs)
Dean Elgar 141* (284)
Pat Cummins 4/78 (26 overs)
255 (69.5 overs)
Cameron Bancroft 77 (103)
Morné Morkel 4/87 (21 overs)
373 (112.2 overs)
Aiden Markram 84 (145)
Pat Cummins 3/67 (27 overs)
107 (39.4 overs)
David Warner 32 (67)
Morné Morkel 5/23 (9.4 overs)
South Africa won by 322 runs
Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town
Umpires: Richard Illingworth (Eng) and Nigel Llong (Eng)
Player of the match: Morné Morkel (SA)

Ball tamperingEdit

On the third day of the third Test, Australia's Cameron Bancroft was shown on television coverage, also shown live at the ground, to have tampered with the ball with a small, yellow object. Bancroft later revealed the object to be a short length of yellow adhesive tape to which dirt and grit had adhered, forming an abrasive surface,[34][35] though four days later, Cricket Australia confirmed that the object was actually sandpaper.[36] At the end of the day's play, both Bancroft and captain Steve Smith admitted to ball tampering, with Smith knowing of the plan in advance of Bancroft's actions.[37][8] Andy Pycroft, the match referee, charged Bancroft with a Level 2 offence of attempting to alter the condition of the ball.[37] Smith said it was a "big mistake" but stated he would not be standing down.[8][38]

Smith and vice-captain David Warner subsequently stood aside from leadership roles for the remainder of the Test, with Tim Paine taking over as acting captain.[39][9] The International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Smith for one match, handed him four demerit points and fined him 100% of his match fee.[40] Cameron Bancroft was handed three demerit points and fined 75% of his match fee.[40]

On 27 March 2018, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland announced that as a result of the preliminary investigation Smith, Warner and Bancroft had been charged with bringing the game into disrepute, suspended and sent home. Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell were recalled to the squad for the fourth Test to replace them.[10] On 28 March, Cricket Australia released their findings and the sanctions to be imposed. Smith and Bancroft respectively received 12 and 9 month bans from international and domestic cricket in Australia, and neither would be considered for a leadership role for a further 12 months after that ban finishes. Warner received an identical 12 month ban, and would never be considered again for a leadership position. All three were encouraged to return to club level cricket to reconnect with the general cricket community.[41]

4th TestEdit

30 March – 3 April 2018
488 (136.5 overs)
Aiden Markram 152 (216)
Pat Cummins 5/83 (28.5 overs)
221 (70 overs)
Tim Paine 62 (96)
Vernon Philander 3/30 (18 overs)
344/6d (105 overs)
Faf du Plessis 120 (178)
Pat Cummins 4/58 (18 overs)
119 (46.4 overs)
Joe Burns 42 (80)
Vernon Philander 6/21 (13 overs)
South Africa won by 492 runs
Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Umpires: Ian Gould (Eng) and Nigel Llong (Eng)
Player of the match: Vernon Philander (SA)


  1. ^ Suspended after day three of the Third Test.
  2. ^ a b Captained Australia for day four of the Third Test, and for the Fourth Test.
  3. ^ a b While five days of play were scheduled for each Test, the second and third Tests reached a result within four days.


  1. ^ "Bancroft charged, Smith admits ball tampering ploy". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Australian cricket ball tampering scandal: Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft only players involved, leave for Australia". NZ Herald. 27 March 2018. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Future Tours Programme" (PDF). International Cricket Council. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  4. ^ "CSA announces Zimbabwe and India tour itineraries". Cricket South Africa. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Australia to tour SA for four Tests in 2018". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Morkel to retire from international cricket after Australia series". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Morkel becomes fifth South African to 300 Test wickets". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Cameron Bancroft: Australia player admits to ball-tampering, Steve Smith knew in advance". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Steven Smith and Warner stood down as captain and vice-captain". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Trio suspended by Cricket Australia". Cricket Australia. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Paine named Australia's 46th Test captain". Cricket Australia. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Smith, Warner banned for 12 months by Cricket Australia". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Smith, Warner given 12-month bans – official". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Smith's tears force Lehmann to step down as Australia coach". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  15. ^ "South Africa beat Australia in fourth Test to win series 3-1". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Klaasen, Mulder in Test squad to face Australia". ESPN Cricinfo. 24 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Jhye Richardson in for SA Tests, no room for Maxwell, Sayers". ESPN Cricinfo. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Bird out, Sayers in for South Africa tour". Cricket Australia. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Rabada handed two-Test suspension". ESPN Cricinfo. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Rabada not guilty of Level 2 offence but guilty of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game". International Cricket Council. 20 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Olivier, Morris added to South Africa Test squad". ESPN Cricinfo. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Renshaw added to Australia's Test squad". ESPN Cricinfo. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Renshaw, Maxwell, Burns added to Australia squad for final Test". International Cricket Council. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  24. ^ "South Africa keep Australia down to 225 for five before bad light brings early end to day one". Cricket World. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  25. ^ "South Africa v Australia, 2018: 1st Test, Day 5 – Statistical Highlights". CricTracker. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Sick umpire out of action in second Test". Nine News. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Rabada rips through Aussies". SA Cricket Mag. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  28. ^ "Elgar edges closer to century". SuperSport. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  29. ^ "Elgar joins Haynes in carrying-the-bat honours board". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Steve Smith joins elite club for taking 5 test catches in a single test innings". CricketAustralia. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  31. ^ "Morkel joins '300 club' at Newlands". Sport24. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  32. ^ "Smith, Warner stand down as captain and vice-captain". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Lyon joins elite with 300th Test scalp". Cricket Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  34. ^ "Cameron Bancroft at centre of alleged ball-tampering row". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  35. ^ "Bancroft and Smith answer to ball tampering allegations". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  36. ^ "Sticky truth about sandpaper revelation". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  37. ^ a b "Australia own up to ball tampering". Cricket Australia. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  38. ^ "Desperation drove Australia to cheat - Smith". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  39. ^ Matthey, James; Blair, Alex. "SMITH STANDS DOWN: Australia has a new Test captain". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  40. ^ a b "Steve Smith suspended and Bancroft handed three demerit points". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  41. ^ "Tampering trio learn their fate". Cricket Australia. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  42. ^ "Philander joins '200 club' at Wanderers". Sport24. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  43. ^ "Biggest Test win since 1934". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  44. ^ "Australia slump to 90-year low". Cricket Australia. Retrieved 3 April 2018.

External linksEdit