- Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Dubai
Du Plessis pleads guilty & fined for ball tampering
South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis has pleaded guilty to the charge of ball tampering and been fined 50% of his match fee. The match referee David Boon said that du Plessis' actions warranted the charge being brought against him, but also said that he was satisfied that it "was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball."
"I am satisfied that the player's actions warranted the umpires applying clause 42.1.1 of the ICC Test Match Playing Conditions, including the laying of a charge under the ICC Code of Conduct against Mr du Plessis in respect of changing the condition of the ball," Boon said. "After discussions with Mr du Plessis, he has elected not to contest that charge, but I am also satisfied that this was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball, and that the imposition of a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee is appropriate considering the circumstances."
The incident occurred two overs after tea on the third day, before the start of the 31st over, following television visuals of du Plessis rubbing the ball near the zipper of his trouser pocket. The TV umpire brought it to the attention of the on-field umpires Ian Gould and Rod Tucker, who called Graeme Smith over for a chat and subsequently changed the ball and awarded a five-run penalty against South Africa, sanctions that are consistent with the penalty for unlawfully changing the condition of the ball.
Du Plessis was charged with an article 2.2.9 offence of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to "changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket, as modified by ICC Standard Test Match, ODI and Twenty20 International Match Playing Conditions clause 42.1".
Some South African players - JP Duminy after play on day two and Vernon Philander before play on day three - had said they thought there was nothing amiss with the condition of the ball when it was changed. AB de Villiers, during the press conference on Friday, vehemently defended his side, saying they "are not a team that scratches the ball".