Faf du Plessis: South Africa captain's ball-tampering appeal disappoints ICC

Faf du Plessis (right) chats to bowler Kagiso Rabada during the third Test against Australia
Du Plessis (right) chats to bowler Kagiso Rabada during the third Test against Australia

The International Cricket Council (ICC) says it is "disappointed" South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has appealed against his fine for ball-tampering.

Television footage appeared to show the 32-year-old licking a finger and shining the ball while eating a sweet in the second Test against Australia.

Du Plessis pleaded not guilty to the charge and denied wrongdoing, claiming he had been made a "scapegoat".

A judicial commissioner will hear the appeal "at the earliest opportunity".

The ICC was unwilling to comment fully until the case has been heard, but it was keen to "clarify the laws of cricket".

"These state a player should not use artificial substances to shine the ball. The ICC understands that to include, but is not limited to, sunscreen, lip ice and residue from sweets.

"Any deliberate attempt to apply such substances to the ball, as was the case here, will not be acceptable.

"Following the appeal we will review the matter along with our members and the MCC to see if there are any learnings to be taken from this issue."

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Ball tampering rules a 'grey area' - Woakes

'Do we walk around with our mouths open?'

Australia captain Steve Smith told Cricket Australia his side "along with every other team around the world, shine the ball the same way".

England bowler Chris Woakes gave a similar point of view and his captain Alastair Cook believes this issue need clarifying.

"A lot of people have sweets in their mouth when they are shining the ball," said Cook. "I think the grey area has been - and I haven't seen the Faf thing closely enough - whether he took the saliva off the sweet and straight onto the ball.

"But there needs to be a big clarification from the ICC over what is and what is not acceptable. I chew gum - is that wrong? It's a bit of a grey area.

"How do you police it - the umpires already have enough to do. Do we walk round with our mouths open like we are going to the dentist?"

In 2013, Du Plessis was fined 50% of his match fee for ball tampering in the second Test against Pakistan.

He was caught on camera rubbing the ball against a zip on his pocket on the third day of the match in Dubai, leading umpires to penalise South Africa five runs and change the ball.

On that occasion, he did not contest the charge.

Khawaja stars as Australia gain lead

Usman Khawaja
Khawaja scored Australia's first century of the series against South Africa with his effort at the Adelaide Oval

Meanwhile, Australia batsman Usman Khawaja reached 138 not out as he helped his side to 307-6 on the second day of the third Test against South Africa.

Skipper Steve Smith (59) and debutant Peter Handscomb (54) scored half centuries as Australia, who are 2-0 down in the three-match series, established a 48-run lead, with the tourists having declared on 259-9 in their first innings.

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