Editorial | Comeuppance for Aussie cheaters

It was no secret that this Australian team were probably the most disliked bunch in world cricket ahead of #sandpapergate.

So it will come as no surprise then that there were very few tears shed as Steve Smith’s crew of cheaters were exposed for all the world to see at the weekend.

For the duration of Australia’s tour they have taken the moral high ground.

According to them, none of the controversy in this series leading up to 2.42pm on a gloomy Saturday in Cape Town was their fault.

It was okay for them to sledge, scream and send-off, but just dare anybody come back at them . . .

Then there were the tedious lectures from coach Darren Lehmann about how South African crowds should behave.

But the irony was not lost on anyone. “Boof” had clearly been wearing blinkers and ear-muffs while watching test cricket back home as his own countrymen abused and threw the odd grilled fowl at opposition players.

To top it all, Lehmann himself rallied Aussie crowds to abuse England’s Stuart Board during an Ashes series four years ago. This vintage of Australian side have this “line” only they seem to grasp the dimensions of and now, as Cricinfo’s Dan Brettig wrote this weekend, this “line” they preach of has become their noose.

Never before has an Aussie side appeared to be so distracted from the actual cricket. A fish rots from the head and Smith would have done better to rein in his troops and refocus on winning the series rather than tripping head first over his “line”.

Instead, he chaired a meeting of the team’s “leadership group” and contrived to blatantly cheat by altering the condition of the ball.

Not satisfied with that, they pressurised the most junior player in the team to perform the dirty deed for them.

The unsavoury plan brought back memories of Hansie Cronje enlisting a young Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams into the world of spot-fixing.

Australia arrived in this country with a massive reputation with Smith being the world’s No 1 batsman.

He may still hold that mantle but his fall from grace as a leader has been astounding.