Australia coach Lehmann to step down after final Test against Proteas

Ball-tampering saga For Steve Smith a career-defining week lies ahead

Earlier on Thursday, Smith and Bancroft both repeated their apologies for their actions, while cricket's worldwide governing body announced a wide-ranging review into the behaviour of players.

A sheepish Bancroft confessed after Saturday's play to using "some yellow tape and granules from the rough patches of the wicket" to try and doctor the ball. There was a failure of leadership, of my leadership.

Smith refused to blame Warner, taking full responsibility for the incident that saw Cameron Bancroft given a nine-month ban for his part.

If part of Lehmann's brief was to improve the Australian team's behaviour, there is little doubt he has failed.

Smith, 28, and Bancroft have also been banned from captaining Australia for at least the next two years, while Warner, 31, will not be considered for any team leadership positions in the future.

"After viewing Steve and Cameron's hurting, it's only fair that I make this decision", the 48-year-old Lehmann, who will quit after the fourth Test, told a media conference.

Bancroft asked for forgiveness on his return to Perth, saying he was ashamed of himself.

"I would like to thank my handsome wife Andrea, my four children and close friends for allowing me to do this job and supporting me 100 per cent every step of the way". It's a stain on the game and the sport we all love and I have loved since I was a boy.

"As you can understand, it has been a tough and emotional time for my wife and the kids", Warner said, in a video shown on Sky Sports News. "I have been speaking to the hierarchy in the last couple of days", the coach said.

"I would say the way we dealt with Philip Hughes's passing", he said. Cricket is my life and I hope it can be again.

Lehmann, who played 27 Tests for Australia, was appointed ahead of the 2013 Ashes series with England, and held onto the job despite Australia's 3-0 defeat.

The Proteas skipper, though, said: "We are not sitting in a glass house thinking that we are better than them".




"I will do everything I can (to make up) for my mistake and the damage it has caused".

The International Cricket Council announced a review into the strength of its own available sanctions, having imposed a one-match ban and 100 per cent match fee fine on Smith.

The Australia coach also moved to stress while the three men involved "must face serious consequences" and had "made a grave mistake", they "are not bad people".

"If any good can come of this, if there can be a lesson to others, then I hope I can be a force for change".

Smith also hoped that he can earn back the respect and trust of the fans with the passage of time.

The banned cricketer cried when asked about how recent events had impacted his mum and dad, before telling gathered journalists the message he would send to children who love the sport. As I have said it before, I had no prior knowledge of the incident. I'm sorry and I'm absolutely devastated.

Bancroft, meanwhile, admitted he felt like he had "let everyone down in Australia". A Cricket Australia spokesman told AFP the players could still play at club level in Australia or in other countries, but English county Somerset have already cut ties with Bancroft for the 2018 season.

Sponsors have fallen too.

Cricket Australia yesterday confirmed his resignation, which had appeared unlikely when it was announced earlier in the week that he would remain in his post under the terms of his contract.

Smith started crying as he took responsibility for the ball-tampering plot in the Cape Town test last weekend and reflected on the effect his involvement in it has had on his parents.

Nearly simultaneously, sporting goods company ASICS announced it was ending its relationship with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, two of the players at the heart of the cheating incident.

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