CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Arriving and departing to boos from the crowd, Australia's cricketers endured further humiliation on Sunday when they were bowled out for 107 to lose to South Africa by 322 runs in the third test after admitting to cheating a day earlier.
Australia was removed in less than 40 overs in its second innings on Day 4 at Newlands in Cape Town, failing to offer any pride-restoring resistance and finishing way off the winning target of 430.
After reaching 57-0, Australia lost all 10 wickets in a session after that for just 50 more runs, an embarrassing collapse that underlined the shattered morale of the team.
It followed captain Steve Smith's confession a day earlier that he led a plot to cheat by tampering with the ball in an attempt to get back into the match.
"It was extremely difficult (to focus on the cricket)," said stand-in captain Tim Paine. The wicketkeeper was asked to captain the team on the morning of the final day after Smith and vice-captain David Warner stepped down from their leadership roles as their part in the tampering scandal is fully investigated by Cricket Australia.
"That's certainly no excuse for what you saw in the last 45 minutes. We're still the Australian cricket team," Paine said.
Smith and Warner did play on Sunday, but had no leadership responsibilities.
Warner top-scored for the Aussies with 32 and fellow opener Cameron Bancroft — the man tasked to do the on-field ball tampering — made 26 in an opening partnership of 57. They were both booed as they arrived and then trudged off the field, as was Smith, who made just 7.
Only three Australians, Warner, Bancroft and Mitchell Marsh, reached double figures in the team's second-heaviest defeat by runs in South Africa, and the heaviest in nearly 50 years.
"Unfortunately we fell apart in a really ordinary manner which has unfortunately only added and rubbed salt in the wounds of what has been a really horrible 24 hours for us," Paine said.
Away from the reputational damage suffered by Australia from its ball tampering on Day 3, it now trails 2-1 in the series with one test to go. Smith is banned by the International Cricket Council for that last test because of his leading role in hatching the plan to cheat in Cape Town, and the participation of Warner and Bancroft is in doubt while the Australian investigation gets underway.
Paine said that the final test would now give new players a chance to play — hinting with that at significant changes to the Australia team — and also give them a chance to mend the broken trust with the Australian public.
But Australia's proud record of having never lost a series in South Africa since 1970 is also seriously under threat in Johannesburg next week.
South Africa's players had been told to maintain their focus on winning the test amid separate investigations by the International Cricket Council and Cricket Australia into the ball tampering which was planned, carried out and then botched by senior Australian players and Bancroft.
South Africa set Australia a huge task to win by making 373 in the second innings and then cutting through the Australian batsmen mercilessly.
"What we were trying to do today is make them aware that there is a lot of pressure on them," said South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.
South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel took 5-23 in Australia's second innings and nine wickets in the match in what is his last series in international cricket.