If Smith goes for good, his replacements also have their hands in the sewer.

Steps are moving in a logical direction within the Australian cricket team. Steve Smith has been stood down as captain for the rest of the Cape Town test late last night and David Warner from the vice-captaincy.

It is the first step towards a logical course of action: either Smith resigns long term, or he is ditched by Cricket Australia. In that case, the question becomes: Who replaces Steve Smith? It will be wicketkeeper Tim Paine for the rest of this test, but then what?

The leadership group, who all joined in the plot to tamper with the ball at Cape Town on Saturday, desperate to help their side fight back into the third test against South Africa, would be the next obvious candidates.

But they can hardly be appointed after having their hands in the sewer together with their skipper.


So if you take out that mob out - still not identified by name - as contenders who next?

Slim pickings in the current squad. But that's jumping ahead of the game, which set off at a cracking pace yesterday and has the potential to run hard all this week, and possibly into the distance as well.

Across the Tasman this is being called Australia's biggest cricket crisis since World Series Cricket revolution set up by business mogul Kerry Packer in 1977.

The underarm ball at Melbourne in 1980-81? Forget it. That was, remember, unpalatable but legal.

The ramifications could be long and painful.

Australia's approach to the game is not to all tastes.

Australian captain Steve Smith has admitted ball tampering. Photo / Getty Images
Australian captain Steve Smith has admitted ball tampering. Photo / Getty Images

But playing hard and aggressively, of which they are relentlessly proud - but not crossing that flimsy line players frequently talk about without ever fully explaining what they mean - is one thing.

This was straight out, and admitted, cheating. Even the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, doing what politicians are wont to do, joined in and grabbed a headline out of it yesterday.


Former captain Michael Clarke did likewise advising the world he would be available to take back the captaincy if asked, which is big of him.

The outcry has been swift and furious.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, sounding shaken yesterday, was "extremely disappointed and shocked". He could scarcely be anything else.

And this from senior cricket writer at the Brisbane Courier Mail Robert Craddock, who has covered the Australian team for 30 years: "Don't think for minute this was an isolated moment of madness ... it was a team with grubby standards finally descending into a world which was never far away. The coaches knew nothing? Really? What are they coaching for?"

What on earth was Smith thinking?

There are cameras everywhere these days. Cameron Bancroft, who has played eight tests, evidently volunteered to use the sticky tape to try to rough up the ball, and because he's a lower profile figure the cameras were less likely to be on him than, say, David Warner. How naive can you get.


Bancroft - who jumped ahead of Diaz in the list of most searched Camerons on Google yesterday - insisted he was not pressured into playing his part with the sticky tape and the ball. Currying favour with his seniors perhaps?

Smith's attitude at the end-of-day press conference was instructive. No he wouldn't be resigning, didn't see why he should and still felt he was the best man for the job.

He clearly didn't get it, had no comprehension of the ramifications of what he had overseen.

And in that, Smith simply showed he is precisely the wrong type of person to be in charge.

The series is 1-1 and Australia were going down the tubes in game three. Sounds like a pretty good reason to toss the game in the toilet.