Smith and Warner stand down
AUSTRALIAN captain Steve Smith has fallen on his sword and sensationally stood down from his position just before play was set to begin in South Africa amid a growing frenzy of calls for him to be sacked as cheating admissions rocked cricket.
Smith and vice-captain Dave Warner made the decision to stand down after a fiery Sunday of condemnation and conversations with Cricket Australia senior officials.
And both could be dumped full-time as soon as Tuesday after CA launched an investigation in the ball-tampering incident which even rocked the Prime Minister.
Having failed to talk to Smith in the immediate aftermath of the revelations, CA boss James Sutherland reached out to the captain late Sunday afternoon and it was decided both he and Warner should stand down in the interests of the game.
"Following discussions with Steve Smith and David Warner they have agreed to stand down as captain and vice-captain respectively for the remainder of this Test match," Sutherland said in a statement.
"This Test match needs to proceed, and in the interim we will continue to investigate this matter with the urgency that it demands.
"As I said earlier today, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met.
"All Australians, like us, want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of priority."
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine was elevated to the top job while Smith and Warner were forced to take the field in Cape Town and play out the third Test.
Sutherland had earlier confirmed CA's head of integrity would fly to South Africa to investigate the cheating scandal after Smith admitted he had authorised Cameron Bancroft using tape to interfere with the ball in a bid to create reverse swing, was determined.
"I have very strong and clear views about the responsibility of the Australian cricket team to play the game in the right spirit," Sutherland said.
"I don't think anyone will be any under illusions there within the team as to what I think about this."