Lewis fined for ball tampering
Victoria's bowling coach Mick Lewis is on his last behavioural warning from the Bushrangers after being fined $2,266 for tampering with the ball on day three of the Sheffield Shield final against South Australia at Glenelg Oval.
In the 10th over of SA's second innings Mark Cosgrove struck a boundary, and a Cricket Australia video camera captured Lewis kicked the match ball into the gutter beyond the boundary rope before he scraped the ball across the concrete when retrieving it.
When the ball was returned to the field after another boundary in the 12th over, it was inspected by the umpires, Paul Wilson and Mick Martell. They decided that the ball's condition had been changed illegally and added five runs to South Australia's second innings score. A substitute ball was then called for. After play Lewis admitted to his offence and the match referee Steve Bernard imposed the fine without needing to hold a code of conduct hearing.
"Ball tampering is a very serious offence and simply won't be tolerated at any level of the game," CA head of cricket operations Sean Cary said. "Match Referee Steve Bernard addressed the matter as soon as it was brought to his attention, spoke at length to Mick Lewis about it and has handed down the subsequent penalty.
"We acknowledge that he has apologised to the South Australian team and the match officials and hope the matter deters others from doing anything like this in the future."
Lewis, who had a mixed disciplinary record during his time as a pace bowler for Victoria and occasionally Australia, was also spoken to by the CV chief executive Tony Dodemaide and the chairman Russell Thomas. Dodemaide said Lewis would be in serious trouble if he transgressed again.
"Cricket Victoria does not condone any action to gain an unfair advantage in any form, we're committed to playing fair cricket in the spirit of the game," Dodemaide said. "Myself and Cricket Victoria chairman Russell Thomas immediately spoke to Mick and he has apologised unreservedly and understands that this reflects unfairly on the Bushrangers and all of Victorian cricket.
"Mick pleaded guilty to Cricket Australia's code of behaviour breach and has also accepted a severe reprimand, imposed upon him as a Cricket Victoria employee, and assured us that actions such as this will not happen again. Mick also went personally to South Australian coach Jamie Siddons and apologised after the day's play.
"Victorian coach David Saker was extremely disappointed in Mick's actions and also that he cost the side five runs in what could be a very close match. We believe that Mick will learn a valuable lesson from this and understands this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."
Both sides have been penalised for ball tampering in recent years. In 2010, Aaron Finch was fined and the Bushrangers penalised for an instance of tampering against South Australia at Adelaide Oval. The umpires found markings on the ball at the end of the second day's play and initially reported the entire Victoria team before it was concluded that Finch had been responsible.
In 2014, the then Redbacks captain Johan Botha was suspended for one match after he pleaded guilty to "repeated inappropriate conduct relating to the condition of the match ball" during a drawn match with New South Wales, also in Adelaide.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig