Sri Lanka v South Africa, 1st Test, Galle, 3rd day July 18, 2014

Philander fined for ball-tampering


Vernon Philander has become the second South African in the last nine months to be charged and fined for ball-tampering after an incident during the ongoing Galle Test. Philander was fined 75% of his match fee for breaching clause 42.1 of the ICC's match playing conditions as footage viewed by the umpires after the close of play showed him "scratching the ball with his fingers and thumb". Philander did not contest the charge so no hearing was necessary.

Philander's actions, which "took place in the afternoon" according to an ICC release, were not aired live but picked up when on-field umpires Billy Bowden and Richard Kettleborough as well as third umpire Nigel Llong, fourth umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge and match referee Jeff Crowe reviewed visuals of the day's play.

The charge was not disputed by Philander and he accepted his punishment. It will not go unnoticed that South Africa's pace spearhead Dale Steyn achieved substantial reverse-swing in a spell after tea. Steyn sliced through Sri Lanka with three wickets in five overs in the third session.

South Africa were involved in a similar incident against Pakistan in the UAE last October when they were penalised five runs. On that occasion, television coverage showed Faf du Plessis rubbing the ball close to the zipper of his trouser pocket. The ball was changed on-field and South Africa penalised before du Plessis pleaded guilty to a charge of ball-tampering. He was fined 50% of his match fee.

In that match, South Africa's team manager Mohammed Moosajee explained that du Plessis did not challenge the charge against him because "a full hearing could lead to more severe punitive measure", and explained that du Plessis was only trying to "dry the ball".

Penalties for offences relating to changing the condition of the ball range from a fine of 50% to 100% of a player's match fee to suspensions of one Test, two ODIs or two T20s. At the time of the ICC's release, late on Friday evening, CSA had not made any statement.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RICHARD on July 20, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    What a Pleasant change a REAL story to get our teeth into. The rules and fines for Ball Tampering need serious upgrading i.e only a 75% match FEE FINE for Philander that is VERY SOFT for such a serious offense. Philander should have been banned from bowling for the rest of this TEST and a two or four match ban or more would be FAIR punishment i feel, after all if a bowler follows through on his run in and stomps all over the middle of the pitch a few times he is banned from bowling for the remainder of the day , please correct me if i have got the rule wrong.

  • Carlyle on July 19, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    The SA coach seems to be downplaying the fact that two members of the Team have clearly been found guilty of tampering with the ball to gain an unfair advantage by a group of very competent ICC Officials using available evidence. Making excuses and talking about moving on is showing support to the Offenders and is not accepting responsibility that such actions need to be stamped out with in house disciplinary measures. It also lends support to the fact that they do not believe that the findings are accurate and that the two Players had done nothing wrong. Cricket is a gentlemen's game that needs to be played in the correct spirit and in a fair manner within the Laws of the game.

  • Android on July 19, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    He should have been banned for a few tests

  • manjula on July 19, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    @ MrGerrath....when bowl is doing so much and unguessable at all..all shot looks like poor shots. You should play competative cricket and see how few scratches on the ball doing wonders.


  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    75% match fee is very little punishment for ball tempering.

  • Chandrasekharan on July 19, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    Teams get away with financial penalties - whereas like in this match, the game can 'swing' away from one team for the benefit of the other. The current match should be awarded to the opposing team, and the captain and the guilty player suspended for the next five Test matches.

  • Garreth on July 19, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Most of Steyn's wickets came from poor shots off short deliveries so not sure what you guys are on about. Poor from Vernon but Sri Lankan fans should try to hold their team more responsible for their poor batting performance. A few less scratches on the ball would not have made your total any higher.

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2014, 9:11 GMT

    @Gul Khan

    "The umpire is the arbitrator on the field and players and spectators must learn to accept their decision, however right or wrong they may be."

    The law says the condition of the ball must be changed.The umpires check the ball to see if the condition has been changed. They found nothing wrong with it.

    I trust that settles the issue for you.

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    An allegation was made and the charge was not contested. It is an admission of guilt. There should be no questioning of proof.

    Does the punishment fit the crime? Probably not; and so the ICC need to review their penalty system.

    Is it a lone crime? Absolutely not..... Don't equate 'ball tampering' to 'not walking'. One is against the laws, the other should not even be a conversation. There is technically only one way you can be out in cricket.....and that is when the umpire raises his finger. There is no onus on the batsmen to help the umpire, just as there is no onus on the bowler to not appeal when he doesn't think it's out. The umpire is the arbitrator on the field and players and spectators must learn to accept their decision, however right or wrong they may be.

  • Android on July 19, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    why vern, why? so disappointed. is this the way to treat out gracious Sri Lankan hosts? And here we were all lauding the good spirit that the matches were being played in.

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