South Africa were penalised five runs for ball-tampering on the third day of the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai. Faf du Plessis was the player in the centre of the controversy and the ICC said its ruling on the incident will be announced tomorrow.
The ICC confirmed that the five-run penalty and the change of ball after 30 overs was due to ball-tampering. "As per 42.1 of the ICC playing conditions, the umpires replaced the ball and fined South Africa team five penalty runs for ball-tampering," an ICC spokesperson said.
The incident took place at the start of the 31st over of Pakistan's innings, two overs after tea, when umpires Ian Gould and Rod Tucker called South African captain Graeme Smith for a chat. The fourth umpire, Shozab Raza, brought a box of balls onto the field and a new one was selected for use.
No individual player has been charged yet but television images showed du Plessis rubbing the ball allegedly on the zipper of his trouser pocket.
The playing conditions (see sidebar) dealing with ball-tampering were changed recently, coming into effect only from October 1. Any player found guilty of ball-tampering, which is a Level Two offence, will be fined 50 to 100% of his match fee and/or get a ban of one Test or two ODIs or two Twenty20s, whichever come first.
South Africa were well in control of the Test, having taken a commanding 418-run first-innings lead, when the incident occurred.
The only other time a team was handed a five-run penalty for ball-tampering was in the infamous Oval Test in 2006, in which Pakistan refused to take the field after the umpires deemed that the seam on the ball had been raised.