Explosive new Oz cheat claim: WHOLE team in on plan

Steve Smith (Getty Images)
Steve Smith (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Explosive new claims have emerged that the Australian team's bowlers were "in" on the plan to tamper with the ball in the third Test against South Africa at Newlands.

READ: While Australia were cheating, AB de Villiers was breaking records

Nine Channel's Wide World of Sports website reported that "a highly placed source" has told it the bowlers were aware of the plan to use sticky tape on the ball to make the ball reverse swing against the Proteas.

"They knew about it - don't worry about that," the source said.

"You don't have something like this happen and the whole team not know. Of course they are playing dumb about it - you can't blame them."

READ: Smith, Lehmann set for axe 'within 24 hours'

The website went on to suggest the Australian team was in danger of imploding over the scandal, as differing accounts emerge as to who was in the know over the sticky tape.

Australian captain Steve Smith said the "leadership group" was aware of plans for fielder Cameron Bancroft to use the tape to tamper with the ball. The group comprised himself, vice-captain David Warner, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

However, since that revelation there have been reports that pace bowlers Starc and Hazlewood knew nothing about the plan and were angry over being linked to the decision and at least one of them wanted the Australian Cricketers Association to force Cricket Australia to clear them of any involvement.

READ: How SuperSport's cameramen caught cheating Bancroft red-handed

Smith and Warner both stood down from their roles in the 322-run defeat to South Africa in the third Test, and wicketkeeper Tim Paine led the side on the fourth day.

Smith has been suspended for the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg starting on Friday and Warner won't be allowed to play according to reports.

There are also sugestions that coach Darren Lehmann will be axed from his job in the fallout from the scandal, according to the Stuff website.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland is joining the organisation's head of integrity, Iain Roy, and the executive general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, in South Africa to assess what happened at Newlands last weekend.

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