Cape Town - Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland has apologised to the Australian cricket public after the ball-tampering saga.
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Australian skipper Steve Smith and opener Cameron Bancroft found themselves in trouble after television footage showed Bancroft tampering with the ball during day three of the third Test at Newlands.
Following the days play, Bancroft and Smith appeared before the media and confessed the entire ordeal and admitted that they planned to use tape to exploit the ball.
Before the first ball was bowled on Day 4, Cricket Australia confirmed that Smith and vice-captain David Warner have stepped down from their respective duties for the remainder of the Newlands Test.
Wicketkeeper batsman Tim Paine was handed over the captaincy.
In a letter penned to Australian fans, Sutherland apologised and said that they have launched an "immediate investigation".
"We are sorry. We are sorry that you had to wake up this morning to news from South Africa that our Australian Men's Cricket team and our Captain admitted to conduct that is outside both the Laws of our game and the Spirit of Cricket," said Sutherland.
"This behaviour calls into question the integrity of the team and Cricket Australia."