Former Australia captain Tim Paine has accused South Africa of ball tampering in the Test after the Sandpaper-gate scandal that led to the dismissal as captain and vice-captain of Steve Smith and David Warner in 2018.
In his explosive allegations, Paine said this act by the Proteas was covered up by the South African match broadcasters.
Paine made the explosive claims in his autobiography The Paid Price, with the former Test captain becoming the first player to lift the lid on the 2018 Cape Town Test in a tell-all book, the Australian Associate Press said in a report.
Paine, who was forced to step down in 2021 in the wake of a sexting incident with a former Cricket Tasmania colleague that happened in 2017, denied that the plan for Cameron Bancroft to use sandpaper on the ball during the third Test of the series against South Africa at Cape Town was hatched at a team meeting.
He says he was stunned and his heart sank as replays showed Bancroft hiding the sandpaper in his pants before being spoken to by umpires.
"I was thinking 'what the f**k'," Paine wrote. "A sense of dread came over us all."
In a lengthy chapter on the 2018 tour, Paine went to great lengths to point out that ball-tampering was commonplace in cricket and that it was the sport's dirty little secret.
But he conceded using sandpaper was "next level" and "shameful", with traditional tampering usually via means such as throwing the ball into the ground, the report said.
He claims that he was left furious when he spotted South Africa allegedly pulling apart the seam of the ball in the following Test.
"I saw it happen in the fourth Test of that series," Paine wrote. "Think about that. After everything that had happened in Cape Town, after all the headlines and bans and carry on.
"I was standing at the bowlers' end in the next Test when a shot came up on the screen of a South African player at mid-off having a huge crack at the ball.
"The television director, who had played an active role in catching out Cam, immediately pulled the shot off the screen.
"We went to the umpires about it, which might seem a bit poor, but we'd been slaughtered and were convinced they'd been up to it since the first Test.
"But the footage got lost. As it would."
He claimed that Australian players were constantly provoked throughout the series amid crowd abuse of players' families.
The wicketkeeper also claimed Warner had every right to be upset after he thought Quinton de Kock had made a comment about his wife Candice before the infamous stairway confrontation in Kingsmead, the report said.
"I was the one holding them apart and I know how it unfolded," Paine said.
He also claimed that Cricket Australia used the opportunity to punish David Warner for his role in the previous year's pay talks.