Aussie Smith goes from golden boy to pariah
A ban for captain Steve Smith in no way eased the fury directed at the leadership of the Australia cricket team as the sports-mad nation returned to work yesterday still digesting the ball-tampering scandal which broke in Cape Town over the weekend.
The story led the front pages of all of the country's major newspapers, the headlines mostly working around the single word "Shame", and on radio talk shows and social media the offenders were lambasted with a vehemence unusual for even those forums.
The concept of playing "hard, but fair" has always been integral to the national identity.
For Smith, therefore, to have deliberately conspired to cheat by getting a junior member of his team to tamper with the ball during the third test against South Africa cuts to the very quick of the Australian psyche.
Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were nowhere to be seen at the team's Cape Town hotel, as Cricket Australia's head of integrity Iain Roy arrived in South Africa to begin an investigation that will decide the international future of all three.
In the space of two days, top batsman Smith has gone from Australia's cricketing golden boy to national pariah.