South African commentator Neil Manthorp told the Devlin Radio Show that the local camera crew at the ground had a hunch Bancroft was up to no good.
“Credit to them. They knew what was going on,” Manthorp said.
“They could see that something peculiar was going on. They took it upon themselves. It wasn’t a director who said ‘Right. Get onto that’. For them it was a personal triumph.
“You wouldn’t have picked it up from the stands. You wouldn’t have picked it up from normal television coverage. We had guys who were trying to do their job, filming the entirety of the event ... it took some pretty skilled cameraman to pick it up in the first place.”
Although the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong of England, questioned Bancroft at the time, he produced what appeared to be a black sunglasses bag from his right pocket in way of explanation, and clearly in a bid to deceive the officials.
“Once I was sighted on the big screens I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers,” said Bancroft.
No action was taken at the time — the umpires could have changed the ball or docked Australia runs — but match officials, including referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, were able to review TV footage of the incident.
Bancroft revealed: “We had a discussion during the (lunch) break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition — it didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball.”
This article was originally published by the NZ Herald and appears here with permission.