If you have no interest in cricket at all, or if you're an Australian, you may want to look away now. It's taken me a few days to digest exactly what went on in the Newlands Test, but I've finally pieced together a few thoughts.
1 The statements made by Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft at the press conference were insulting to the intelligence of any cricket fan. They talked about it as if it were something that had happened to them, as if they had no control over it whatsoever. Do they really expect us to believe that, had they not got caught, they'd have been wracked by guilt?
2 Still, at least they made it to the press conference. Where was Warner, who was certainly part of the 'leadership group'? And Lehmann?
3 If Lehmann knew nothing about it, as they claimed, then what exactly is he doing as coach? If he did (and his utterly shifty reaction once he realised Bancroft had been caught on camera suggests that's the case), he needs to be sacked.
4 So do Smith and Warner, and both they and Bancroft need lengthy bans. I've some sympathy for the latter, because I suspect he was pressured into doing the dirty work because he's the youngest member of the side, and the one whose place is in most jeopardy. But if he isn't willing to break ranks and say so, then I'm afraid he has to cop the same punishment as the others.
5 A lot is made of the centrality of 'mateship' to Australian sport, and culture in general. And yet the worst thing about this is how willing Smith and Warner have been to throw Bancroft under the train. By talking about the leadership group, too, they've potentially implicated Starc and Hazlewood, and by all accounts neither are happy about it, saying they didn't take part in the lunchtime discussions. When Mike Atherton was caught mucking about with the ball in 1994 (and he should have been sacked as England captain at the time), he did at least have the guts to do it himself.
6 The ICC could have acted sooner. Warner has been wearing tape on his fingers while fielding for the last two years. He should have been told to remove it, or that he also had to wear it for batting. Its presence looks very suspicious.
7 Whenever something like this happens, the Aussies like to imply that there are only two ways to play. You can be hard, aggressive, push the limits and win, or you can do it the soft, 'English' way, and lose. But they're wrong. In recent years, New Zealand under Brendon McCullum showed that you could play aggressive, attractive, winning cricket without disrespecting your opponents, the game, or the cricket-watching public. The Aussies need a new coach in that vein – Jason Gillespie might be the man.
8 Finally, how on earth did they think they'd get away with it? With 30 cameras watching? Was it really worth the risk? At the stage that it happened, they were practically out of the game anyway.