New Delhi, March 25: Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner stepped down as captain and vice-captain of the Australian cricket team respectively, for the ongoing third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Wicket-keeper Tim Paine has been appointed as Acting Captain for the the remaining two days of the Test. The development came hours after the Australian government asked Cricket Australia to remove Steve Smith as captain with immediate effect, after the Cape Town Test ball-tampering row.

In a statement issued by Cricket Australia, CEO James Sutherland said: “Following discussions with Steve Smith and David Warner they have agreed to stand down as Captain and Vice-Captain respectively for the remainder of this Test match. This Test match needs to proceed, and in the interim we will continue to investigate this matter with the urgency that it demands.”

“As I said earlier today (Sunday), Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans expect certain standards of conduct from cricketers representing our country, and on this occasion these standards have not been met. All Australians, like us, want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings, as a matter of priority,” concluded Sutherland.

On the board decision to appoint an Acting Captain, Cricket Australia Chairman, David Peever said: “The Board of Cricket Australia has endorsed Tim Paine to step in as Acting Captain for the remainder of this Test. Both Steve and David will take to the field today under Tim’s captaincy. ”

“The Board fully supports the process for an immediate investigation into what occurred in Cape Town. We regard this as a matter of the utmost seriousness and urgency. We will ensure we have all information available to make the right decisions for Australian Cricket,” Peever concluded.