Steve Smith and David Warner's penance for the infamous ball-tampering affair two years ago will finally end when they stride out at Newlands on Wednesday in the final T20 International against the Proteas.
Smith and Warner return to the scene of the "sandpaper gate" crime for a deciding match in what has been a pulsating T20 series against the Proteas, fully expecting a hostile welcome. It could be seen as redemption for two superb players who each lost a year of their careers because of their grossly miscalculated act of cheating. Or it could be viewed as a reminder that they got off lightly considering they could still be prosecuted under South African law.
It was in the shadow of Table Mountain during the third Test of the 2017/18 Test series against South Africa that Warner coerced rookie Cameron Bancroft to rub the ball with sandpaper. The attempt to artificially alter the state of the ball was caught on camera and in the swift fallout, Warner, Bancroft and captain Smith were all sent home in disgrace. They were later banned as well.
So far the reception Warner and Smith (Bancroft is not on tour) have received in South Africa has...