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Sandpaper saga in the bin as Australia and South Africa focus on the present

One-day series could end up being more about bowling than batting, and Steyn’s return will make it a pace duel to enjoy

It’s inevitable that with South Africa visiting Australia’s shores in November, there would be questions about the ball-tampering episode from Cape Town the previous March. But in the end, it would be hard to find anyone who cares less than the South Africans.

For one thing, they’re here for limited-overs cricket. There are only five players in the squad who played in that previous Test series: the captain Faf du Plessis, wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, opening batsman Aiden Markram and fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.

For another, they never thought the ball-tampering thing was that big a deal in the first place. Some people have implied that du Plessis is a hypocrite, given he’s been charged with tampering twice himself. But he was the first to point that out in Cape Town, saying openly that his team was in no position to criticise. He also stated that he thought the whole issue had been overblown, and sent Steve Smith a personal message of support following his suspension.

Related: AB de Villiers: ‘I felt sorry for the Australians, especially Steve Smith’

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