Du Plessis fined by ICC
South Africa all-rounder Faf du Plessis has been fined 50 per cent of his match fee for "changing the condition of the ball" during the third day's play in the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai, the International Cricket Council has confirmed.
Du Plessis was charged with an article 2.2.9 offence of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to "changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket, as modified by ICC Standard Test Match, ODI and Twenty20 International Match Playing Conditions clause 42.1".
The charge was laid by on-field umpires Ian Gould and Rod Tucker, third umpire Paul Reiffel and fourth umpire Shozab Raza after the end of third day's play.
Umpires Gould and Tucker were forced to change the ball, and apply a five-run penalty, after they deemed the condition of the ball had been changed.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith was called over by the umpires at the end of the 30th over - two overs after tea - and informed of the decision to enforce the penalty.
TV replays showed du Plessis rubbing the ball in the vicinity of the zipper of his trouser pocket.
Before the start of fourth day's play on Saturday, David Boon of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees gave the fine to du Plessis, who had pleaded guilty on Friday evening.
Boon said in a statement on icc-cricket.com: "I am satisfied that the player's actions warranted the umpires applying clause 42.1.1 of the ICC Test Match Playing Conditions, including the laying of a charge under the ICC Code of Conduct against Mr du Plessis in respect of changing the condition of the ball.
"After discussions with Mr du Plessis, he has elected not to contest that charge, but I am also satisfied that this was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball, and that the imposition of a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee is appropriate considering the circumstances."
Altering the condition of the ball is a level two offence under the ICC's Code of Conduct, which carries a penalty of 50 per cent to 100 per cent of their match fee and/or suspension from one Test or two one-day internationals for a first offence.
Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has also received an official reprimand after pleading guilty to a level one breach of the code during the third day's play.
Saeed was found guilty of "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match".
The incident happened when Saeed turned to the umpire after dismissing South Africa batsman Morne Morkel and repeatedly appealed even though the batsman had been caught at first slip by Younis Khan.
The reprimand was given as Saeed's appeal for a caught-behind off the previous delivery had been turned down, so the bowler's actions after taking the wicket were considered to be insulting towards the umpire.
Level one breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player's match fee.