Du Plessis has pleaded not guilty and is seeking legal advice to further contest the charge. A hearing before match referee Andy Pycroft will be held, but a date for the hearing has not yet been set by the ICC.
The ICC confirmed in a statement on Friday that du Plessis had been charged for breaching Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct, which relates to "changing the condition of the ball".
"The alleged incident happened on Tuesday morning when TV footage appeared to show du Plessis applying saliva and residue from a mint or sweet, an artificial substance, to the ball in an attempt to change its condition," said the ICC statement on Friday.
Level 2 breaches of the Code of Conduct carry a penalty of a fine of 50-100% of the match fee and/or up to two suspension points, and three or four demerit points. Two suspension points equates to one Test match.
This comes after an unprecedented stance of solidarity when the South African cricket team arrived in unison at Friday afternoon’s media conference to strongly refute the “Lollygate” ball tampering accusations against Du Plessis with Hashim Amla terming it a “joke” and “ridiculous”.
Although both umpires Aleem Dar and Richard Kettlebrough did not report the incident, the matter was still handed over to the ICC and it has grown exponentially here in the Australian media over the past few days.
“The reason we are standing here together it to show solidarity with what we thought was a joke. The allegations against Faf is ridiculous, and as a team we are standing strong,” Amla told the media on the outskirts of the boundary at the MCG.
“For us it’s basically a joke. We have done nothing wrong. Faf has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Amla was also dismissive of the claims that former England captain Marcus Trescothick admitted in 2009 that he used mints to help produce saliva which kept the ball newer for longer periods during the 2005 series against Australia.
“Is it? Is that a tactic? I wasn’t aware of that. Is it proven? That’s new to us,” the former Test skipper said strongly.
“We have done nothing wrong. Faf has done absolutely nothing wrong. Do you want me to brush my teeth after lunch every time I come out to field? If we standing in the field for two hours, don’t you want me to have some biltong, some nuts in my pocket? There was no malicious intent.”
Amla also led a thinly-veiled attack at the Australians, who are currently under severe pressure after losing five Tests in a row, including this on-going series against South Africa with still the final Test in Adelaide to come.
“It more sounds like sour sweets,” Amla said. “The timing is a bit weird also. I am just trying to clear a wrongful decision against our team.”
The Proteas are in Melbourne at the moment gearing to play a warm-up match against a Victoria XI at the MCG on Saturday before moving the Adelaide next week for the final Test.
Independent MediaProteas captain Faf du Plessis could be suspended for a Test match after being officially charged by the ICC on Friday over an alleged ball-tampering offence.
Original source: Faf charged by ICC for alleged breach of conduct