Former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith, former vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft are expected to fly home from South Africa on Wednesday after being suspended for the fourth Test in Johannesburg starting on Friday.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland announced this on Tuesday night, when he apologised to South African and Australian fans, as well as Cricket South Africa for the recent ball-tampering incident.

He says the rest of the Australian team, as well as coach Darren Lehmann, have been cleared of any involvement in the incident.

Sutherland says Smith, Warner and Bancroft have breached Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct and can expect severe punishment.

“The conduct contrary to the spirit of the game, unbecoming of the representatives, harmful to the interests of the game or bring the game in to disrepute. Regarding players on report I want to stress that we are contemplating significant sanction in each case. The sanctions will reflect the gravity with which view what has occurred and the damage it has done to the standing of Australian cricket. I fully understand the appetite for more detail however urgency must be balanced with due process given the serious implications for all involved.”