Steve Smith stood down as Australia captain after cheating scandal

Steve Smith has been stood down as Australia skipper for the remainder of the third test against South Africa in the wake of a high-profile ball tampering scandal.

Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said earlier on Sunday that he was "extremely disappointed and shocked" by the news, but said Smith had retained his captaincy.

However, that appears a short-lived decision, with Smith and vice-captain David Warner both standing down from their respective leadership positions.

Smith confessed on Sunday morning (NZ time) to hatching a plan with the leadership group to deliberately change the conditions of the ball.

The responsibility fell on the shoulders of Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on television using a piece of sticky tape to rub dirt into the ball.

Sutherland revealed Cricket Australia has now launched an investigation into the matter.

"Head of Integrity Iain Roy and Head of Team Performance Pat Howard are heading to South Africa to gather all the information," he said.

"We will over the next couple of days get a deep understanding of what happened and why.

"We are dealing with this issue with the utmost diligency and seriousness."

The cheating has sparked a major backlash, with a number of cricketers past and present expressing their disgust at the incident.

Newshub.