Steve Smith is set to discover in the next two days whether he will remain Australia captain after his and Cameron Bancroft's admission of premeditated ball-tampering.
Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland told a Melbourne press conference that he is "extremely disappointed and shocked" at events on day three of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
He added CA will treat the situation with "urgency", including immediately dispatching its head of integrity Iain Roy and head of team performance Pat Howard to South Africa to ascertain the full facts and decide what action must be taken.
Smith insisted, at a close-of-play press conference alongside Bancroft at Newlands on Saturday, that he does not intend to step down as Test captain.
That decision may well be taken out of his hands, however, after Sutherland spelled out the seriousness with which CA views the situation.
He said: "We are extremely disappointed and shocked (at) what we woke up to this morning, and we are dealing with this issue with the utmost urgency and seriousness.
"This morning (Australian cricket fans) have every reason to wake up and not be proud of the Australian team.
"It's a sad day for Australian cricket.
"Activities on the field yesterday in Cape Town are neither within the laws of the game nor within the spirit of the game.
"For us at CA that's extremely disappointing - but more importantly, it's extremely disappointing for Australian cricket fans."
The misdemeanour, to which opening batsman Bancroft admitted following a charge from match referee Andy Pycroft, came to light when television pictures showed him taking what he later described as tape out of his pocket while handling the ball during South Africa's second innings.
Sutherland added: "That isn't the end of it and can't be the end of it.
"We have a responsibility to take this further and to understand more about the issue.
"We will over the next couple of days get a deep understanding of what happened and why - and to that end, I've asked our head of integrity Iain Roy to travel to South Africa today.
"Pat Howard will also go with him.
"Iain's brief will be to gather the relevant information we need to understand the matter better.
"It is being dealt with as a matter of urgency and seriousness. It will be dealt with promptly."
Asked if Australia's captain should resign, he said: "Steve Smith is currently the captain of the Australian team.
"We are working through a process - and once we have a clearer picture of the facts, then we'll be able to make further comment.
"We need someone to go over there and talk to the relevant people and understand the detail - and then we'll make appropriate decisions on the next steps.
"We are in the middle of a game, and that game needs to conclude, but over the course of the next couple of days, we'll get to the bottom of this.
"Our responsibility right now is to understand the facts and respond accordingly. I want to reiterate that we are dealing with this matter with appropriate urgency.
"This is a very sad day. I'm not happy about this at all.
"I have very strong views on the responsibility of the Australian team, and no one will be under any illusions (about) what I think about this."