Cricket Australia has confirmed that it is looking into the heated off-field exchange between the Australian cricketers and the Proteas on the penultimate day of the first Test against South Africa in Durban on Sunday.
CCTV footage from the players tunnel at Kingsmead showed Australia vice-captain David Warner and South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock involved in a fiery exchange as players climbed the stairwell to their dressing rooms during the tea break.
The video shows Warner being restrained by Australia batsman Usman Khawaja and spin bowler Nathan Lyon as he directs a verbal barrage at de Kock, who exited the field as South Africa’s not-out batsman at the same time as the Australians.
Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine also moves in to block Warner before his captain Steve Smith ushers the opening batsman away.
“CA is aware of reports of an incident between players in Durban,” a CA spokesperson said.
“CA is working to establish the facts of what has occurred and will not be commenting further until that has been done.”
A fired-up Warner had earlier given the Proteas’ opener Aiden Markram a huge verbal spray after the rookie batsman was culpable in running out AB De Villiers for a golden duck.
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith criticised Warner as“a bit of a fool” but Markram, who went on to score an impressive 143, played down the sledging as part of the game.
Following that, Australia completed their victory after Josh Hazlewood dismissed de Kock for 83 on the final day.
Continuing from their overnight score of 293/9, the Proteas innings ended on 298 and Australia sealed the victory by 118 runs.
Earlier on Sunday, after being assigned a mammoth target of 417, the South African top order collapsed spectacularly and were reduced to a lowly 49/4.
Opener Markram's brilliant knock of 143, almost outscoring the home side's entire first innings total, along with useful contributions from Theunis de Bruyn (36) and de Kock (81) provided some stability to the Proteas' innings.
However, it did little to scare the Aussies, who were back in the game after Hazelwood sent de Bruyn on his way and Mitchell Marsh scalped Markram's wicket.
The opener tried to guide a ball down to third man, but got a faint touch on it and sharp reflexes by wicketkeeper Tim Paine sent him back to the pavilion.
Starc then took three quick-fire wickets in one over and sent Vernan Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj back to the pavilion. The latter two were clean bowled in consecutive deliveries.
Despite some positives that South Africa can take from the match, a lot of work needs to be done off the pitch as the Proteas will be looking to bounce back in the next match of the series to be held at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth.
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