PORT ELIZABETH (Reuters) - Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine has suggested South Africa are not being truthful with their version of events in the build-up to the confrontation between David Warner and Quinton de Kock in the first test in Durban.
South Africa team manager Mohammed Moosajee said on Monday that Warner had engaged in a personal verbal attack against De Kock on the pitch that involved members of his family.
“That’s completely false. At no stage was Quinton’s family mentioned, that’s 100 percent false,” Paine told reporters of the events preceding a flare-up that occurred as the teams left the field for tea on Sunday’s fourth day.
“I don’t know how their team manager can hear from where he’s sitting but from where I was, which was right near the whole time, there was nothing we said that was inappropriate.”
Warner was seen on CCTV footage needing to be restrained by team mates on a stairwell as he launched a verbal volley in the direction of De Kock, who according to local media reports had responded to sledging with a comment about the opener’s wife.
The Australian vice-captain has been charged with a Level 2 offence by the ICC, which could see him miss the second test in Port Elizabeth that starts on Friday. Australia lead the four-test series after recording a 118-run win in Durban.
De Kock faces a Level 1 charge, which carries the maximum sanction of a fine.
Australia have long had a reputation for attempting to unsettle opposition players with words as well as actions, but Paine says there was a line the team would not cross.
“Our stuff is the way we’ve always played our cricket,” he said. “Certainly it’s hard, and we like to make them feel uncomfortable out there.
“But we don’t cross the line and bring people’s wives and family into the cricket game. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as we play.”
Warner is no stranger to controversy and was nicknamed ‘Bull’ early in his career, a moniker that fittingly captured his rampaging batting and tendency to rack up violations for ill-tempered episodes during play.
He was suspended in 2013 for punching England batsman Joe Root in a bar.
Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by John O'Brien