A fiery first Test between South Africa and Australia ended in dispute on Monday over where responsibility lay for a heated altercation between David Warner and Quinton de Kock after the Aussie opener reacted angrily to a sledge about his wife, Candice.
Warner’s wife and his two young children are on tour with him in South Africa.
Australia won the first Test by 118 runs but it was overshadowed by the leaking of CCTV footage at the ground that showed Warner having to be physically restrained by teammates as he clashed with de Kock at the tea break on the fourth day at Kingsmead.
According to Australia media reports, Steve Smith said he could “absolutely” understand the reaction of Warner. “Those things aren’t on and you can’t be getting into somebody’s personal life like that,” the Australian captain said.
“As far as I’m aware, we didn’t get personal towards Quinton. What he said got a little bit personal towards Davey – and as we saw it certainly provoked an emotional response.”
However, the South African camp, suggested that Warner had also directed personal abuse towards de Kock about his mother and sister on the field, as well as berating him over his appearance, allegedly saying he had a “face like a bush pig”.
South Africa’s team manager, Mohammed Moosajee, said Warner had “definitely” got personal.
The incident was discussed between the two team managers after play on Sunday night with match referee Jeff Crowe, who was on Monday still deciding whether to take action against players.
The South Africans did not deny that de Kock had made personal barbs towards Warner.
“I think from both parties, from what I’ve heard, there was a lot of personal stuff being said,” said South Africa’s captain Faf du Plessis, who had also exchanged words with Warner after hearing the commotion outside the dressing room and emerging in a towel.
“That’s obviously what made it go off the field. If you … that’s us included … if you want to go personal then it needs to stay on the field.
“Who started it I don’t know. If it was happening on the field it probably should have been nipped in the bud on the field already. The fact that it spilled over off the field, that shouldn’t have happened,” he added.