They laughed off claims Robin Peterson has a chip on his shoulder. Pooh-poohed the suggestion Vernon Philander was a flat-track specialist, and were unmoved by allegations of laziness in the field.
But David Warner has finally found a way to stir up a hornet’s nest on the tour of South Africa.
The Proteas trained on Wednesday following Warner’s public query as to whether they were acting within the limits with scuffing of the ball in their second Test victory, which was secured with devastating reverse-swing bowling.
Coach Russell Domingo suggested his charges were seething and would show as much when the three-Test series decider starts on Saturday in Cape Town.
“It’s a bit disappointing when guys throw those kind of accusations around,” Domingo said.
“We’re a seriously motivated team. We’ve added 10 per cent to our motivation levels after those comments.
“We pride ourselves on playing the game as honestly and openly as possible.
“We’re very motivated by the comments he made, so it’s probably good for us.”
Warner’s past off-the-cuff colourful remarks in the series have been viewed internally by the Proteas and Cricket South Africa as harmless.
This is different.
“I don’t think it’s a nice comment that he’s made,” Domingo said.
“It doesn’t sound good when sides are accusing other sides of … whatever. I don’t think it should be done.”
Warned told Sky Sports Radio his team should should ask the umpires about the legality of AB de Villiers using his glove to “wipe the rough side every ball'”.
Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosagee was furious with Warner’s comments, which come four months after his side were embroiled in a ball-tampering saga.
“It smacks of sour grapes and it could just be a tactical plan,” Moosagee told newspaper The Cape Times.
“Hardly anyone takes anything David Warner says serious.”
Moosagee said he would “leave it to the ICC to look into his remarks”.
Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel unleashed a day-four reverse-swing masterclass in Port Elizabeth, inflicting a collapse of 9-62 en route to a series-levelling victory.
In October, Proteas batsman Faf du Plessis was fined 50 per cent of his match fee in a nine-wicket win over Pakistan for rubbing the ball near the zipper of his trouser pocket.
Match referee David Boon said the ball-tampering charge was warranted, but also that it “was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball”.