Leaked footage has emerged of a furious David Warner being restrained by his Australian teammates during a heated off-field confrontation with South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock during the first Test in Durban.
During a fractious and tense day four of the series opener, the on-field behaviour of many Australian players had been questioned.
But the real drama occurred on and around the stairs leading to the dressing rooms during the tea break on Sunday (local time).
Footage published by South African organisation, Independent Media, initially shows curious Australian players coming up the stairs but looking down at the commotion under them.
Watch the incident below
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A seething Warner then appears to be yelling insults at de Kock, with Australian batsman Usman Khawaja having to usher his teammate up the stairs.
Once up the stairs, Warner was then pushed into a wall by Khawaja, but the former forced his way back into de Kock’s line of sight to continue his tirade before Aussie keeper Tim Paine and skipper Steve Smith tried to calm the situation.
It is at that point that South African captain Faf du Plessis appears, and, shirtless, he traded words with Paine and Warner as the Aussie was forced into his dressing room.
The ugly incident occurred after de Kock (81 not out) and Aiden Markram (143) had frustrated the tourists in the second session of another thrilling day of play.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson said on Monday that they were “aware of reports of an incident between players in Durban”.
They added: “CA is working to establish the facts of what has occurred and will not be commenting further until that has been done.”
Tensions boil over
Warner, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc were all involved in controversial incidents during the fourth day of the Test.
Warner let rip with a frenzied serve to Aiden Markram and AB de Villiers after the latter was run out for a duck.
It was a key wicket for Smith’s side but Warner’s reaction was a poor look.
Lyon, who broke the bails after Warner’s throw to complete the run out, then came under scrutiny for dropping the ball right beside a prone de Villiers.
And later in the day, Starc could not contain his frustration when bowling to Theunis de Bruyn, repeatedly yelling at him following deliveries.
Markram was also the target of repeated sledging from the Australians, something Paine later admitted did not work.
“We spoke to Aiden about running out their best player and one of the best players in the world,” he said.
“Just reminding him of what he had just done, trying to get him off his game.”
In Saturday’s play, South African quick Kagiso Rabada gave Warner a send off after dismissing him.
Match referee Jeff Crowe is likely to be busy after the Test with punishments of some description looking likely.
‘He’s a fool’: Smith hits out at Warner
Former South African captain Graeme Smith said Lyon’s act was “unnecessary” before criticising Warner’s behaviour.
“The Aussies were pretty fired up … but he [Lyon] is an experienced cricketer,” he told cricket.com.au.
“I think he’ll probably say it was unnecessary himself.
“We’ve got used to ‘Davey’ over the years. I think the less interest you take in him the better.
“He can be a bit of a fool at times. It’s best just to let him be.”
Warner and South Africa have history.
After du Plessis said Australia were like “a pack of dogs” in the field during the 2014 Test series in South Africa, Warner responded by barking at the batsman.
Just one more wicket needed
The Proteas will resume day five of the Durban Test needing a miracle for victory.
They sit on 9-293, needing another 124 runs for victory with just one wicket remaining.
Starc (4-74) will begin Monday’s play on a hat-trick for the tourists.