Masks of rugby star Sonny Bill Williams were used by South African cricket fans as the home fans adopted “shameful” tactics to try and annoy David Warner on an otherwise bright day for the Proteas in Port Elizabeth.
Warner’s wife, Candice, was photographed in a compromising position with Williams in a Sydney toilet cubicle in 2007.
Warner was involved in a heated off-field confrontation with South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock in the first Test and it has been reported that the latter raised the Williams incident during the ugly stoush.
Twitter photos showed many of the masks getting prepared in Port Elizabeth ahead of day one of the second Test, while others showed fans wearing them inside the venue.
best selling item at the cricket. Sonny Bill masks only 7 Rand. pic.twitter.com/LXfiaKKb1F
— Smiffy (@iborgward) March 9, 2018
— SA Cricket magazine (@SACricketmag) March 9, 2018
Warner impressed on Friday (local time), hitting nine fours in a team-high 63.
Australia collapsed from 3-161 to 8-182, though, as paceman Kagiso Rabada (5-96 off 21 overs) ran rampant for the hosts.
Steve Smith’s men eventually scrapped their way to 243, with South Africa well-placed at 1-39 in response at stumps.
‘I am so utterly embarrassed’
Highly respected South African cricket writer Firdose Moonda responded on Twitter to a post saying “misogyny alive and well in South African cricket” that linked to a story about the masks.
“Alive and well indeed,” she wrote.
“I am so utterly embarrassed that this is people’s idea of a joke or even of a decent, legitimate thing to do.
“It was International Women’s Day yesterday but that seems to have been overlooked here. Shameful.”
Middle-order collapse hurts Aussies
Steve Smith’s decision to bat first appeared a bold one, given overcast decisions and a pitch sporting more than a tinge of green.
But despite Vernon Philander (2-25 off 18) beating the bat regularly in the early stages, openers Warner and Cameron Bancroft (38) were in a stubborn mood.
They scored just 23 runs from the first 14 overs, but, once set, accelerated quickly, adding a further 75 in less than 13.
Bancroft fell just before lunch, though, taking the gloss off an otherwise excellent first session when he edged behind.
Australia resumed at 1-98 but soon fell to 3-117 as the out-of-form Usman Khawaja fell for four and Warner was bowled by a sharp Lundi Ngidi (3-51 off 13.3) delivery.
Smith (25) and Shaun Marsh (24) set about resurrecting the innings but, after a 44-run union, both were both trapped lbw by Rabada in consecutive overs.
And that triggered a collapse as Rabada also removed Mitchell Marsh (four), Pat Cummins (zero) and Mitchell Starc (eight) in a stunning spell of fast bowling.
At 8-182, just making 200 looked difficult for Australia, but wicket-keeper Tim Paine battled excellently to make what could be a crucial 36.
Nathan Lyon (17) and Josh Hazlewood (10) offered valuable support before Ngidi wrapped up the innings.
That meant South Africa faced a tricky task before stumps, but it was one they negotiated with relative comfort.
Aiden Markram, who scored a brilliant century in the first Test, was the only batsman to be dismissed when Cummins (1-9 off two) trapped him in front 11.
Nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada slashed four late fours in a 14-ball 17 and he will resume day two with Dean Elgar (11 not out) as South Africa look to take command.
Australia lead the four-Test series 1-0.
Warner 63, Bancroft 38, Paine 36, Rabada 5/96, Ngidi 3/51, Philander 2/25
South Africa 1/39
Rabada 17*, Elgar 11*, Markram 11, Cummins 1/9