Sledging and a sensational tunnel fight between David Warner and Quinton de Kock stole the limelight from the gripping on-field action during the fourth day of the first Test between South Africa and Australia in Durban on Sunday, March 4.
In a leaked CCTV video from the Kingsmead Cricket Ground stairway, Warner was seen involved in a heated exchange with De Kock as players from the two teams were making their way to their respective dressing rooms at the end of the second session on Sunday in Durban.
Australian players, including Usman Khawaja and Tim Paine, were forced to restrain the team's vice-captain from escalating his attack on the South African wicket-keeper batsman. Captain Steve Smith finally managed to take Warner away from the scene.
As it turns out, Warner's fiery tirade at De Kock was triggered after the latter allegedly abused the former's wife, Candice, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper's wife and his two children have traveled to South Africa with the rest of the Australian team for the four-Test series, which continues till April 3.
Details of Warner's reply to De Kock during the heated exchanges is not out yet, according to the newspaper report.
Legendary Australia wicketkeeper took to Twitter on Monday, March 5 to express his displeasure at the turn of events in Durban. He also opined that Warner's reaction must have been triggered after a "personal" jibe.
Speculations were rife that things got heated up between the two teams after Warner and off-spinner Nathan Lyon gave AB de Villiers' an animated send-off during the fourth day. The South African star was run-out by the duo at the critical juncture of South Africa's chase of 417.
Opener Aiden Markram hit a valiant 143 and De Kock contributed with 83 but the contributions were not enough to stop Australia from sealing a 118-run win and a 1-0 lead in the series. The visitors were made to wait for their victory as they needed only one wicket when bad light stopped play towards the close of play on Day 4.
Ahead of the final day's play, there was more drama as Lyon was charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) with a level-one offense for his send-off of De Villiers.
Meanwhile, former South African captain Graeme Smith had hit out at Warner, saying the Australian opener can be a fool at times. He also replied to Gilchrist's Tweet, saying the SRH skipper had "crossed many personal boundaries" and that a reaction from the Proteas was obvious.
"We have 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," Smith was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
Gilly- Warner crossed many personal boundaries with the South Africans, so we can’t be surprised when there is eventually a reaction. If players are happy to give it,they have to be prepared to take it,too. On both sides!— Graeme Smith (@GraemeSmith49) March 5, 2018
But agreed not a good look. #SAvsAUS https://t.co/obTo0GO2H8
Nonetheless, this is not the first time Warner has been involved in off-field controversies. During the 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, the left-hander had punched England's Joe Root in a pub at Birmingham.
Warner, who seemed to have toned down his aggression over the years, had regretted his conduct and reportedly said the incident played a "pivotal" role in shaping his character as a person.