‘Blatant’ lies in ugly sledging feud twist
AUSTRALIAN wicketkeeper Tim Paine has criticised South Africa for levelling "blatantly untrue" accusations at David Warner, saying his vice-captain had every right to be fired up based on how unacceptably inappropriate Quinton de Kock was.
The war of words between Australia and South Africa - itself a product of a war of words between Warner and de Kock - has escalated quickly.
Match referee Jeff Crowe has reported both Warner and de Kock for bringing the game into disrepute, with both sides yet to respond to the charges.
It appears certain that acrimony will reign supreme when Australia push for a 2-0 series lead on Friday.
Warner had to be physically restrained by teammates, including Paine, at tea on day four of the first Test after raging at comments allegedly made about his wife by de Kock.
"As I went past de Kock he said what he said and luckily I suppose I was there in between," Paine in Port Elizabeth.
"When you are bringing people's families or wives into it it's unacceptable.
"He (Warner) was certainly extremely fired up and he had every right to be.
"I have never seen him react like he reacted ... he is not the sort of bloke who will whinge about being sledged."
South Africa's manager Mohammed Moosajee claims Warner peppered de Kock with personal barbs during play.
"At no stage was Quinton's family mentioned, that's 100 per cent false," Paine said.
"I don't know how their team manager can hear from where he's sitting.
"It's extremely disappointing ... they've come out now and said a few things that are just blatantly untrue."
Paine highlighted the fact neither umpire objected to anything Australia said to de Kock on day four.
"If you're crossing the line, the umpires will intervene, and they didn't," the Tasmanian said.
"We spoke about cricket stuff and a few little things with his fitness.
"There was nothing we said that was inappropriate.
"We like to make them feel uncomfortable out there, but we don't cross the line and bring people's wives and family into it."
All eyes will be on Warner in the second Test - presuming he avoids a ban - but Paine suggested the pugnacious opener would not curb his aggression.
"Dave is at his best as a cricketer when he is in the face of oppositions, he is very good at getting under their skin and it's been clear in the first Test that he has been able to do that," Paine said.
"A lot of people like to pretend that they like being in the fight and having verbal stoushes on the cricket field, but Davey is genuinely someone who loves that and thrives on it.
"When he gets the bit between the teeth he is one of the best cricketers in the world.
"Our team is certainly behind him."