Umpires will keep a closer eye on on-field talk during the second Test in Port Elizabeth. (AP: Themba Hadebe)
Stump microphones are expected to stay up in Port Elizabeth, revealing whether Australia and South Africa pepper each other with banal banter or bitter barbs.
Skippers Steve Smith and Faf du Plessis met with umpires and match referee Jeff Crowe on the eve of the second Test, which starts at 7pm AEDT on Friday.
The message from officials was clear. Umpires are set to adopt a more watchful approach in the second Test, while both teams have been told they must behave better compared to the acrimony in Durban.
David Warner and Quinton de Kock’s staircase stoush was the most notable blow-up in Kingsmead.
But stump microphones picked up plenty of chatter from both sides, with host broadcaster SuperSport ignoring Australia’s wishes for them to be turned down between balls.
The levels were adjusted slightly mid-match after Australian players deliberately spruiked rival sponsors, but they were never muted altogether.
Du Plessis had a not-so-subtle dig at the tourists’ request during his post-match press conference.
“I didn’t know we had an option of on or off. I just thought it was there always,” du Plessis said.
“If you say stuff and you obviously get caught then you get caught.”
Smith denied his team were “desperately” trying to get them turned off.
“It’s certainly written by the ICC that when the ball is dead, the stumps mics aren’t supposed to be on,” Smith said.
“It’s up to the host broadcaster to make sure that is the case.
“Unfortunately a few people have been caught saying a few things when the stump mic shouldn’t be on. I think that’s something the ICC needs to look at, to make sure they’re off when the ball is dead.”
Smith suggested his pre-match meeting with du Plessis was productive.
“If they [umpires] hear something going on, it’s about going to either myself or Faf to ensure that we have our troops in line and playing within the guidelines. That was the conversation,” he said.
“There’s nothing wrong with a bit of banter out in the field. It’s just making sure we’re not getting personal or crossing any lines.”
Du Plessis expressed similar sentiments.
“I don’t have a problem with chirping, I think chirping is good for the game,” he said.
* You can follow all the action from the second Test between South Africa and Australia in Port Elizabeth from 6:55pm AEDT on Friday night on Grandstand Digital, the Listen app and online.