Australian vice-captain David Warner has been cleared to take on South Africa in the second Test after accepting three demerit points and a heavy fine for his role in a stairway scuffle in Durban.
Warner forfeited 75 per cent of his match fee — approximately $13,500 — after being slapped with a charge of bringing “the game into disrepute” for clashing with South Africa’s Quintin de Kock outside the dressing rooms after a tense final session on Day 4 of the first Test at Kingsmead.
The Australian batsman was handed a Level 2 charge by the International Cricket Council, which is worth three to four demerit points and up to 100 per cent of a player’s match fee, with four points resulting in an automatic one-Test suspension.
By accepting a penalty of three demerit points, Warner will be free to play in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Proteas wicketkeeper de Kock was handed a Level 1 charge, worth one to two demerit points and up to 50 per cent of the match payment, for his role in the confrontation where he was accused of making derogatory comments about Warner’s wife.
Comments about family are ‘unacceptable’
One man who was in close proximity to both players — both throughout the day’s play and heading in to the players’ tunnel — was Australian wicket-keeper Tim Paine.
David Warner was fined 75 per cent of his match fee for his role in the scuffle. (AP: Themba Hadebe)
He insists nothing personal was said by Warner, and that the umpires would have stepped in if something had been said.
“As I went past de Kock, he said what he said and luckily I suppose I was there in between,” Paine said 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.”
Line drawn in sledging battle
Australia have long had a reputation for attempting to unsettle opposition players with words as well as actions, but Paine says there was a line the team would not cross.
“Our stuff is the way we’ve always played our cricket,” he said. “Certainly it’s hard, and we like to make them feel uncomfortable out there.
“But we don’t cross the line and bring people’s wives and family into the cricket game. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as we play.”
Australia won the opening Test of the four-match series by 118 runs.
Tim Paine (right) says the Australians may sledge, but don’t focus on opposition’s families. (Reuters: Rogan Ward)