Cricket Australia (CA) has lodged a formal complaint after David Warner was verbally abused by a spectator on day two of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, with coach Darren Lehmann describing the local crowds as “disgraceful”.
The four-Test series between Australia and South Africa continues to careen from controversy to controversy, with the match at Newlands delivering more ugliness.
A spectator was evicted from the ground on day two, having peppered Warner with personal abuse in the staircase after the batsman’s dismissal.
A total of 12 spectators have been turfed from the Test for offensive behaviour. Most of it has concerned players’ wives and families and not all of it has been directed at Warner.
Lehmann, who has been involved with the sport as either a player, commentator or coach for the past 30 years, said he had never heard crowd behaviour get so vile.
“Not on this level,” he said.
“It’s been disgraceful. You’re talking about abuse of various players and their families and personal abuse.
“It shouldn’t happen. Banter, that’s fine. Banter is good-natured fun by crowds but they’ve gone too far here … it’s been poor.
“We’ll see what happens, hopefully something.”
Lehmann said his team accepted they would be taunted “all around the world”.
“But as soon as they cross the line and they talk about players’ families the whole time and getting abused like that, it’s just not on,” he said.
“You don’t expect that when you’re leaving the ground. Having a go at someone’s family — it’s just disgraceful.”
David Warner was abused by a spectator after he was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada. (AP: Halden Krog)
Warner incident further strains Australia-South Africa relations
The relationship between the boards of CA and Cricket South Africa (CSA) has already been stretched in this series.
CSA was in damage control during the second Test over a photograph showing Clive Eksteen and Altaaf Kazi, two high-ranking officials, posing with fans wearing Sonny Bill Williams masks at St George’s Park.
Kazi has left the organisation but Eksteen still has his job. The pair had overruled CA’s request for the masks to be banned at the venue.
Warner’s staircase stoush with Quinton de Kock, ignited by a comment the Proteas wicketkeeper made about Warner’s wife Candice, also tested both boards’ diplomatic skills.
At Newlands, Warner was clearly unhappy but not nearly as demonstrative compared to his rampage in Durban.
The security guard accompanying the batsman shook his head at the spectator, urging him to be quiet and move away.
The commotion captured the interest of the Proteas, who were jubilantly celebrating after Kagiso Rabada uprooted Warner’s off stump.
“We can’t control that. Unfortunately, there is a bit of alcohol and there’s hot sun,” Morne Morkel said.
“It’s part of the game but there is a line and it’s important not to cross that.”
Australia’s head of security Frank Dimasi raced down from the rooms and had a long discussion with local guards after the incident.
The next dismissed batsman, Usman Khawaja, was notably offered a far-greater level of protection.