Paine’s crack at SA: ‘They’re not telling the truth’
AUSTRALIA has moved to emphatically put on the record that Quinton de Kock's family was at no stage the subject of sledging by players during the first Test.
As both teams decide whether to accept charges laid down by the International Cricket Council over the stairwell blow-up in Durban, Aussie wicketkeeper Tim Paine has moved to deny claims from South Africa that David Warner had earlier made comments about de Kock's mother and sister.
Umpires have backed up Australia's insistence that they breached no personal boundaries, and it is understood match officials are fuming at insinuations from South Africa that they should have done more to nip on-field abuse in the bud.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis slammed the umpires post-match, arguing they should have intervened earlier, but that criticism has been shot down by match officials who say they heard nothing untoward or aggressive enough to prompt intervention.
Paine is one of those who heard the comment de Kock made about Candice Warner in the stairwell to send the vice-captain into a frenzy, as he moved to get his body between the pair.
The Tasmanian was also in the thick of the entire day's play and moved to completely shoot down claims that appear to have come from within the South African camp that Warner had abused de Kock over his mother and sister.
"That's completely false. At no stage was Quinton's family mentioned, that's 100% false," Paine said.
"I don't know how their team manager can hear from where he's sitting but from where I was, which was right near (de Kock) the whole time, there was nothing we said that was inappropriate.
"Our stuff is the way we've always played our cricket. 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.
"I've only ever heard one thing that has ever crossed the line and that was when we were coming up that stairwell.
"On the field they have been niggling away at us and we have been niggling away at them and that is where it is going to stay.
"It's extremely disappointing (those allegations have been made). Obviously the situation wasn't ideal for both sides and was regrettable what happened up the stairs, but it's disappointing that they've come out now and said a few things that are just blatantly untrue."
Paine suggested that the umpires had given Australian players their backing.
"The umpires didn't object to anything that was said," he said.
"We didn't have any of our players mention anyone's family members or wives. Even on the ground. I've heard some comments from their team manager or former captain in commentary that we were crossing the line. If you're crossing the line, the umpires will intervene, and they didn't.
"We were trying to make it an uncomfortable place for Quinton to bat, no doubt, but we didn't cross the line. We spoke about cricket stuff and a few little things with his fitness."
De Kock's sister came out on Twitter and slammed Warner, saying "WTF I will hurt you", but Australia are adamant that reports she was ever mentioned on the field are fabricated.
Australian players are privately saying they would have had no idea de Kock had a sister.
Footage appears to show Warner labelling de Kock a "f***ing sook" as the players leave the field to go up the race for tea.
Paine revealed he witnessed the entire blow up between Warner and de Kock first-hand.
"Obviously there was a bit being said on the way off and halfway up something inappropriate was said and David obviously reacted the way he did," the keeper said.
"I don't know what would have happened (if I wasn't between them) to be honest, but he was certainly extremely fired up and he had every right to be.
"I think at the time when it was actually said, I think I was probably the only person that heard it.
"Usman (Khawaja) had gone a bit further ahead and I was about to walk around them both, I just thought they were still going on just from the general chatter that was on the ground.
"As I went past de Kock, he said what he said and luckily I suppose I was there in between."
Paine said Australia wants Warner to be an aggressive figure on-field, but admits that there are limits.
"Yes, but there's a line that we don't cross and at times we probably went pretty close to it in this Test with some wicket celebrations and what happened with Nathan Lyon)," said Paine, referencing the contrary conduct charge levelled against Lyon.
"But 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."