(Photo: Getty Images)
Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has publicly defended David Warner after leaked footage emerged of the batsman airing a verbal tirade towards Quinton de Kock after the end of a session.
It came after Australia won the first Test in Durban by 118 runs thanks to an exhibition from Mitchell Starc (9-109 for the match) in reverse-swing bowling, but a fiery finish has seen Lehmann add to Steve Smith’s defence of Warner.
“We’re certainly supporting David,” said Lehmann.
“We want to play a way that gets us success and for us we’ve just got to make sure we don’t cross the line, that’s the key.
In the wake of the events, Smith told reporters that de Kock had turned the usual boundaries of sledging into something that cut deeper, while admitting his own side had also stepped over the mark.
“What was said and done during that interval was regrettable on both sides,” said Smith. “Quinton got personal and evoked an emotional response from Davey. Those things are not on from both sides. Getting personal on the field is crossing the line in my opinion.”
Lehmann added: “There are things that cross the line and evoke emotion and you’ve got to deal with that behind closed doors and get better at that.”
South Africa and Australia travel to Port Elizabeth next in the four-match Test series with Lehmann in no doubt his side can’t afford to lose their focus.
“It’s going to be a bloody tough series, as we’ve seen over the five days here” Lehmann conceded.
“It was a really good game of cricket [in Durban]. We played well, there were ups and downs in the game.
“It’s going to be a tight series this one, there’s no doubt about that. It’s going to be played very hard on the field by both sides it looks like.
“Both sides are going to push the boundaries. That’s part and parcel of Test-match cricket. It’s a bloody tough game out there and you’re representing your country. We’re proud countries, both sides. The way they want to play is fiercely competitive on the ground. As long as it doesn’t get personal, that’s probably the key.”
— Dalean De Kock (@DayDekock) March 5, 2018