South Africa say they will target Australian opener David Warner.
South Africa say they will target Australian opener David Warner.

Target Warner! Proteas to bait combustible Aussie

SOUTH Africa captain Faf du Plessis admits his side will look at baiting David Warner into an outburst during the second Test as a tactical ploy to get him suspended.

Refusing to back down from their defence that provocation was an excuse for Quinton de Kock's ugly slur about Warner's wife, the Proteas skipper has further lit the fuse by suggesting Warner will be a prime target in Porth Elizabeth.

Du Plessis said that the "blood was pumping" for his players and it would seem there's every chance of tensions erupting once again, despite the best efforts of match referee Jeff Crowe to cool both teams down.

Before the series, Australia skipper Steve Smith indicated his side may try to provoke a reaction from Proteas spearhead Kagiso Rabada given he is on the knife's edge of suspension.

The ugly incident that has marred the series.
The ugly incident that has marred the series.

Du Plessis said South Africa's main focus would be on beating Australia on skill, but admits the potentially series-changing factor that Warner is only one indiscretion away from suspension may entice his team into some tactical button pushing.

"I didn't think of it (as a tactic) before this series but I did hear that (Warner on edge) yesterday and that's probably a little bit smart by being like that," du Plessis said.

"If you can entice someone to make a mistake to get them missing the rest of the series that's probably a tactical move.

"Before we came into this series, before I looked at all the demerit points, all of them were in the South African team so there wasn't much on the Australian team.

"Now that it's happened it's possibly an angle we can look to get to. But once again for me it's more about your presence as a player than the stuff that comes out of your mouth."

One more charge will see David Warner miss a Test.
One more charge will see David Warner miss a Test.

Du Plessis has repeatedly made it clear that South Africa expect bully boy tactics from Australia.

However, the Proteas captain denied it means he has less respect for Australia than other teams in world cricket.

Du Plessis once again called on umpires to ensure that his players aren't subjected to relentless verbal barrages.

"I'm not expecting Australia to change their style of play. They're a team that's always done it and will always do it," he said.

"They're not going to change that overnight. They've always had characters in their team and … (generally they) have two or three guys and see that it's almost their job in the team to go that route.

"For me it will just be to make sure that you have guys in your team that are pushing that line.

"As captain you can make sure you keep them calm and things don't get to a stage where they got to in previous games.

Faf du Plessis gestures during a press conference. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
Faf du Plessis gestures during a press conference. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP DAVE HUNT

"If captains are not close by that role will fall on umpires to make sure that if they see someone who is continuously trying to get a reaction out of a player (they intervene).

"I don't have an issue with chirping not at all, I think chirping is good for the game, it's just what you say is where we talk about that line."

That said, du Plessis still argued de Kock's innocence.

"If you know Quinton's character you know he's a very, very quiet guy. He doesn't say a word. I've struggled to get a word out of him on the field," said the skipper.

"I know he's a very, very relaxed laid-back guy.

Quinton de Kock behind the stumps.
Quinton de Kock behind the stumps.

"So the point leading up to that (was there) would have been a lot of stuff said to Quinton and a lot of personal stuff.

"Once again that line was very personal as can be talked about. But I thought he actually handled himself well in terms of all this stuff that was said to him and he walked off the field and eventually reached a point where he said enough was enough.

"And I think any guy in the world depending on how far you pushed him eventually they were going to say something back so they said something back.

"So for me it was for (match officials) to understand there was a lot of things that happened before that moment and we wanted to get that point across to see that maybe they understand that's the case.

"But according to them, you still need to be accountable for (your actions) that and that's fine."