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Sports

AFP
March 9, 2018

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SA, Australia captains hold clear-the-air talks

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa: Captains Faf du Plessis and Steve Smith met on Thursday ahead of the second Test between South Africa and Australia in an effort to put the focus back on cricket following controversial incidents in the first Test in Durban.

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They agreed that they and the umpires had a responsibility to avoid the conflict that led to three players being fined after the first Test in Durban.“It was nice to have a chat and ensure that we’re playing within the spirit of the game and that cricket is what is written about and talked about after this game,” said Smith.

“It’s been all about the indiscretions in the last fixture and that’s not what we want for the game. Cricket has got to be the winner.”Speaking before the meeting, which happened between the pre-match press conferences by both captains, Du Plessis said the captains needed to “make sure that things don’t get to the stage that they got to in the previous game”.

Smith said the role of the umpires had been discussed. “If they hear something going on they (should) go to either Faf or myself and make sure we have our troops in line.”

But both camps continued to disagree on what sparked the conflict in Durban.Australian vice-captain David Warner, who was fined 75 percent of his match fee and given three demerit points following a clash with South Africa’s Quinton de Kock as the players went to the dressing rooms at the tea interval, told Australian journalists that De Kock had made “disgusting” comments about Warner’s wife.

Du Plessis, though, said De Kock had been provoked by personal comments made by Warner.“I don’t think we did a great deal wrong,” said Smith. “In our meeting we talked about swearing. We don’t want that happening on the field.”

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