Australia vice-captain David Warner faces possible suspension from the second Test in Port Elizabeth after he was charged for his involvement in a stairwell altercation with Proteas gloveman Quinton de Kock at tea on day four of the first Test in Durban.
Warner was judged to have breached Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct for bringing the game into disrepute, while de Kock was charged with a Level 1 offence for the same breach.
A Level 2 charge brings with it 3-4 demerit points and up to 100 per cent fine of a player’s match fee.
If a player accrues four demerit points in the space of 24 four months they are suspended for one Test match or two limited-overs internationals, whichever comes first.
Both Australia and South Africa have until tomorrow to respond to the charges handed out by match referee Jeff Crowe.
CCTV footage emerged on Sunday night showing Warner and de Kock trading verbal barbs in the stairwell outside the players’ dressing rooms as both teams made their way from the field for the tea break.
Warner had to be physically restrained by his teammates after it was alleged de Kock made derogatory comments about the Australian’s wife.
But in the wake of the incident, the Proteas camp declared both sides got personal on the field, a claim Australia captain Steve Smith denied after his side wrapped up a 118-run win at Kingsmead yesterday.
"We were certainly very chirpy out on the field as well,” Smith told reporters on Monday.
“As far as I'm aware we didn't get personal towards Quinton.
"But look – what he said got a little bit personal towards Davey – and as we saw it certainly provoked an emotional response.
"That's from my opinion – and what I've heard from the guys as well.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure but as far as I'm aware I don't think we got personal."
While Warner faces a possible suspension, de Kock will be free to play in the second Test. A Level 1 charge brings with it 1-2 demerit points and a fine of up to 50 per cent.
Four players in the series, excluding Warner and de Kock, have demerit points on their records.
Proteas seamer Kagiso Rabada has five demerit points on his record, Du Plessis has three points, while Australia's Tim Paine and Nathan Lyon have one point each.
If Rabada, who was suspened for one Test against England last winter, is handed another three points before February next year he will suspended for up to two Tests or four ODIs/T20Is.
Qantas tour of South Africa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights
First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard
Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13. Live coverage
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage