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Warner cleared to play second Test

Vice-captain accepts penalty of three demerit points and a heavy fine for Durban incident

Australia vice-captain David Warner is free to play in the second Test against South Africa after accepting match referee Jeff Crowe’s sanction for the stairwell incident in Durban.

Warner was charged with a Level 2 breach of the ICC's code of conduct for bringing the game into disrepute and has been fined 75 per cent of his match fee (approximately $13,500) and given three demerit points.

CCTV shows Warner-de Kock incident

A Level 2 offence can warrant up to four demerit points being issued, which equates to an automatic suspension of one Test or two ODIs/T20I, whichever comes first.

But Warner has accepted a sanction of three points, meaning he's free to play in the second Test in Port Elizabeth, which starts on Friday.

It is unknown whether South Africa have accepted the Level 1 charge handed out to Quinton de Kock for his involvement in the heated confrontation with Warner outside the team’s dressing rooms at tea on day four in Durban.

CCTV footage emerged on Sunday night showing Warner and de Kock trading verbal barbs before the Australian had to physically restrained by his teammates.

Lehmann backs Warner as vice-captain

The incident was allegedly sparked by de Kock after the gloveman made derogatory comments about the Warner’s wife.

While the Proteas camp are adamant Warner got personal when sledging de Kock in the lead-up to the confrontation, Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine called the hosts’ claims "completely false".

"At no stage was Quinton’s family mentioned, that’s 100 per cent false," Paine told reporters in Port Elizabeth.

"I don’t know how their team manager can hear from where he’s sitting but from where I was, which was right near the whole time, there was nothing we said that was inappropriate.

"Our stuff is the way we’ve always played our cricket.

Proteas legend weighs in on stairway incident

"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."

Before the footage was revealed and the incident known to the public, South Africa opener Aiden Markram – who was batting with de Kock before tea – said the Australian sledging "never really gets out of line", a comment that appears at odds with what his captain Faf du Plessis after Australia’s 118-run win at Kingsmead.

I enjoy the chat from the Aussies: Markram

Du Plessis said on Monday: "All I've heard is there was a lot of personal stuff on the field already, to and from (both sides)."

But Markram appeared fine with the on-field banter between the sides.

"Obviously, it’s natural when you play against the Australians that there’s a lot of chatter on the field,” Markram said at stumps on day four after making 143.

"Something that I certainly don’t mind, something that keeps me in the game and keeps me going, keeps me motivated.

It needs to stay on the field: Faf

"And it never really gets out of line either, not a lot of swearing or things like that happen.

"There are a few here and there but it’s not the end of the world.

"I believe it’s part of the game. It’s how the should be played, nice and hard, and makes success that bit more rewarding."

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