South Africa's claims that Australia's sledging got personal in the fiery first Test in Durban are "100 per cent false" and "blatantly untrue", according to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
Paine's comments come off the back of South Africa team manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee saying on Monday the tourists and vice-captain David Warner "definitely" got personal in the field when sledging Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock.
"That's completely false," Paine told reporters in Port Elizabeth when asked about the validity of Moosagee's claims.
"At no stage was Quinton's family mentioned, that's 100 per cent false.
"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.
"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."
Paine's remarks are the latest entry into the back and forth between the two teams about who started the stairwell altercation that saw Warner physically restrained by his teammates after de Kock allegedly made a derogatory comment about Warner's wife, Candice.
Warner has since been charged with a Level 2 breach of the ICC code of conduct for bringing the game into disrepute and faces possible suspension from the second Test in Port Elizabeth starting Friday, while de Kock was reported for a Level 1 offence.
Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said both sides were guilty of crossing the line by getting personal during play at Kingsmead, a notion his counterpart Steve Smith denied and what Paine called "extremely disappointing".
"Obviously the situation wasn't ideal for both sides and was regrettable what happened up the stairs," Paine said.
"But it's disappointing that they've come out now and said a few things that are just blatantly untrue."
In the leaked CCTV footage, Test No.3 Usman Khawaja was the first player to hold back Warner as the situation escalated.
Paine then helped restrain Warner before Smith emerged from the dressing room to help suppress his deputy.
Warner's aggressive nature was allegedly sparked by de Kock's comment about the opener's wife, and Paine said he was right there to witness it.
"I think I was probably the only person that heard it," Paine said.
"Usman (Khawaja) had gone a bit further ahead and I was about to walk around them both, I just thought they were still going on just from the general chatter that was on the ground.
"And as I went past de Kock he said what he said and luckily I suppose I was there in between."
While former South Africa captain Graeme Smith says the umpires play a crucial role in making sure the players don't cross the line in the middle, Paine believes the fact that on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and S Ravi didn't report the Australians for their behavior towards the Proteas batsmen proves nothing untoward was said.
"The other thing I should have said was that the umpires didn't object to anything that was said," Paine said.
"We didn't have any of our players mention anyone's family members or wives. Even on the ground.
"I've heard some comments from their team manager or former captain in commentary that we were crossing the line.
"If you're crossing the line, the umpires will intervene, and they didn't."
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