South Africa v Australia: Match referee says 'I have never seen such animosity'

Australia captain Steve Smith is approached by South Africa bowler Kagiso Rabada after his dismissal
An incident involving Steve Smith and Kagiso Rabada happened on day one of the second Test

A match referee during the Test series between South Africa and Australia said he had "never seen such animosity between two teams".

Jeff Crowe's remarks were in an ICC document detailing the successful appeal of the Proteas' bowler Kagiso Rabada against a two-match ban.

Rabada brushed shoulders with Australia captain Steve Smith after celebrating his dismissal in the second Test.

That incident took place after Australia won a fractious opening Test.

"Never in my 14 years of refereeing have I seen such animosity between two teams that was mainly a result of the debacle in the previous Test in Durban," said Crowe.

"This I have no doubt is a contributing factor to the events that occurred under this COC (code of conduct) charge."

South Africa won the four-match series 3-1 but the first Test was marred by an incident involving Australia vice-captain David Warner and South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, for which both were fined.

The controversy involving Rabada's ban followed in the second match before Smith, along with team-mates Warner and Cameron Bancroft, were banned for ball-tampering after the third Test.

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Smith breaks down in news conference

Smith and Warner were banned for a year by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension.

Australia coach Darren Lehmann also resigned following the ball-tampering scandal.

Tim Paine, who took over from Smith as captain, admitted Australia must improve their "behaviour" after losing the fourth Test.

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