South Africa v Australia - 3rd Test: Day 4
South Africa v Australia - 3rd Test: Day 4

Sandpapergate hostilities set to resume

Twelve months on from one of the biggest scandals in Australian cricket, Steve Smith and Dave Warner will reunite with the South African players they cheated with sandpaper. What kind of treatment can they expect?

Twelve players from that infamous Test match in Cape Town 15 months ago are at the World Cup but Khawaja was confident Faf du Plessis's team would leave the heckling to Old Trafford in Manchester on Saturday night.

"Oh look, the South African guys are pretty good blokes," Khawaja said.

"I've known them for a long time and I'm sure they will treat them fairly. I think Steve and David are playing some beautiful cricket right now.

 

Warner and Smith celebrate a wicket against New Zealand
Warner and Smith celebrate a wicket against New Zealand

"They're part of an Australian team playing some really good cricket, who have fitted in perfectly. That's all they can do."

Seven Australians and five South Africans from the Cape Town game are in England, while Australian captain Tim Paine - who is a quasi-assistant coach for Australia A - was spotted at Saturday's World Cup win against New Zealand at Lord's.

Khawaja said that after eight World Cup games no opposition players had sledged Smith or Warner about the scandal that rocked Australian cricket.

While South Africa has since played Australia, winning an ODI series 2-1 down under last November, the final group match of the World Cup will be the first time Smith and Warner come face-to-face with their foes.

Du Plessis suspected the Aussies were cheating during last year's heated Test series, which his team won 3-1.

"This series the ball has been reversing quite a bit," du Plessis said at the time.

"We thought there was no way the ball can go so early - it's just unheard of for a South African series, with the ball to go this much."

But relations between the nations aren't as hostile as some would believe, with du Plessis sending Smith a personal message of support following his 12-month ban.

Australian captain Aaron Finch then named South African tearaway Kagiso Rabada as the player he wished he had access to on the eve of the tournament.

But while the 7-1 Aussies have stormed to the top of the World Cup ladder, South African (2-5) has never made a final and imploded last month on its way to an early elimination from the semi-final race.

"Losing is part of sport but it is worrying to see teams don't have to be at their best to beat the Proteas," legendary all-rounder Jaques Kallis said.

"It was something the Proteas prided themselves on," Kallis said after Pakistan beat South Africa team despite dropping five catches.

Du Plessis was also left frustrated by Rabada completing the Indian Premier League against South Africa's wishes.

Australia ordered IPL stars Smith, Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Jason Behrendorff home to a mandatory training camp in Brisbane two weeks before the T20 tournament ended.