The many battles of South Africa and Australia

Michael Clarke takes James Pattinson away from Dale Steyn Getty Images

Dale Steyn and Michael Clarke, 2014

When South Africa toured Australia, then-captain Michael Clarke had engaged with Dale Steyn, which the South African speedster had not forgiven him for six months later on the return tour. The incident took place during the final Test at Newlands, with the series locked at 1-1.

On the fifth afternoon, as Australia tried desperately to nip out the South African tail, Vernon Philander was given out caught after appearing to glove one to short leg but survived on review. Steyn was at the other end and James Pattinson initially said something to him before Clarke became involved. Clarke and Steyn shook hands and had a chat as the match ended in an Australian victory, and Clarke told the media he had apologised to Steyn immediately afterwards. Six months later, when South Africa and Australia were playing in a triangular series in Zimbabwe, Steyn said he had taken what Clarke said "personally," and had not forgiven him.

Steyn wasn't the only one targeted in that match. AB de Villiers called some of the on-field chatter the worst he had ever heard and Faf du Plessis said Australia's fielders were "like a pack of dogs."

A young Graeme Smith and the Australian team, 2002

In his first Test series at the age of 20, Graeme Smith came up against a much-vaunted Australian attack at their peak. Two months later, he revealed to Sports Illustrated that they were as nasty in their words as their actions. Smith told the publication Brett Lee had threatened to "f****** kill me," after a mid-pitch collision, which Smith said he apologised for, that "all Warne does is call you a c*** all day," and that Matthew Hayden had hounded him taunts that he was not good enough.

Smith also claimed Glenn McGrath "doesn't stop cursing you," and got his own back when he asked McGrath if he was "constantly on your period," during the one-day series that followed. "It caused a massive fallout," Smith said. "After that he never stopped hurling abuse even when he was fielding at third man." Smith scored two second-innings half-centuries in that Test series but went on to play several special knocks against Australia, most memorably in the 2008-09 series that South Africa won. In the end, Smith also won Australian hearts, when he walked out to bat with a broken hand in the New Year's Test at the SCG in 2009, ultimately winning the respect of the same men who had so pointedly derided him.

Steve Waugh and Herschelle Gibbs, 1999

"You've just dropped the World Cup."

Steve Waugh didn't actually say it, conceding his riposte to Herschelle Gibbs was actually closer in tenor to "you've just cost your team the match". Either way, Waugh's words to Gibbs at Headingley when Australia were chasing a semi-final qualification in the 1999 World Cup, hung over the meetings of the two teams for years afterwards. For most of the preceding four years, South Africa had been a far superior ODI team to Australia, but had often failed to win when the pressure was on at the pointy end of an event. They were knocked out of the 1996 World Cup quarter-final by a hitherto struggling West Indies, were unbeaten in the 1996 Titan Cup before losing the final to India, and in apparent command of a triangular series in Australia in 1997-98 before losing the three-match finals series after being 1-0 up. By the time of the Headingley match, the Australians felt confident in their ability to psych out the Proteas, and in both this innings and the white-knuckle semi-final that followed, Waugh's team did just that.

Merv Hughes and spectator, 1994

Another incident caught on something other than the host broadcaster's cameras. A news crew in South Africa for Australia's first visit since the home side's readmission captured Merv Hughes and Tim May jogging up the tunnel towards the dressing rooms during a rain delay as they tried to stave off defeat. After a spectator poked his head above the barrier to offer Hughes some words of wisdom - far from the first time a boisterous crowd had done so in Johannesburg during the Test - the burly fast man doubled back, smashed his bat against the fence and asked whether or not the words might be repeated to his face; they were not.

Sanctioned lightly by the match referee Donald Carr, Hughes was to receive a far harsher penalty from his own board, with the following rebuke from the ACB chairman Alan Crompton: "The Board has made it very clear that restraint in the face of provocation should be part of the professionalism required to be demonstrated by every Australian cricketer." Hughes, who was also fined heavily for abusing Peter Kirsten during the match, played only one more Test.

Shane Warne and Andrew Hudson, 1994

The wages of fame were writ large across Warne's outburst upon bowling Andrew Hudson around his legs earlier in the same Johannesburg Test. As wicketkeeper Ian Healy and the rest of the team celebrated in customary manner, Warne ran provocatively at the mild-mannered Hudson, shrieking abuse in a send-off that shocked other members of the Australian side in the middle. As Warne has recounted: "I was desperate to get a wicket and with my third ball I bowled Hudson behind his legs. That set me off. I lost it completely and started telling him to `F*** off. Go on, Hudson, f*** off out of here!'"

Warne and Hughes both protested subsequently about the amount of aggressive attention and abuse they had faced from South African spectators at the Wanderers, which had pushed the pair to breaking point. But Warne had also escaped sanction for an earlier moment against South Africa, when he had delivered a similar, if less demonstrative, send-off to Daryll Cullinan at the SCG after bowling him with a flipper. In that instance, the umpires had not intervened, leaving Warne to redraw the line in his own mind, until the day he bowled to Hudson.

"The film of that incident is pretty awful, and the guy in the footage is not the real me," Warne was to write in his autobiography. "Later, Paul Reiffel and David Boon said they had noticed that I was angry even before the game. Paul, who was 12th man, said I had been rude to him when I asked him to get a few balls so I could have a warm- up bowl. Boonie said I seemed angry and tense for the whole week."