Warner v de Kock spat exposes Australian sledging hypocrisy... again

If that wasn't bad enough, two Cricket South Africa executives chose to take a picture with fans donning the masks clearly used to bait Warner, whose wife Candice was controversially pictured in a bathroom cubicle with the New Zealand rugby star back in 2007.

After an ugly feud with South African keeper-bat Quinton de Kock during the first Test in Durban last week, Warner has reason to be aggrieved during the ongoing second Test too.

Warner was fined 75% of his match fee and earned three demerit points for the incident, later claiming de Kock had made a "vile and disgusting comment", about his wife Candice.

The photograph, taken on the first day of the second test in Port Elizabeth on Friday, shows Cricket South Africa's commercial and marketing head, Clive Eksteen, and communications head Altaaf Kazi standing and smiling with three men wearing masks with the face of New Zealand rugby global Sonny Bill Williams. The left-handed opener was left fuming after De Kock had allegedly said something about Candice during the first Test, and the home fans wanted to further ridicule the Australian.

The mother-of-two celebrated her 32nd birthday on Tuesday, and her cricket star husband, David Warner, made sure to pay tribute to "his rock" with a sweet post on social media.

While it was reported that the Proteas believe the strapping on Warner's hand helped alter the condition of the ball, former Australia pace bowler Ryan Harris, who used to be Warner's teammate, brushed aside South Africa's supposed allegations. The Australian team and its management are understandably enraged.

"On behalf of CSA I extend my honest apologies to the Board of Cricket Australia (CA), its officials, team management, players and their families", he said.

Warner credits Candice for turning his life around.

The mask saga in Port Elizabeth is the latest incident to overshadow the cricket contest between two of the leading teams in the world, a series which was expected to be fierce but has been undermined by verbal exchanges between players, off-field incidents, and resulting disciplinary cases.

CSA though understood the seriousness of the matter and released an apology statement to Cricket Australia (CA) and David Warner over the same. CSA has apologised in a statement, but at this stage nobody from the sporting organisation has spoken directly with David or Candice.

Vanessa Coleman