Warner receives emphatic Lehmann backing

Darren Lehmann was unequivocal in his support for under-fire Australia vice-captain David Warner following his spat with Quinton de Kock.

David Warner with Darren Lehmann   -  Getty Images

David Warner has received the emphatic backing of Australia coach Darren Lehmann, who says the opening batsman will continue as vice-captain following his spat with Quinton de Kock.

Australia resoundingly defeated South Africa in the first Test in Durban, but the match has been somewhat marred by unsavoury incidents including a staircase altercation between Warner and De Kock.

The pair clashed when the players left the field for tea on day four at Kingsmead, before footage on South African television appeared to show Warner being separated from De Kock.

Skipper Steve Smith was among those breaking up the duo and later said that Warner had reacted after De Kock "got personal".

The ICC has yet to announce if the pair will face punishment, but in the meantime Warner has the full backing of Lehmann.

When asked if Warner's position is under threat, Lehmann said: "No, he's vice-captain of the Australian cricket team.

"We're certainly supporting David. We want to play a way that gets us success and for us we've just got to make sure we don't cross the line, that's the key.

"There are things that cross the line and evoke emotion and you've got to deal with that behind closed doors and get better at that. Everyone has their own opinion. 

"We'll just wait and see what happens moving forward, how both teams want to play it. For us, we're here to win the series. It's going to be a tough series as we've seen over the five days here."

It remains unclear what sparked the confrontation, but Lehmann plans to meet with opposite number Ottis Gibson and urged Smith to follow suit with South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis.

"I'm sure the captains will chat and the coaches will chat and we'll get away to play the game," he added. 

"Both sides are going to push the boundaries. That's part and parcel of Test match cricket. It's a tough game out there and you're representing your country. Very proud countries, both sides. 

"The way they want to play is fiercely competitive on the ground. As long as it doesn't get personal, that's probably the key."

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