How Steve Smith 'gave' Warner gift to Sth Africa

SOUTH African captain Faf du Plessis has revealed Aussie captain Steve Smith freely gifted him the information he needed to pull off one of cricket's most cunning plays.

The Proteas skipper has confirmed his shock decision to declare South Africa's first innings at 9/259 was motivated by his desire to catch Australian opener David Warner out.

Warner left the field to receive treatment on a shoulder injury and had only just returned to the field when du Plessis sent Australia in to face the final 12 overs of the day.

Warner was ruled ineligible to bat for Australia for the opening six minutes of the home team's innings because of his time off the field.

du Plessis says he only thought about springing the trap when he overheard Steve Smith register his concern about Warner's availability with umpires Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong.

"I was aware of it," du Plessis told ABC Grandstand.

"I saw them speaking to the umpire and I put my ear a little closer towards them and as soon as I heard that he was in trouble with the time I ran off."

The fill-in skipper's leadership received a glowing endorsement from the Channel 9 cricket commentary team.

"I tell you what, it's another big tick for Faf du Plessis with his captaincy," Aussie Test legend Shane Warne said.

"I reckon he's worked that out. He knows that David Warner stayed off the field for too long and he's declared at 9/259 to try and eek out some extra runs.

"Australia have missed a trick and South Africa, they're right on the ball."

Aussie quick Josh Hazlewood said after the day's play he expects Warner to apologise to teammates over the incident.

"The guys were a little bit annoyed, especially Smithy and probably Uzzie who had to go out and bat," said Hazlewood.

"He went off for some treatment towards the end and was off for obviously too long and that messed the timings up and he couldn't bat straight away.

"It's just one of those things. It rarely happens but it happened today. I think Uzzie, the way he adapted to the situation he did a great job for us today.

"(Warner) will hold himself accountable, that's how Davey goes. He knows he did the wrong thing and (will) apologise to the group, learn from it and hopefully it doesn't happen again."

Former Aussie Test opener Michael Slater said Warner threw teammates Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw under the bus with his mistake.

"Faf du Plessis is always thinking," Slater said.

"Maybe he knew that and that's why he's declared.

"This is unnerving for Khawaja. It's a different role. David Warner would have been talking to Renshaw this week to get used to each other and try to form a partnership with the work they've done. Now he's not walking out there with the debutant. That throws the whole top order out."

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Topics:  australia cricket south africa steve smith

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