Du Plessis plays down heated exchange with Broad, Buttler in fourth Test
Embattled South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has insisted his hostile exchange of words with England players Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad was just an example of him standing up to his opponents.
Du Plessis appeared to be intentionally barging into Buttler's shoulder while involved in a verbal spat with Broad on the fourth day of the final Test at Johannesburg.
The incident took place when du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen briefly resisted England's victory charge with a stubborn 92-run stand.
The evidently frustrated England players seemed to be getting irked by du Plessis' habit of picking up the ball immediately after playing a defensive stroke.
In one such instance, Sam Curran's throw went wayward and struck the Proteas skipper on his pads, leading to the utterance of impolite phrases from both parties.
Du Plessis was then seen walking into Buttler, with whom most of South Africa's playing XI has harboured animosity following the wicketkeeper's abusive language directed at Vernon Philander in the second Test.
"That's part of my character," du Plessis said after his team crashed to a 191-run defeat.
"If you go back you'll find I'm always involved in a little bit of something in a game, trying to show that fight as a leader of the team to show you don’t stand back to the opposition.
"It's not like I'm looking for it but if it comes across my way I won't back down. So that was just him (Broad) saying something to me and me saying something back."
"I don't think either Jos or myself knew we touched each other," he clarified.
"It was just myself and Broady having a go at each other at that stage and it was him trying to get between me and him. There was no malicious intent."
It remains to be seen whether du Plessis will be sanctioned for his actions, though Broad was fined 15% of his match fee and handed a demerit point for using an audible obscenity.
Joe Root also played down the incident claiming it to be "absolutely nothing" and that he was more concerned this would galvanise his counterpart into playing a lengthy dogged knock.
"I thought Faf was using it to get himself going and my worry was that it was going to work in his favour. It was absolute handbags."
Du Plessis was dismissed thereafter for 35 off 92 deliveries. To add to his woes, South Africa were fined 60% of their match fee and docked six World Test Championship points for maintaining a slow over-rate.