Footage emerged of Warner having a heated exchange with South African batsman De Kock, in which Warner was restrained first by Usman Khawaja, then Tim Paine.

The argument took place in a stairwell during the match's tea break, following an over-exuberant celebration by the Aussies after running-out AB de Villiers.

The celebration caused some controversy among the South Africans and drew criticism from Proteas' legend Graeme Smith.

This isn't the first time an Australian - South African test series has courted controversy, with various issues over the years between two of test cricket's strongest sides overshadowing the bat and ball.

In their last test match, AB de Villiers was famously picked up by a television camera allegedly tampering the ball. 

It's unclear how the footage was released to the public, but after fielding claims it was an unseemly sight for Australian cricket, South African batsman Aiden Markram said Australia never took sledging too far.

"It's natural when you play against the Australians that there's a lot of chatter on the field," he said.

"I certainly don't mind. It never really gets out of line either, not a lot of swearing or things like that happen."