SAfrica's Rabada charged over Smith shoulder bump, faces ban

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada bowls on the first day of the second cricket test between South Africa and Australia at St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Friday, March 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sheehan)

South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has been charged by match officials over the incident where he bumped into Australia captain Steve Smith on the opening day of the second cricket test

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is in danger of being banned for the rest of the series after he was charged on Saturday by match officials for intentionally bumping into Australia captain Steve Smith when he got him out on the first day of the second test in Port Elizabeth.

Rabada was charged with a level two breach of the International Cricket Council's code of conduct regarding inappropriate physical contact. Rabada bumped into Smith with his shoulder during his follow-through after dismissing the Australia skipper lbw on Friday at St. George's Park.

Rabada currently has five demerit points on his disciplinary record and will be banned for two tests if he reaches eight demerit points. Level two offenses carry a penalty of three to four demerits, which would take Rabada over the threshold.

Rabada will contest the charge on the basis that he claims the contact with Smith was unintentional, South Africa team spokeswoman Lerato Malekutu said. Rabada's hearing will take place on Sunday, Malekutu said. It was initially set for Saturday evening but was delayed for 24 hours because on-field umpire Chris Gaffaney, who is required to attend the hearing, was ill.

It's the second time the 22-year-old Rabada, recently ranked the No. 1 test bowler in the world, has been charged over inappropriate on-field physical contact. Last year he was found guilty of deliberate physical contact with Sri Lanka's Niroshan Dickwella and was given three demerit points. He served a one-test ban in England.

Rabada's is the fourth player disciplinary case of an ill-tempered South Africa-Australia series, which is only two days into the second of four tests.

Australia spin bowler Nathan Lyon was fined for bringing the game into disrepute after celebrating a wicket in the first test in Durban by intentionally dropping the ball on South Africa batsman AB de Villiers.

The animosity between the teams then spilled over in Durban when Australia's David Warner and South Africa's Quinton de Kock were involved in a confrontation on a staircase near the dressing rooms during a break in play. In the incident, a clearly angry Warner had to be restrained by teammates as he argued with de Kock.

Warner and de Kock were also fined and given demerit points but are both playing in the second test, as is Lyon.

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