"You could say that the contact [from Rabada towards Smith] was very, very minimal".
South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada was suspended for two test matches and will miss the rest of the series against Australia, hours after being named man of the match in his team's six-wicket win in the second test on Monday.
Kagiso Rabada ran havoc yet again as Australia perished after a not so worthy lead of 100 on day 4 at Port Elizabeth.
"Our style of play is never wanting to swear at players and to trip them all the time", said du Plessis in the post-match press conference. "If I knew I did it deliberately, I wouldn't have gone to contest", Rabada said.
His bowling performance sees him leapfrog England's James Anderson in the rankings, though, and Rabada crosses the 900-point mark in ratings, becoming the 23rd player to have achieved the feet.
Match referee Jeff Crowe said: "I found that there was contact between Rabada and Smith, and in my judgement the contact by Rabada was inappropriate, and deliberate".
Following the second Test, which the Proteas won by six wickets to level the series at 1-1, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis revealed that he had not heard the latest on Steyn's recovery.
Rabada's current-day actions seem positively mundane and innocuous in comparison, and the incident that really triggered the two-game sit-out bizarrely - at least to me - also seemed among the more sterile on his own "list".
Rabada already had five demerit points on his record, and the three-point penalty for the offence means he incurs an automatic two-match ban. "Now, I just want to keep performing and winning games for the team and to keep getting better and better".
Before the verdict was announced, a remorseful Rabada said: "It's going to have to stop". The contact (between Rabada and Smith) was very minimal, it was a shirt flick of two players and you would get one or two demerit points as a slap on the wrist because it wasn't full body contact.
"[I need to] see it as a big learning curve and not repeat the same mistake ..."
Mitchell Marsh lost 20% of his match fee and gained a demerit point for swearing after he was dismissed by Rabada on Monday.
Marsh was the fifth player after South Africa's Rabada and Quinton de Kock and Australia's Warner and Nathan Lyon to be found guilty of misconduct in an ill-tempered series that is only halfway through. I won't change the way I express myself but I will get far away from the batter. With Virat Kohli not having received even an extended eyebrow raise for the way in which he walked up to South African batsmen and had words with them when they went out in the recent series against South Africa, this is all starting to feel a little one-sided for the home team. "I'm certainly looking forward to him playing a huge part in the upcoming games", Du Plessis said after things up inside four days.