CAPE TOWN: The flash point of an oft-heated three-Test series between Australia and South Africa came in Cape Town.
Not from a bouncer, send-off or sledge, rather a batsman picking up the ball and tossing it back to the bowler.
Cricket can be a funny game.
But there were no laughs to be had when Faf du Plessis plucked the ball from the pitch in the 34th over of the Proteas' innings, which by umpire error contained seven balls.
Du Plessis was rounded on by bowler Mitchell Johnson, David Warner and others as they tersely explained it wasn't his turn to field yet.
"They are pretty aggressive about that ball," du Plessis said.
"I thought I was just being a nice guy picking the ball up, saving their legs in the field.
"But they run like a pack of dogs around you when you get close to that ball.
"Whatever, that is probably the way they play their cricket. I always pick the ball up, it means nothing."
Johnson took a different viewpoint.
"We could have appealed for it, I guess," Johnson said.
"I was actually going to let the ball hit me but he didn't throw it straight.
"I think we've always been like that, Hadds (Brad Haddin) has been a big believer in wanting to be the one to pick the ball up, or a fielder around there.
"That's our job. We're out there to field."
The umpires had a quick word with du Plessis after the incident.
"I don't know exactly what the ruling is but I think he just said that because they are so upset about picking it up (don't do it)," the right-hander said of the conversation.
"I see the ball as being dead when it stops."
There have been only seven batsmen dismissed 'handled the ball' in Test cricket.
Former chairman of Australia selectors Andrew Hilditch is the only non-striker among them, having picked up the ball after a wayward throw in a 1979 Test against Pakistan in Perth.
Hilditch passed it back to Sarfraz Nawaz, who successfully appealed.
"I won't do it again," du Plessis said when one journalist raised Hilditch's dismissal.