South African captain AB de Villiers says Australia's sledging cricketers can't expect the Proteas to want to be mates with them off the field.
De Villiers admits there was ''lots of personal stuff'' said by Michael Clarke's side in their fiery Test series won 2-1 by Australia earlier this year, and some players in the South African squad weren't impressed.
When told Clarke had personally apologised for some of his heated on-field comments in the aftermath to the epic third Test in Cape Town, de Villiers quipped: ''I didn't know about that, but apology accepted.''
However he went on to indicate that the 'what happens on the field stays on the field' code so often trotted out by sportsmen doesn't necessarily apply when it comes to South Africa's attitude towards the current Australian side.
It's understood only one South African player ventured into the Australian dressing rooms after the Cape Town Test to partake in the customary beer with the opposition at the end of a hard-fought series.
It sets the scene for another hostile confrontation in Harare, where South Africa and Australia will be vying for the main prize in the one-day tri-series also involving Zimbabwe.
De Villiers said he wasn't offended by the sledging directed at him, but Australia can't expect to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to pushing the envelope with on-field taunts.
''There was lots of personal stuff and certain guys take it in a different way,'' De Villiers said.
''I see that it's part of the game... but they can't expect us to be mates with them off the field then, if they get very personal.''
David Warner accused de Villiers of ball tampering during the series - which he's since apologised for - and South African star Faf du Plessis likened the Australians to a ''pack of dogs''.
Things came to a climax at the end of the final series-deciding Test when Vernon Philander was given a controversial reprieve by the umpires - setting up the possibility South Africa could hold on for a draw until Australia struck late.
Clarke was involved in a slanging match with Proteas star Dale Steyn which prompted the intervention of the umpires, and post-match the Australian skipper regretted his actions.
Warner, who isn't in Zimbabwe, said he regretted his allegation against de Villiers but insisted sledging is part of cricket.
''Obviously with myself coming out and saying the comment about AB de Villiers probably wasn't the smartest thing, and I regret saying that,'' he said.
''We set a standard where we want to go out there and play aggressive and hard cricket and not cross the line.
''There are some times you do nudge that line a fair bit and the odd occasion you might step over that, but you do have to realise that we're out there to win.
''We do like to be aggressive and sledging is a form of the game when we're out there.''
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