Australia opener David Warner expressed his gratitude towards the South Africa crowd and said he was “overwhelmed” by the positive response he and Steve Smith have received in Australia’s ongoing tour to the rainbow nation.

Much was speculated ahead of the tour as many thought the duo of Smith and Warner would receive torrid reception from the South Africa crowd after their infamous ball-tampering scandal there in 2018. Incidentally, it is the cricketers’ first tour to the country since the incident.

However, the T20I series, where two matches have already been played, has seen no off-field controversy. Praising the crowd of Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, the venue of the first two T20Is, Warner said the fans were “outstanding” and “respectful”.

“I’ve pretty much been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had from the fans. The fans were just outstanding, they were very respectful,” Warner was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia’s digital platform cricket.com.au.

“I didn’t cop anything on the fence, the kids were yelling out for autographs and we obliged as we always do. It was a great atmosphere,” he added.

Though there were some hostile fans in the T20I series opener at Wanderers in Johannesburg with some holding up pieces of sandpaper towards Warner, these dissenters were firmly outnumbered by respectful supporters.

In the second T20I of the three-match series, South Africa on Sunday defeated Australia by 12 runs to square the series with a game to go.

Quinton de Kock, who played a captain’s knock of 70 runs off 47 balls to help his team post a fighting total, was declared the Player of the Match. Chasing a competitive target of 159 runs, opener David Warner with his unbeaten 67 off 56 balls failed to take Australia home.