Aussies prepared for hostile Bullring

A sell-out is expected at the Wanderers for Australia's first T20 international series-opener.
A sell-out is expected at the Wanderers for Australia's first T20 international series-opener.

Australia's cricketing officials are confident there'll be no security issues in their T20 series-opener against South Africa at one of the sport's most hostile venues.

A sell-out crowd is expected at the Wanderers on Friday night (Saturday morning AEDT) for David Warner and Steve Smith's first match in South Africa since the ugly 2018 Test series that culminated in the ball-tampering scandal.

The Johannesburg fortress has been a magnet for crowd incidents, the most recent of which involved England star Ben Stokes lashing out at a fan after he was likened to pop star Ed Sheeran.

International cricket matches in South Africa are largely managed by the venues themselves rather than by the sport's governing body.

Management at the Bullring have promised to beef up security and Cricket Australia is understood to be comfortable with the arrangements, as is players union boss Alistair Nicholson, who is in Johannesburg with the team to provide support if necessary.

"It's positive that Cricket South Africa are taking it seriously. Hopefully that comes through to the ground operations," Nicholson told AAP.

"Sitting down and talking with Cricket Australia in the last couple of days, they're obviously very wary of that. But it's something that hopefully the South African crowds don't over-step the line on."

The Australian Cricketers Association chief executive said players would support each other should they face crowd abuse.

"The main thing that I think will be reinforced is just making sure that the other guys on the field are looking after each other and then if players are feeling that they're not comfortable with the conditions, then they get that through to team management," Nicholson said.

"At this stage I think we're all ready to get into it tomorrow and see how it goes."

NOTABLE INCIDENTS AT THE BULLRING:

* Ben Stokes: England's vice-captain lost his cool after what he termed "repeated abuse" from the crowd upon being dismissed. The allrounder called a spectator, who had likened Stokes to pop singer Ed Sheeran, a "f****** four-eyed c***". Stokes apologised and received a fine.

* Imran Tahir: The Pakistan-born Proteas spinner confronted members of the Wanderers crowd after being racially abused during an ODI against India in 2018. Tahir accompanied security guards to identify the culprit and angrily remonstrated with fans.

* Kevin Pietersen: The former England superstar felt the wrath of the Wanderers crowd when he returned to his birth nation in 2005 for an ODI. "The crowd was so aggressive, so intimidating, so full of hatred I felt that if they could have got on to the pitch and physically harmed me, they would have," he recounted in his autobiography.

* Merv Hughes: The burly paceman memorably lost his cool in 1994, hitting his bat on the fence after receiving some unsolicited advice from a fan. The episode prompted Wanderers officials to install a roof over the walkway.

Australian Associated Press