Johannesburg - Proteas captain Faf du Plessis admits he was suspicious of Australia's roughing up tactics before the ball-tampering incident that rocked the third Test at Newlands last weekend.
Du Plessis, himself found guilty of ball-tampering twice during his career, said it is "unheard of" for a ball to reverse as early as it had done in South Africa throughout this series.
From the first Test in Durban the Aussies have got the ball to reverse to at times devastating effect.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with that, but when Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all admitted to a plan to work on the ball with sandpaper at Newlands, questions were raised as to whether it had been happening throughout the entire series.
Smith remains adamant that Newlands was the first and only time that the Aussies have tampered under his leadership.
Du Plessis was careful not to accuse anyone of anything illegal, but he said he believed the Aussies had deliberately looked to rough the ball up earlier in the series.
"I thought so, yes," he said on Thursday.
"This series, the ball has been reversing quite a bit.
"I joked after the last Test that I’ve never seen so many guys put their hands up to open the batting. Usually it’s green wickets and it’s spicy, but now the biggest challenge is coming in when the ball is tailing around, whether it’s at 30 overs or 50 overs.
"It was just the nature of when the ball was reversing.
"Without having any evidence, we thought there is no way the ball can go so early. It’s just unheard of for a South African series with the ball.
"As I said, we try and do the same. We try to get the ball to talk as much as possible. But we certainly don’t walk around with sandpaper in our pockets."
Without evidence, though, Du Plessis felt it was irresponsible to speculate too much.
"I think it’s harsh for people to judge when they don’t have evidence," he said.
"I can sit here and say what I think, but without having real evidence I think it is unfair for me to say.
"Whether it was really good skill in trying to bounce the ball in in the right places to get it roughed up, or whether it was someone working the ball … but definitely this series the ball has reversed a lot."