They booed him as he made his way to the crease; they rose as a man to him as Faf du Plessis strode unbowed through the rubble of the rest of the South African innings with an unbeaten tally of 118 runs in the third Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
Du Plessis has shown remarkable calm through the storm raised down under over the ball-tampering incident during the second Test in Hobart. That victory, by an innings and 80 runs, gave the side he leads a series-clinching 2-0 advantage.
The stand-in South African captain maintained that he had not cheated but accepted the guilty verdict handed down in the hearing.
But, fighter that he has proved himself to be, he refused to become a static target for the Australian media and delivered his reply in the best way he could, with an innings that saved the Proteas from humiliation. The Australians should have known what was coming.
It was on his Test debut in Adelaide four years ago that it all first happened for him: a first innings 78 and a match-saving 110 in the second. What remains unclear, though, is whether the pink ball changed trajectory after the 17 fours Faf clattered to the boundary on Thursday.