They booed, they chanted and they even dressed as sandpaper. And this was only on the first day of England's summer.
But with three-and-a-half long months ahead, David Warner responded in the best possible way: With runs.
Some 434 days after that fateful day in Cape Town, Warner cast aside the ugly fallout of the ball-tampering scandal to finish 89no in his first official game back for Australia against Afghanistan.
Steve Smith was almost there at the end too, caught for 18 with just three runs required as the defending champions began their World Cup campaign with a seven- wicket win in Bristol.
At one point early in the afternoon Warner signed autographs and posed for photos with fans on the boundaries.
But the niceties were few and far between.
He was booed onto the field when he walked out to bat and again when he hit his first boundary.
They booed again when he brought up his half-century, and they reached their crescendo when he was named man of the match.
There were jeers for Smith too when he walked out and joined his former vice- captain.
Two spectators dressed up as sandpaper stood on an overlooking balcony holding a big image of a cricket ball.
At times, chants of "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie; Cheats, Cheats, Cheats" broke out.
But it did little to stop Warner.
He was cagier than usual with the bat, his first 20 runs coming off 40 balls as Aaron Finch did all the damage at the other end.
But the signs were still there in his 114 balls in the middle.
He twice cut balls behind point to the boundary with very little room offered outside off stump, one bringing up his half-century off Rashid Khan.
He was quick as ever between the wickets, and his only real chance came on 10 when he was dropped in the slips off Hamid Hassan and the ball went for four.
Smith's innings wasn't as long as the pair combined for a 49-run partnership, but he already let his bat do the talking with a century in last month's warm-up game over England.
He also had an immediate impact in the field on Saturday, forcing a mix-up and running out Mohammad Nabi when he dived to cut off a ball one-handed.