There have been instances when play has been stopped due to bad light, rain and wet outfield. However, the third ODI between South Africa and Sri Lanka was held up because of an un’bee’lievable factor. The delay was such that it got the crowd and the players buzzing.
The incident occurred in the 25th over of the Sri Lanka innings. The visitors had reached 117/4 when Chris Morris was running up to bowl to Asela Gunaratne when the umpire suddenly told Morris to stop bowling. Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis instructed all the South Africa players to fall flat on the ground as a swarm of bees invaded the Wanderers. There was a hold-up in play as the ground-staff cleared the bees. Play resumed almost immediately.
However, in the 27th over, the bees returned with a vengeance and this time play was halted for close to one hour. The groundsman had to employ fire extinguishers to clear the bees. On air, former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels suggested that the bees might be attracted by the colour of the South Africa jersey, which was Pink. Every year, South Africa’s team wear the Pink jersey in the Johannesburg ODI to raise awareness about breast cancer.
The bees were the crucial factor in the match as Sri Lanka collapsed from 117/4 to be 163 all-out. South Africa coasted to a seven-wicket win thanks to AB de Villiers’ unbeaten 60 off 61 balls to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
Play disrupted other than the elements
It seems animals have taken a keen interest to disrupt a passage of play in cricket. Recently in the Vizag Test match between India and England, a dog ran on to the outfield and refused to go. The ground-staff took so much time to take the dog out that players had to take the Tea break. The dog became such an overnight sensation that a Twitter handle, @VizagDog was created.
When it comes to bees, this is not the first time in the world that play has been halted because of them. In the 2008 Test match between India and Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla, play was held up by a swarm of bees. For some time, the ground started to be known as the ‘Bee’roz Shah Kotla.
In the 2007/08 Kandy Test match between Sri Lanka and England, the ground failed to have a Plan Bee in place as the swarm held play up for a bit. England lost the Test match by 88 runs and lost the series 1-0.