South Africa v England Tests - Men's
Stokes sanctioned by the ICC as England dominate
England allrounder fined for an 'audible obscenity' as South Africa stumble on day two of the Johannesburg Test
26 January 2020, 08:05 AM AEST
England allrounder Ben Stokes has been fined and given a demerit point by the International Cricket Council after a foul-mouthed row with a spectator in the Johannesburg Test against South Africa.
Stokes, the outstanding player in a series which England lead 2-1, stopped briefly before he walked through the famous player’s tunnel after being dismissed for just two on Friday and appeared to challenge a spectator, who evidently insulted him.
"Come say that to me outside the ground, you f*****g four-eyed c**t," Stokes said, according to television footage captured as he left the field and started to climb the steps leading to the dressing room.
A clip of the incident was immediately distributed on social media.
Witnesses told The Guardian newspaper that a middle-aged man, wearing a South Africa one-day cricket team shirt, had targeted Stokes, allegedly calling him a "ginger c**t" and likening him to pop star Ed Sheeran.
On Saturday, the allrounder was fined 15 per cent of his match fee and given a demerit point after being charged by the ICC with a level one offence of "use of an audible obscenity".
Stokes admitted the offence and accepted the sanction, the ICC said.
A 15 per cent fine for England players' Test match fees equates to about A$4,000.
It’s the second time on the tour that an England player has been fined for using obscene language after Jos Buttler was sanctioned during the second Test in Cape Town.
The Stokes incident is the eighth time an England player has been sanctioned for swearing on the field since the ICC began publishing records of its Code of Conduct breaches.
It’s the 10 time in the past 12 months that a player has been cited for using obscene language during an international match, and the fifth time an Englishman has been sanctioned for the offence.
Stokes apologised several hours after the incident, while Ashley Giles, managing director for England Men's Cricket, said other England personnel had been abused and issued a strong condemnation.
"I wish to apologise for my language that was heard on the live broadcast today after my dismissal. I should not have reacted in that way," said Stokes.
"As I was leaving the playing area, I was subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd.
"I admit that my reaction was unprofessional and I sincerely apologise for the language I used, especially to the many young fans watching the live telecast around the world.
"Throughout the Tests so far, the support from both sets of fans (England and South Africa) has been brilliant. One incident will not ruin such a competitive series, which we are determined to win.”
Giles said Stokes was not the only one to suffer abuse and made a request for the stadium to beef up security around the England team.
"In addition to this incident, members of our support staff were subjected to personal abuse during and after the day's play," he said.
"We have requested to the venue to ensure that security and stewarding are enhanced for the remainder of the match so that players and staff members can go about their duties without provocation.”
On the field, England proved devastating with both bat and ball as they scored 400 runs in their first innings and then reduced sorry South Africa to 6-88 at the close of play on the second day.
A record 10th-wicket partnership on Saturday saw England amass a formidable first-innings total before rampaging through the home's team batting order to take a stranglehold on the game and move closer to a series victory.
Quinton de Kock was 32 not out at the close after Anrich Nortje was caught in the slips on the last ball of the day, heightening the possibility of South Africa following on for a second successive Test.
The home side's confidence had already taken a hefty knock when their bowlers were subjected to a bashing from tailenders Stuart Broad and Mark Wood, whose 82-run partnership was a record for the last wicket at the Johannesburg venue.
South Africa, 2-1 down in the series, would still have held out hopes of a fightback when they had England 9-318 but after leaking runs and then being tumbled out by the touring bowlers, they again have their backs to the wall.
Wood led the way in the evening session with 3-21 as England removed Pieter Malan (15), Rassie van der Dussen (0), Dean Elgar (26), Faf du Plessis (3) and Temba Bavuma (6) with their five-man seam attack generating pace off the quick wicket.
In contrast, South Africa's bowlers were punished as Broad, who made 43 off 28 balls, and Wood, not out on 35, thrashed the ball to all parts, forcing South Africa into the seldom-seen scenario of eight boundary fielders trying to defend against the tailenders.
There were also half-centuries for captain Joe Root and Ollie Pope and a valuable 32 from Chris Woakes in his first appearance on the tour. Nortje (5-110) took a maiden Test five-wicket haul.
South Africa v England 2019-20
First Test: South Africa won by 107 runs
Second Test: England won by 189 runs
Third Test: England won by an innings and 53 runs
Fourth Test: January 24-28, Johannesburg
First ODI: February 4, Cape Town (D/N)
Second ODI: February 7, Durban (D/N)
Third ODI: February 9, Johannesburg
First T20: February 12, East London
Second T20: February 14, Durban
Third T20: February 16, Centurion