South Africa v Sri Lanka ODIs
Un-bee-lievable: SA win after bee swarm
Proteas seal one-day series against Sri Lanka after match was delayed for an hour due to swarm of bees
5 February 2017, 07:49 AM AEST
South Africa routed Sri Lanka by seven wickets to take the third one-day international at the Wanderers in a match held up for an hour after bees swarmed onto the famous arena.
The hosts also took a winning 3-0 lead in the five-match series after bowling out Sri Lanka for 163 before South Africa captain AB de Villiers starred with an undefeated 60.
But despite the on-field efforts, the hero of the day was a local bee enthusiast who rushed to the rescue when a swarm of thousands of bees descended on the Wanderers.
Pierre Hefer was at his home some 20 minutes west of the Wanderers, quietly watching the third ODI on television when the bees arrived in the 27th over.
Players were forced to lie flat on the ground by the swarm, with a swarm congregating on wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock's helmet.
The groundstaff tried to entice the hive into a wheelie-bin and a fire extinguisher was also used to try and disperse the bees.
"When they took out the fire extinguisher, I knew I had to get down here," Hefer said after saving the day.
"You see, you might get rid of them for a bit, but they'll come back, I thought they might be able to use my expertise.
"When I was watching on TV, and they had surrounded (de Kock's) helmet, I thought it might be as much as 5,000 bees. But when I got here, it looked more like 1,000 to 2,000."
Hefer told local reporters he quickly dressed in his full bee-keeping kit – white overalls, black gumboots and hat – grabbed his equipment and rushed to the ground.
Security at the ground allowed Hefer, in his outfit, to park at the front gate and enter the ground without usual demands for a ticket or accreditation.
"I think they saw me in this outfit, noticed all the equipment and reckoned I must be what I say I am, and with play stopped, they let me in," Hefer said.
He repaid them by using his skills and a home-made hive to attract the bees, capturing the bulk in a large plastic tub and removing them from the field, to rapturous cheers from a crowd of near 30,000 who had a new cult hero to celebrate.
"Yup, definitely the biggest audience I've worked in front of... that was my 15 minutes (of fame)," Hefer joked.
Hefer said the bees would not have been attracted by the pink uniforms the South African players were wearing but had likely resettled at the venue earlier on a non-match day.
In what has become a traditional "pink day" at the Wanderers, with the South African players and most of the capacity crowd wearing pink in support of breast cancer awareness, Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga was left to bemoan another sub-standard batting performance, with five batsmen falling to short-pitched bowling.
"We had a very good start but we didn't capitalise. Niroshan Dickwella batted well but didn't have support."
Despite Dickwella's 74, Sri Lanka were bowled out in 39.2 overs after being sent in to bat. It was the third time in as many matches they failed to bat for a full 50 overs.
The left-handed Dickwella was dropped on 25 when JP Duminy, running back from backward point, could not hold on to a high leading edge from Kagiso Rabada's bowling.
With Dickwella on 55 and looking settled, there was a delay of an hour when the bees arrived and drove the players from the field with the total on 4-117 after 26.3 overs.
Dickwella added another 19 runs before his 80-ball innings was ended when he gloved an attempted pull against a short delivery from Dwaine Pretorius to present wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock with his 100th dismissal in 72 one-day internationals. Dickwella hit seven boundaries.
Sri Lanka got off to their best start of the series with Dickwella and Tharanga putting on 60 for the first wicket before Tharanga (31) top-edged a pull against Rabada, one ball after Dickwella had been dropped, and was caught at fine leg.
Seamer Pretorius, playing in his first match of the series in place of Wayne Parnell, took 3-19 and was named man of the match.
It was never likely to be enough, although pace bowlers Suranga Lakmal and newcomers Lahiru Kumara and Lahiru Madushanka made the hosts work hard in the early stages of the chase.
Kumara and Madushanka both picked up a wicket while Lakmal had Hashim Amla dropped by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal when the opening batsman was on 12.
Amla went on to make 34 before being run out by a superb throw from deep extra cover by Madushanka.