JOHANNESBURG – A swarm of bees halted play and left the cricket players prone on the pitch during the third one-day international between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Sri Lanka had just lost their fourth wicket with the total on 115 in the 25th over when, with new batsman Asela Gunaratne about to face his first ball, the slip fielders dropped to the ground.
Other players followed and there was a short delay.
At one time all 13 players and both umpires were lying face down on the field as the bees buzzed about.
Play resumed but midway through the 27th over the bees converged on a helmet that had been placed behind wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and the umpires stopped play.
Ground staff at Wanderers Stadium emptied the contents of two fire extinguishers into the swarm.
The players returned after a delay of more than 20 minutes but again left the field because there were still bees in the area where De Kock needed to stand.
Beekeeper Pierre Hefer saved the day and spoke to eNCA about the swarm.
“When I saw them on TV it looked a lot bigger, I'd say it looked about 5,000. But if we captured 2,000 it was a lot, most of them had actually moved away."
He had been watching the game on Tv at his home in Emmarentia when he saw the bees descend on the pitch.
When I saw the problem I thought maybe I should go ... I'd been clearing out some hives during the course of the week and I had some combs which had some honey on them. That instantly attracts them
"They were either disturbed nor trying to find a new home. If the swarm gets too big, they split and then some of them will scout a new spot. Maybe they scouted a good spot on a nice quiet Wednesday afternoon at the Wanderers and then arrived today and tried to move in and found it's not as peaceful as they thought it might be ...,” he said.
- Additional reporting eNCA