Cricket matches have been interrupted for various reasons. Rain, damp playing conditions and on some occasions due to an unruly crowd. This is what happens usually apart from the rare incidents where dogs and intruders find their way in the playing area to disrupt the play.
However, the third ODI between Sri Lanka and South Africa saw an amusing and unexpected factor, halting the live game and causing a delay in the play. A swarm of bees suddenly made a guest appearance at the venue and forced the players go off the field during the first innings.
South Africa won the toss, elected to field and had brought down to Sri Lanka 117/4 when the incident took place. The matter needed the intervention of the ground staff who used sticks and fire extinguisher to shoo away the bees. A beekeeper’s help was also sought. This type of incident is quite rare and has taken place on only a few occasions in the past.
On 31 October 2008, during the India v Australia Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi, a similar Bees attack was witnessed. The Australians were batting on the third day of the third Test when the insects swarmed in and forced the players and the umpires run for covers. It left the crowd surprised and giggling.
Similarly, four year later, another swarm of bees interrupted the play. This time, venue was the Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy in December 2007. The day’s play between hosts Sri Lanka and England had to be suspended before things could return to normal.
Another incident where such a thing happened was on the first day of the England-India Test at Trent Bridge in 2011, which began on a painful note for umpire Marcus Erasmus as he was stung by a bee at the start of the match.
Such incidents have taken place at the domestic level too. The first recorded incident happened in 1962 when the game was halted due to ‘invasion of Bees.’ The bees looked adamant and refused to disperse which eventually forced the official to bring in beekeepers to get rid of them. Also, in 1981, a local match was abandoned after the insects stung six players and one umpire. Unlike on other occasions, where they naturally seem to have caused a hindrance, the Bengaluru incident reportedly occurred after a few kids threw stones at a honeycomb.