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South Africa v England

Ben Stokes clarifies perceived Nortje send-off was joke with umpire

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Ben Stokes took to Twitter after the third day’s play between South Africa and England at Port Elizabeth to clarify the meaning of England’s celebrations in the aftermath of their dismissal of Anrich Nortje, interpreted by some as a send-off.

After the nightwatchman, who resisted England for 136 balls and over three hours, was dismissed, England’s players could be seen in a group waving someone off the field and laughing. Some fans took this as a sign of disrespect to Nortje, and called for England’s players to be punished similarly to Kagiso Rabada, who will miss the final Test after accumulating a fourth demerit point for breaching the ICC code of conduct with his celebration upon the dismissal of Joe Root in the first innings.

But Stokes, responding to one Twitter user, clarified that their actions were simply a joke with umpire Bruce Oxenford. Oxenford was returning to the field to take the place of the umpire standing in his stead, and with the replacement umpire having been on the field for two of England’s wickets, the tourists wanted him to continue. In the clip, Root can be seen mouthing “go away Bruce”.

“Just to clarify,” tweeted Stokes, “this was to Bruce Oxenford to stay off the field as a joke, as the replacement umpire was on the field for [two] of our wickets while Bruce wasn’t on the field, nothing was aimed at Nortje whatsoever [sic].”

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