Anrich Nortje hits out after scary Spidercam incident in Boxing Day Test

The South African bowler was cleaned up by the low-flying camera during the second Test against Australia at the MCG.

·5-min read
Anrich Nortje, pictured here being wiped out by Spidercam in scary scenes during the Boxing Day Test.
Anrich Nortje was wiped out by Spidercam in scary scenes during the Boxing Day Test. Image: Channel 7/Getty

South Africa have received an apology from 'Spidercam' operators after Anrich Nortje was wiped out by the camera in a frightening moment in the Boxing Day Test. Nortje was minding his business in the field on Tuesday at the MCG when Spidercam collided with the fast bowler from behind.

The camera, which is connected to wires that hang from the roof, flies around the ground to give TV viewers a unique look at the action. However as we've seen a number of times in the past, it can sometimes get a little too close to the action.

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That's exactly what happened on Tuesday in the second Test when the camera was flying way too low and thundered into Nortje as he was walking to his position in the field. Luckily for South Africa the bowler wasn't injured, but Nortje later questioned why the camera was flying so low.

"I didn't know what hit me. The one thing we've spoken about earlier is how low it is," Nortje said. "I don't think it should be travelling head-height."

Spidercam wasn't used for the rest of the day and its operators later spoke to the South Africans to apologise, with the incident blamed on human error. It is understood the equipment will be back in use on Wednesday.

The scary incident didn't affect Nortje's sense of humour, with the paceman referencing his two-metre tall teammate Marco Jansen in a joke about the low-flying camera. He said: "For Marco as well, they must take him into consideration."

The Proteas said they are monitoring Nortje for soreness in his left shoulder and elbow, which took the brunt of the impact as he was knocked to the ground. Nortje left the field later on day two, but it was due of cramp as the mercury hit the mid-30s in Melbourne.

Cricket fans and commentators were left stunned by the incident. While some found it funny, others were highly critical of the camera operators.

Anrich Nortje produces fiery display in Boxing Day Test

The bizarre incident occurred just moments after Nortje produced a fiery post-lunch exhibition of pace bowling. He conceded just 11 runs in the four-over spell and deserved at least a couple of wickets.

It included near-misses for Steve Smith and David Warner, with the latter requiring treatment after one Nortje thunderbolt jammed his finger against the bat handle. The South African bowler's deliveries routinely clocked more than 150km/h and peaked at 155.

"It was probably up there (in my career) ... just in general, it felt really good," he said after play. "You feel like you can push a little bit more, push a little bit more and you feel you have a bit of momentum.

"Once you get that momentum, you ride it. It felt like I was in a good rhythm ... and try to come as hard as I can."

Anrich Nortje, pictured here in action for South Africa in the second Test against Australia at the MCG.
Anrich Nortje in action for South Africa in the second Test against Australia at the MCG. (Photo by Dave Hewison/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Despite Australia owning a 197-run lead at stumps on day two, Nortje said the Proteas had hopes of turning things around. The Aussies have a number of injury concerns after Warner and Cameron Green retired hurt, while Mitchell Starc has a finger injury and won't play in the third Test at the SCG.

"That's going to be a big factor," Nortje said of the Australian injuries. "It's going to be crucial to bat for as long as we can.

"The more overs the bowlers are to bowl, the more maybe a backup bowler ... would have to apply themselves. That's going to be a crucial stage for us ... work through the difficult stages with our top order and then try and cash in a little bit later."

with AAP

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