South African cricket broadcasters have caused controversy with a ‘disgraceful’ stunt during the second Test against England in Cape Town.
Host broadcasters Super Sport TV played a prank on English wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow while he was watching the day’s play from the dressing room.
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The broadcast showed Bairstow looking out from the team’s balcony, before repeatedly cutting to female fans in the crowd.
“What’s he looking at Jonny Bairstow?” one commentator asked as laughter could be heard in the box.
The prank was clearly designed to stitch up Bairstow and make it look like he was checking out the women, and while many fans found it funny there was also some anger.
Lorna Leach - Strategic Relationship Manager for London Sport - labelled Super Sport a ‘disgrace’ over the ‘embarrassing’ stunt.
“TV director is a disgrace it’s not beautiful or clever,” she wrote on Twitter.
“It’s embarrassing and objectifying women. Women who had every right to be at the test to enjoy the game not be ‘hot’ enough for the director and camera crew to pick them out.”
TV director is a disgrace it's not beautiful or clever. It's embarrassing and objectifying women. Women who had every right to be at the test to enjoy the game not be 'hot' enough for the director and camera crew to pick them out.— Lorna Leach (@LornaCoachingLS) January 5, 2020
It’s not the first time Super Sport have pulled off the prank on live TV, stitching up Nathan Lyon during Australia’s ill-fated tour of South Africa in 2018.
Lyon and his Australian teammates saw it play out on TV screens in the dressing room and saw the funny side.
Sibley and Root put England in control
Opener Dominic Sibley struck a career-best unbeaten 85 as England seized control of the second Test at the close of the third day.
The tourists reached 4-218 at stumps on Sunday, a lead of 264 that already looks substantial with two full days remaining, and potentially provides an excellent chance to level the four-match series.
Sibley put on 116 for the third wicket with captain Joe Root (61), before the latter steered Dwaine Pretorius to Faf du Plessis at slip late on.
Nightwatchman Dominic Bess gloved a leg-side delivery from Anrich Nortje (2-36) to end the day.
Sibley will seek to take the game further away from South Africa with Ben Stokes on day four with England's travelling fans in full voice in Cape Town.
"We've done really well - the performance with the ball yesterday and today we have showed some real grit with the bat," England seamer James Anderson told reporters.
"It is hard to say what is a good target to set. If the wicket is as flat as it was today, we would want 350 plus as a minimum.
"But if it starts to deteriorate, then we feel in the game right now. Whatever we post we will have to bowl well."
Sibley's previous best in Tests was 29 and he showed impressive patience and concentration to see off the new ball and then accumulate his runs by waiting for the right opportunities to score.
He took 140 balls to reach his 50 and batted for almost the full day, which allowed Root to score more freely at the other end.
South Africa won the first Test in Pretoria by 107 runs.