Heinrich Klaasen makes light of sightscreen ruse as South Africa sink before the rain

Willey suggests 'mother cricket' got involved after attempt to delay the inevitable

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
Heinrich Klaasen is stumped by Jos Buttler after his attempts to slow the game failed  •  Getty Images

Heinrich Klaasen is stumped by Jos Buttler after his attempts to slow the game failed  •  Getty Images

Heinrich Klaasen was not really concerned that the white ball would disappear into the white sheeting, visible at the bottom of the sight screen after 10 overs of the South African innings in the second ODI against England, but he was hoping to use up some time as South Africa found themselves in an impossible situation.
At 39 for 5, with 164 runs required off the last 19 overs in a rain-reduced match, the advertising boards were pulled back to make room for the hover cover to come on in a hurry and, with rain around, Klaasen saw an opportunity to slow things down. He spent several minutes asking for the sightscreen to be restored to its usual appearance.
Asked how much of his gesticulations had to do with sighting the ball, Klaasen admitted it had nothing to do with that at all.
"It was zero percent of the ball disappearing into the sight-screen. The rain came down a little bit harder. I just tried to delay the game a little bit and change the momentum. Hopefully the umpires could have taken us off but that didn't happen," Klaasen said afterwards. "It was just a little bit of old-school tricks to see if I just change the momentum and slow the game down a little bit."
Though he could laugh about it afterwards, at the time Klaasen knew he was ruffling feathers. England's captain Jos Buttler was noticeably unhappy with his tactics and pleaded with the umpires to speed the game up as the showers grew.
"The English boys didn't like it," Klaasen said, explaining that he expected the opposition to react the way they did. "I knew it was going to come so it's nothing new to me. But for me, in that situation, we weren't in a great position, so just to upset the rhythm of the game a little and change the momentum maybe, and see what happens couldn't have done any harm. It frustrated a lot of the guys, so the trick worked a little bit but it didn't come off tonight."
Klaasen's assessment of England's reaction to his antics was accurate, as David Willey said afterwards.
"It was frustrating, to be polite. I think it was clear what they were trying to do. There was a bit of rain going around. It's 20 overs for a game, they were hoping the rain was going to stick around a bit longer and we'd be off and they'd go to Headingley 1-0 up and unable to lose the series," Willey said, pleased that Klaasen's strategy did not actually succeed in taking the players off before 20 overs had been bowled to make it a game.
"I'm thinking mother cricket came around, they lost a couple more wickets and the game was beyond them. They knew what they were doing, we knew what they were doing. The umpires just needed to make a call and get on with the game."
Klaasen was one of the wickets that fell in England's final push to victory. He only lasted another 4.4 overs before being stumped off Moeen Ali as he advanced down the track to a ball that dipped on him, and Buttler took off the bails. He was given a fairly vociferous send-off but shrugged it off as just part of the game.
"Stuff like that doesn't bother me at all," Klaasen said. "It's fun and games on the field, and hopefully we can have a cool drink or a beer after the game and be good mates again. If they can keep it on the field, it's easy for me to keep it on the field. As long as it doesn't go off the field, I don't have any issues with what they say, what they call me or what they do to me."
Asked what England called him, Klaasen said he would "keep that for on the field".
He was in a similarly carefree mood when it came to summing up South Africa's performance after they went from their highest total against England in the series-opener to their lowest in the second match.
"We took our risky options and it didn't come off. It's part of the game. The batters are in good form," he said. "Our blueprints are good. I don't think we need to change a lot. We need to keep having confidence. We are playing good cricket."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent