The floodlight failure that brought a premature end to the fifth and final one-day international between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Newlands on Saturday “could not have been detected early in any pre-match testing which takes place before any domestic or international match,” according to a statement from the Western Province Cricket Association.
One of the floodlight pylons failed during the match, and the lighting problem became an issue as the sun set just after 7pm and artificial lighting took over, with the umpires leading the players from the field at the end of the 28th over of the innings. Technicians worked on the problem for a full two hours, but the umpires took the decision to end the game after making an inspection at 9.10pm and deciding that no play would be possible in the prevailing conditions, with South Africa winning by 41 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
WPCA chief executive Nabeal Dien expressed regret at the lighting failure, and explained the cause of the problem. Many South African fans who took to social media to voice their disappointment suggested that load-shedding might have been the cause – South Africa is currently experiencing an energy supply crisis and Cape Town has been hit with multiple daily power cuts – but Dien explained that a short circuit was to blame.
“According to our electrical engineers, there was an underground cable that short-circuited due to rodents or age,” he said. “This also caused the switches and circuit breaker to trip continuously in the pylon.”
Dien was confident that the problem had subsequently been resolved, and that the Twenty20 international on Tuesday evening would be unaffected. “We apologise to both the Proteas and Sri Lankan teams as well as to the general public who attended the match and who were viewing on television,” he concluded.
Liam Brickhill is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.