Having settled a score with the crowd, A B de Villiers last night put the record straight over the controversy that ignited this match on Friday. The South African batsman, who attributed an unusually patient innings to his dismay over being booed on to the field, emphasised that he would never have allowed Andrew Strauss to leave the field without the umpires checking whether he had taken a clean catch. As it was, the decision had been referred already and Strauss was reinstated.
"The ball hit my right hand and went straight into my left hand," De Villiers explained. "I was pretty sure I took the catch, although I went straight to my captain and told him: 'Listen, I'm not 100 per cent sure, what shall we do about this?' Because I saw a bit of grass on my left pinkie.
"He said: 'No worries, we don't have to go anywhere – the umpires are referring it.' There's no way in the world I was going to let Straussy walk off the field, without telling the umpires I wasn't sure. I'm very, very happy that it was referred and given not out, because I'm a guy that would never have been able to go to bed at night if I knew he wasn't out, and had to walk off the field."
Sections of the Headingley crowd took a different view, but only succeeded in goading De Villiers to accumulate 174 runs. "It was the first time ever that I was booed going on to a field," he said. "That was disappointing and hurt quite a lot, but if anything it motivated me to do better and I'm very satisfied sitting here now with a hundred behind my belt.
"From the [England] players, I'm not going to take any offence. It's a true gentleman's game and whatever is said on the field or in the changing room is all right. Obviously I wasn't expecting anything less."Reuse content