South Africa beat England by three runs in a thrilling T20 international to level the series on Friday, as Jason Roy became the first batsman in the game’s format to be dismissed for obstructing the field.
South Africa made 8-174 with JJ Smuts contributing 45 and skipper AB de Villiers striking 46 from 30 balls.
England in reply made 6-171 with opening batsman Roy leading the run chase with 67 before being controversially dismissed.
Roy shared a 110-run second wicket partnership with Jonny Bairstow (47) but with 29 needed to win off the final three overs, England fell short.
Andile Phehlukwayo delivered a superb final over for South Africa, but Roy’s dismissal was the talking point as it proved to be the pivotal moment in the match.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was not playing in the game, took to Twitter to say: “Can’t believe that @JasonRoy20 was given out in that manner today….embarrassment is the only word that can be associated with the decision.”
But England captain Eoin Morgan described it as “probably a 50-50 call”, saying South Africa were within their rights to appeal while at the same time raising debate about the spirit of the game.
“It was probably a 50-50 call. You could see both sides of it,” Morgan said.
“Everyone in the changing room thought it could go either way so it’s not massively controversial.
“You can see why the umpires gave him out. Jason obviously looked at the umpire but after that he ran in a straight line, so that’s why it was a 50-50 call.
“They (South Africa) were certainly entitled to appeal and the spirit of the game is open to interpretation.”
It was an entertaining game for the Somerset crowd, enjoying the first international contest at their ground since the 1999 World Cup.
“It was about the energy and showing the South African never-say-die, attitude … now we have a decider on Sunday” said De Villiers.
The deciding match will be played at Cardiff.