PORT ELIZABETH: Eng­land wicket-keeper Jos Buttler has apologised for his foul-mouthed verbal volley in the second Test against South Africa, but questioned whether television viewers should have access to the audio from stump microphones.

Buttler was fined 15 percent of his match fee and handed one demerit point after swearing repeatedly at South Africa all-rounder Vernon Philander late on the final day as England sought the wickets that would take them to a 189-run win.

“I fully understand that as role models we have a duty to behave in a certain way. I would like to apologise and understand that is not the way to behave. I take the slap on the wrist,” Buttler told reporters on Sunday. “It was the heat of the moment and a bit of red mist. But it is all done and can now be swept under the carpet so we can move on.”

Asked whether he felt the audio from the stump microphones should be available to the public, Buttler said most players were against it.

“In Test cricket there is high emotion at times. There can be things said that don’t mean anything, but for the viewers at home it can come across very poorly,” he said. “It is a tough one; we understand that it adds to the viewer experience to have stump mics to hear a bit of what goes on.

“But I think the players like the thinking of what happens on the field, stays on the field, and isn’t heard necessarily by everyone at home.”

Buttler felt England created energy around the bat in Cape Town with their attempts to unsettle the home batsmen.

“It is easy to say vocal is the way to do things, but also your actions speak loud as well. One of the good things in that last game was the way we hunted as a team,” he said. “We have a number of young guys under the age of 24 in the side and they were fantastic at creating energy around the bat and putting pressure on the opposition.

“The two games have been played in a great spirit, they have been hard-fought and the series is set up really well at 1-1.”

Meanwhile, England captain Joe Root did not train on Sunday after being laid low by a stomach bug, a potential blow to the tourists with the third Test against South Africa starting at St Georges Park on Thursday.

Root, who also felt unwell during the first Test, is one of 17 England players and support staff who have been hit by a flu-like bug on what has been dubbed the cursed tour, according to a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Opening batsman Rory Burns and veteran seamer James Anderson have already returned home through injury.

Root will probably be placed in quarantine and given time to recover in the hope that he will be at the toss on Thursday.

Should he not be fit, his place in the side is likely to be taken by Jonny Bairstow.

South Africa won the first Test of the four-match series in Centurion by 107 runs, before England bounced back to claim the second in Cape Town.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2020