Small fire behind players' pavilion delays play during Sheffield Shield
Small fire broke out behind the players' pavilion at the WACA ground in Perth delayed play on the opening day of the Marsh Sheffield Shield match between Western Australia and Tasmania on Thursday.
Tasmania's pacer Jackson Bird was heading to bowl the fifth ball in the 26th over of the day, but then smoke was spotted emanating from the back of the pavilion and match official Nathan Johnstone signalled dead ball, cricket.com.au reported.
Umpire Johnstone then stopped play again and the rest of the players stood in their positions, seemingly unaware as to why the play was stopped.
In a bizarre sequence of events, square leg umpire Paul Wilson spoke to Tasmania's team and later all 13 players and the two officials left the ground. Umpires then called in a lunch break.
After players left the field, sirens were heard in the distance as the fire department attended the scene.
An air conditioning unit at the back of the pavilion caused the small fire, and it was quickly brought under control.
"The fire outside the back of the Players Pavilion was caused by the air conditioning unit and is now under control. Fire services are on-site and have assessed the situation. Players have been allowed back into the Pavilion for lunch," Western Australia Cricket Association said in an official statement.
This is not the first that a cricket match has been stopped due to bizarre reasons.
Nine months ago, New Zealand's Test against South Africa was stopped for almost 15 minutes as an emergency alarm at Dunedin's University Oval forced a full venue evacuation.
Also almost two years ago, a Shield match in Brisbane was delayed by half-an-hour as New South Wales spinner Nathan Lyon set off a fire alarm when he burnt a piece of toast.