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The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

Wisden India logo Wisden India 22-12-2016

Cricket – that gentleman’s game that sometimes takes a turn for the bizarre. There have been some unpredictable incidents that get stuck in the minds of the fans, players and those who have followed the game for years. Wisden India takes a look at some of those moments.

Diamond duck

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

Imagine getting out without facing a single ball, and it’s not a run-out. That’s a diamond duck. There have been only two instances of it in One-Day International cricket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar became the second victim of it when he was stumped off a wide from Ajantha Mendis against Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup match at Fatullah. Henry Osinde, Canada’s medium pacer, holds the ‘honour’ of the first diamond duck in ODIs, being stumped of a wide down the leg side from Alex Cusack.

Bees stop play

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

During the 2007 tour to Sri Lanka, animals took a strange liking for the England squad. During the warm-up matches, snakes, dogs and monkeys found their way to the middle, but it came to a head when bees swarmed the field on the fourth day of the first Test. There wasn’t a long delay, but the picture of players lying flat on the ground has stuck.

But it didn’t end there. After rain on Day 2, the ground staff found a number of scorpions under the covers too.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. In Pune, in 1951, monkeys interrupted a practice match between England and Maharashtra.

Three appeals on the same ball

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

Middlesex’s Simon Cook, in a match against Northants in 2004, gave the umpires three reasons to adjudge him out on a single ball. Johann Louw, the medium pacer, rapped Cook on the pads. The ball then hit the bat and lobbed to Graeme Swann for a catch, who then got a direct hit in to find Cook out of his crease. The umpires had a chat and finally decided Cook was dismissed caught. Clearly a bad day for the Middlesex batsman.

77 runs in an over
The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

No, this isn’t stick cricket or an EA Cricket game. In Wellington’s Shell Trophy match, Bert Vance had a bowler’s worst nightmares come true. Canterbury had slipped to 108 for 8, when the captain decided to throw the ball to Vance to tempt the remaining batsmen to go for the big shots. And they did. Vance bowled 17 no-balls and was hit for six fours and eight sixes. Lee Germon scored 70 of those runs, bringing up his century in the process. Presumably stunned at the turn of events, the scorers and umpires lost track of the balls and only five legitimate balls were bowled in that over.

The over went: 04*4466461410666660*0*40*1* (The balls followed by * are the legitimate ones)

Four off the off stump

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

After a close game, everyone looks back and thinks what could have tilted the game in favour of the losing side. When South Africa took on India in the second One-Day International in Jaipur in 2010, things could have been different if Charl Langeveldt had dismissed Nehra in the last over of the Indian innings. Langeveldt bowled a near perfect yorker, Nehra was late in getting his bat down, the ball struck the off stump and went for four past the wicketkeeper. India were nine down then and could have folded earlier but managed 298. South Africa later lost the match by just one run.

1st Ashes Test, 1-5 December, 1950

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

It isn’t a hidden fact that if you are a cricket tragic, you eagerly wait for the Ashes. The rivalry between Australia and England has always thrown up interesting contests and one such Test was the first Ashes Test in 1950 at the Brisbane Cricket Ground. The match will be remembered for some interesting declarations by the two captains, Lindsay Hassett and Freddie Brown. Asked to bat, Australia made 228 in the first innings. The rain gods didn’t allow any play on the second day and the third day being a rest day, the English players had enough time to cool their heels. Play started at 1:00 pm on the fourth day after overnight rain damaged the pitch. England crawled to 68 for 7 before declaring. In their second innings, the bowlers kept Australia to 32 for 7 declared. England needed 163 runs on the last day, but had just four wickets in hand. Len Hutton fought hard for his 62, but the visitors were skittled for 122, giving Australia a 70-run win.

Wicketkeepers to the rescue

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

In the 2015 World Cup, we saw AB de Villiers bowl a few handy overs for South Africa. We’ve also witnessed Mahendra Singh Dhoni take a few wickets in the Champions Trophy. But the Test match between South Africa and India at Johannesburg in December 2013 is the only example of a Test match where a wicketkeeper from both teams bowled in a match. Dhoni bowled two overs while Graeme Smith used de Villiers for one.

Retired out

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

We’ve seen players getting retired out in practice or warm-up games. But a Test match? Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene are the only two batsmen in Test cricket to have retired out. In the second Test of a three-Test series, Bangladesh were shot down for 90 in their first innings. Atapattu (201) and Jayawardene (150) piled on the misery and took Sri Lanka to 555 for 5 declared. The home team won the Test by an innings and 137 runs.

Shortest Test match

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

The fifth and final Test between hosts Australia and South Africa in 1932 lasted just five hours and 53 minutes. Choosing to bat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, South Africa surrendered to the home team. They scored just 36, with Jock Cameron, the captain, top-scoring with 11. The South African bowlers did well to keep the hosts to 153, but the batting failed in the second innings as well. They were again shot down for 45, handing Australia a win by an innings and 72 runs. This is the shortest Test match ever played that has produced a result.

21 consecutive maiden overs

The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments © Wisden The bowlers and the bees: 10 bizarre cricket moments

In an era of Twenty20 cricket, where even mishits go for a six, it’s hard to imagine a bowler bowling 21.5 consecutive maidens. Bapu Nadkarni held his own against the visiting England side and bowled a total of 131 consecutive dot balls i.e. 21.5 overs in the first Test of the five-Test series in what was then Madras. He ended with figures of 32-27-5-0 with an economy rate of 0.15 runs per over in the first innings.

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