HENRY NICHOLLS was dismissed with one of the most bizarre and freakiest wickets in cricket history against England.
The New Zealand batter comes out of the crease to drive Jack Leach’s spinner towards the long-on boundary just before tea on Day 1 of the third Test.
The ball ricocheted off his partner Daryl Mitchell at the non-striker’s end
Alex Lees made not mistake with the bizarre but simple catch
Jack Leach struggled to work out how the catch had been taken
But in a simply incredibly twist of events, he cannons the ball directly on to the bat of his team-mate Daryl Mitchell at the non-striker’s end.
From there, the ball flies past the quick-thinking umpire and balloons perfectly into the grateful hands of Alex Lees who takes a simple catch at mid-off.
And by the letter of the law, specifically law 184.108.40.206, that is out.
The cricket rules read a catch will be fair if: “A fielder catches the ball after it has touched the wicket, an umpire, another fielder, a runner or the other batter.”
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The England players and Headingley crowd at first could not work out what had happened – and even when it became apparent, were still left baffled.
Sky Sports expert Michael Atherton said: “I have never seen anything like that.
“Henry Nicholls was battling away, looking a bit out of sorts, 19 runs in almost 100 balls.
“And then he finally gets one out of the middle of the bat.
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“Daryl Mitchell at the non-striker’s end, trying to protect himself and get his bat out of the way, hits it to Alex Lees.
“He couldn’t have done it any better if he’d tried. It’s like one-handed catching practice.
“It’s an unbelievable moment.”
And unsurprisingly the wicket had everyone talking on social media – just weeks after Mitchell and Leach’s first bonkers incident of the series, which saw the ball splash into a pint of cider.
One joker wrote: “WICKET: LEACH ASSIST: MITCHELL You have to see this wicket to believe it ”
Another said: “The Black caps have had some issues with black cats where it comes to deflection luck…. Stokes in the WC19 was unbelievable, but this [is] almost worse.”
The wicket was the cue for tea, with New Zealand 123-5 – or as one put it: “One two three for five.”
Captain Ben Stokes was not complaining as the tourists fell to 123-5 at tea