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Australia v South Africa 2022/23

Watch: South Africa get five runs after Australia suffer rare penalty

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

South Africa got a helping hand from Australia in their attempt to avoid the follow-on after the ball struck a helmet to give the visitors five penalty runs.

Australia started the day needing 14 wickets to force a three-nil clean sweep against a South Africa team that has suffered a borderline disastrous series.

South Africa needed 126 runs to avoid the follow-on which would have all but confirmed the match to finish in a draw and their day would get off to a bad start through the loss of Marco Jansen who fell to Travis Head’s off-breaks.


South Africa were 167-7 at this point, but the spin pair of Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer put on one of their best partnerships of the series as they pushed their team towards the follow-on target of 276. The pair added 85, and South Africa ultimately fell short as Maharaj (53) and Harmer (47) both fell to Josh Hazlewood.

But before they got that far, they were the beneficiaries of five penalty runs when the ball struck a helmet on the field. Head’s ball stayed low off the pitch beating the bat of Harmer and nutmegging wicketkeeper Alex Carey before rolling onto the helmet behind the latter. South Africa got five penalty runs.

Following on 220 behind on first innings, South Africa were 86-2 at the time of writing. They need to bat another 13 overs.

Penalty runs have occurred only 93 times in men’s international cricket, not all of them due to a helmet. However, there were 15 instances in 2022, and it took eight days for it to happen in 2023.

Watch: Ball nutmegs Carey and hits helmet

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