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World Test Championship 2021/23

‘Did any part of the ball touch the ground?’ – Ricky Ponting debates controversial Shubman Gill decision

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

India lost Shubman Gill at the stroke of tea after Cameron Green controversially caught him at gully, with experts not convinced that the fielder was in total control of the catch during day four of the World Test Championship final between India and Australia.

Chasing 444 for a win, India got off to a confident start, making 41-0 in the first seven overs. However, the first ball of the eighth over spelt doom for India, as opener Gill departed on 18, falling to Scott Boland for the second time in the game.

The delivery kicked up at the last minute, and Gill only managed ab edge to Green, who held onto a stunner for the second time in the game. The all-rounder dived to his left and managed to grab the ball with one hand, but replays showed that the ball could have touched the ground as the catch was taken.


With no soft signal in place for the WTC final, the decision rested on the TV umpire Richard Kettleborough, who ruled it out, saying Green’s fingers were underneath the ball.

For a clean catch to be taken, a fielder must have “complete control over the ball and his/her own movement” before the ball touches the ground, according to clause 33.3 in the MCC’s Laws of Cricket. With TV replays and still images suggesting that Green may have touched the ball to the ground as he dived, a debate ensued.

Ricky Ponting, on commentary, felt that the ball had carried but that it may have touched the surface soon after. “The ball went into his hand maybe six-eight inches above the ground. But the question I’ve got was, did any part of the ball actually touch the ground just after it completed the catch? To me, it had carried, it looked like it had gone into his hand six-eight inches above the ground.

“The ball went into his hand, no doubt about that, but did it actually then roll over and then touch the top of the surface? Did any part touch the ground? If it did, the umpire has to adjudicate whether he feels Green is in complete control before it touched the ground.”

Harsha Bhogle too weighed in: “His hands are underneath. If the hands have not turned, it’s a clean catch, no doubt. The key is what happens immediately after the catch is taken when the hand turns – that is the area of dispute. Also, when you go to the third umpire, if he is 90 per cent convinced, it is clean, then it is not out. The original rule with the soft signal was: to overturn a soft signal, you had to be 100 per cent convinced.”

Watch the dismissal here:


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