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County Championship 2021

Watch: Part-timer Will Jacks rips ball-of-the-season contender on ragging Oval surface

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: Part-time off-spinner Will Jacks produced one of the balls of the season, ripping a ball from well outside off-stump to flummox Gloucestershire’s Matt Taylor, who was bowled playing an ill-advised leave.

The Oval is known as a ground that can be helpful to spinners, though there was little sign of significant turn early on, with Surrey racking up 473 and batting for over five sessions, with former South Africa captain Hashim Amla carving out 173.

However, the side selected suggested the Three Feathers felt the surface might start to grip later in the game, with Amar Virdi and Dan Moriarty both selected as slow-bowling options. It was Moriarty who emerged with the best figures, claiming 6-60 in his first County Championship game of 2021, making it four consecutive first-class innings in which he has taken five or more wickets. Considering he has only bowled in five innings altogether, it makes for some start to his career.

However, the most eye-catching moment went to Jacks, known as a hard-hitting white-ball batsman – he has a 25-ball hundred in a T10 warm-up to his name – with his off-spin at most useful, rather than deadly. Before today, he had played 25 first-class games without taking a wicket. On this occasion, however, he was unplayable. Drifting the ball well outside off-stump, Taylor felt comfortable in leaving the ball, only to see it pitch, grip and take out his stumps.

There have been several special moments for spin bowlers this season, defying the stereotypes of early-season English conditions. Plenty have come from Matt Parkinson, whose sharp-turning leg-breaks have seen him earn comparisons to Shane Warne. But Jacks’ delivery could rival any of them.

Gloucestershire ended up conceding a lead in excess of 300 and were made to follow on. Given Surrey have opened with two spinners in the third innings, Jacks may yet get more chances to add to his ball-of-the-season contender.

Watch the magical Will Jacks delivery below, from multiple angles:

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