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Watch: Hit the wicket but not hit wicket? The law loophole that reprieved Mark Waugh to help save Australia a Test match

Mark Waugh hit wicket but not out
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: In the Adelaide Test of 1997/98, Mark Waugh accidentally hit the stumps with his bat but was not given out by the umpires.

Despite trailing the series 0-1, South Africa bolstered their batting, not bowling, for the third Test match, at Adelaide Oval. They batted first, and the team selection seemed to have worked when they recovered from 305-7 to pile on 524.

But it also meant that Shaun Pollock bore a great burden, toiling through 41 overs to take 7-67 as Mark Taylor defied South Africa for almost nine hours, carrying his bat with 169 out of a total of 350.


Riding on Gary Kirsten’s unbeaten 108, South Africa then set Australia 361 in 109 overs. They would probably have won the Test match, had they not dropped 10 catches in the game, including Waugh three times in the second innings.

Pollock (2-61) and Lance Klusener (4-67) then reduced Australia to 54-3, but Waugh stood firm, eventually finishing on 115 not out as Australia made 227-7 to clinch the series.

However, South Africa could still have won, had Waugh been given out hit wicket on 107. Pollock bowled a bouncer, and the ball hit Waugh, who was trying to move his head away, on the shoulder, and flew towards the slip cordon.

As Waugh walked away, his bat hit the stumps, the South Africans appealed, and Doug Cowie and Steve Randell referred to TV umpire Steve Davis. After a long delay, Davis ruled Waugh not out – rightly – under what was then Law 35: “The striker shall be out hit wicket if, while the ball is in play, his wicket is broken with any part of his person, dress, or equipment as a result of any action taken by him in preparing to receive or in receiving a delivery, or in setting off for his first run, immediately after playing, or playing at, the ball.”

Mark Waugh was neither preparing to receive nor receiving the ball, nor was he setting off for his first run. He survived.

Australia, 213-6 at that point, lost Andy Bichel soon afterwards, but Shane Warne survived.

Watch Mark Waugh survive a hit wicket appeal here:

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