Watch: ‘Ridiculous how much that ball moved’ – Mitchell Starc bowls James Vince
Watch: At Perth during the 2017/18 Ashes, Mitchell Starc bowled James Vince with one of the most unplayable balls in the history of cricket.
Australia were 2-0 up going into the third Test at the WACA – in other words, one win from regaining the Ashes. England collapsed 131-4 after opting to bat first, before Dawid Malan (140) and Jonny Bairstow (119) added 237 for the fifth wicket.
Starc (4-91) and Josh Hazlewood (3-92) then bowled England out for 403 as they lost their final five wickets for 35 runs. It seemed a decent total, especially after James Anderson (4-116) and Craig Overton (2-110) reduced Australia to 248-4, giving England a substantial chance of retaining a first innings lead.
But Steve Smith (239) and Mitchell Marsh (181) then added 301 to Australia’s total before Tim Paine and Pat Cummins piled on further misery, both posting scores of over 40. Australia eventually declared on the fourth morning of the match on 662-9, and took out three quick England wickets within the first 15 overs of the innings.
Vince (55) and Malan (54) took England to 100-3 when Starc ran in to bowl from around the wicket and sent down the magic delivery. The ball pitched on middle stump, Vince playing accordingly, perhaps even accounting for some movement.
Unfortunately, he had not accounted for the significant cracks on the pitch. The ball hit one of the cracks and moved sharply away from him, knocking out the off stump. ‘Turned’ may seem an odd phrase to apply to a delivery from Starc, but most spinners would have been proud of that kind of movement which was later estimated at a ridiculous 3.9 degrees.
Had the ball gone straight and missed everything, it would have missed the stumps down the leg side on the angle it was coming in at. Starc himself admitted to the part luck played in the dismissal.
“There’s a lot of luck involved,” he said, speaking last year. “You try and get near it but you’re not sure what it’s going to do. The plan obviously was to come around the wicket and try and bring in those cracks and do something off them… But don’t get me wrong there was a lot of luck involved in that ball.”
Vince stood there for a moment, surprised, with his stumps demolished behind him and Starc and the rest of the Australia team celebrating, before walking back to the dressing room. There was little he could do.
As the Australians huddled together to celebrate, Mitchell Marsh insisted they watched the slow-motion on the big screen at the television.
England finished on 132-4 overnight after the dismissal, but collapsed to 218 all-out next day against Hazlewood (5-48) to lose by an innings. Australia regained the Ashes and, after Alastair Cook kept them at bay in Melbourne, won at Sydney to take the series 4-0.