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Stump knocked back, bails stay on: Freak occurrence in Australian Grade cricket sparks Laws of Cricket debate

There have been past calls for a law change to be made so that the wicket is considered broken if the ball makes contact with the stumps
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

A freak occurrence in Australian grade cricket sparked a debate about the Laws of Cricket, with confusion over whether a batter should be out or not out when middle stump was pegged back but the bails, miraculously, stayed on.

The bizarre incident occurred in a game between Ginninderra Cricket Club and West District Cricket Club in ACT Premier Cricket. A photograph of the aftermath was shared widely on social media.

“Things you don’t see every day…,” tweeted Cricket ACT. “Explain this one from a Ginninderra-Wests game for us, cricket fans – how was this possible? Physics? Chewing Gum? Swollen timber in all the rain?”


Users were puzzled over whether the batter should have been out or not out, but the Laws make clear that ‘not out’ is the correct outcome. Law 29 states: “The wicket is broken when at least one bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or one or more stumps is removed from the ground.”

In this case, neither bail was completely removed, and neither was a stump was removed from the ground. Only the middle stump leant back, but even that was not fully uprooted. Had the bails stayed on but with middle stump came all the way out of the ground, the batter would have been out. This is also why a fielder has to fully uproot a stump to effect a run out or stumping if the bails are already dislodged.

There have been some calls for a change in the Laws, whereupon the wicket will be considered broken if the ball makes contact with the stumps even if the bails remain in place. This has been motivated by the rise of Zing bails, which have a perceived tendency to stay in place even when the ball hits the stumps.

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