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Watch: A helmet-less David Boon takes near-miraculous catch at forward short-leg

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: At Sydney Cricket Ground in 1991/92, David Boon took a near-impossible catch to dismiss Mohammad Azharuddin off Craig McDermott.

Australia were already 2-0 up in the five-match Test series when the teams came to Sydney for the third Test match. The fortunes changed here for the sides. Despite the comfort of 117-1, then 210-3, Australia were bowled out for 313. Boon, however, scored 129 of these runs from No.3 – and was left stranded by his teammates.

For India, Kapil Dev (3-60) and Manoj Prabhakar (3-82) took three wickets apiece, but it was debutant Subroto Banerjee (3-47) who stole the show, with the wickets of Geoff Marsh, Mark Taylor, and Mark Waugh – the first three Australians to be dismissed.


In response, Navjot Sidhu fell for a duck and Sanjay Manjrekar made 34 before Ravi Shastri (206) added 111 with his Bombay teammate Dilip Vengsarkar (54). Emerging at the fall of Vengsarkar’s wicket, Azharuddin hit the first ball he faced, from McDermott, for four.

The Australians set a leg-trap for Azharuddin. They had a fielder at backward square-leg, while Boon – without a helmet, as was often the case with him – was at forward short-leg.

The ball was on middle-stump, set for Azharuddin’s staple shot – the flick. Azharuddin middled the ball without fuss, and the ball seemed to race past Boon.

But Boon stretched his left hand to intercept the ball. He did not quite catch it, but somehow manage parry the ball into the air to give himself a chance of taking the catch. As the ball descended, Boon flung himself to his right to complete a spectacular catch. Azharuddin, one of the great fielders himself, walked back as Boon was mobbed by his teammates.

India eventually made 483, largely due to a 196-run fifth-wicket stand between Shastri – who was particularly harsh on a debutant Shane Warne – and yet another Mumbai batter, the young Sachin Tendulkar (148). Shastri then went on to take 4-45 as India reduced Australia to 173-8, only to be thwarted by a rearguard act by Allan Border (53*).

Watch David Boon’s near-absurd catch here:


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