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Watch: Incredible unearthed Test footage shows ball passing through stumps

Watch: Unearthed Test Footage Shows Ball Passing Through Stumps
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Watch: Video posted on Twitter by cricket footage archivist Mainak Sinha has given more detail on a remarkable incident in a Test match played between South Africa and Pakistan in 1997, when a delivery from Mushtaq Ahmed passed through the stumps without dislodging the bails.

The bizarre moment occurred in the first innings of the third Test of the series at Faisalbad, with a flipper from Mushtaq beating South Africa’s Pat Symcox all ends up, only for the No.9 to be reprieved in the luckiest manner as the ball passed between the off and middle stumps.

While the incident isn’t completely unknown, the only clip available previously, uploaded by YouTube user Robelinda2 from a highlights package, only shows the moment in full speed from front on, with the footage then manually slowed down. This new video, seemingly from the original coverage, provides new angles, and showed that, even to the commentators, what had transpired wasn’t initially clear.

“Well that was a quicker one and Symcox making a little bit of room for himself,” said Henry Blofeld. “And I daresay he got a little edge onto his pad otherwise we would have had a very loud appeal.”

“That looked like a flipper, a real quicker one and it kept low, don’t know what happened there,” said Geoffrey Boycott, before a replay revealed the incredible event that had come to pass.

“It went through the stumps! I thought he was bowled myself, and then when he didn’t go, Henry said it must have hit the bat onto the pad, but it went straight through the stumps. Can you believe it? I’ve never seen that. I have never seen that before. I’ve seen a lot of cricket around the world, but there’s always something new you can learn.”

The stroke of fortune ended up proving crucial in determining the fate of the series. With the rubber tied at 0-0 heading into the third Test, Pakistan gained the ascendancy by reducing the Proteas to 98-7. Symcox and Gary Kirsten, who carried his bat for 100 not out, rebuilt, and had taken the score to 194 when the former was reprieved. South Africa would end up with a total of 239, and though Pakistan claimed a sizeable lead, it was the tourists who claimed a thrilling victory by 53 runs, bowling out the hosts for 92 in the fourth innings.

Watch the moment the ball passed through the stumps below.


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