Watch: Muttiah Muralitharan was denied the chance to take all ten wickets in a Test innings after Chaminda Vaas claimed a wicket that Sri Lanka didn’t appeal for, celebrate, or, seemingly, especially want.
In a Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe Test in 2002, Murali looked set to complete one of the few feats that would elude him in his career. He had claimed the first nine wickets to fall against Zimbabwe at Kandy, and with Chaminda Vaas bowling far from full speed and content to hide the ball outside off stump.
Murali had struggled to take the final wicket, with the tenth-wicket partnership occupying 11.5 overs in total. But it looked as if he would get another chance as Henry Olonga and Travis Friend played out the first five balls of Vaas’ over.
Olonga played and missed at the sixth and Kumar Sangakkara collected the ball behind the stumps, with only a gentle lob of the ball into the air coming close to an appeal from the Sri Lankans. Olonga also looked unperturbed, only for the umpire to raise his finger and send the tail-ender packing.
“That misses the outside edge, the end of the over. 236 for nine,” said one commentator.
“Oh he’s been ruled out!” said the other, after a delay. “There’s been a catch taken, just a belated appeal. I think the Sri Lankans decided not to make an appeal, but someone from somewhere did ask the question and umpire Asoka de Silva had no option but to rule him out. So Muralitharan deprived of that tenth wicket.”
“That’s absolutely bizarre,” said the first.
There were no celebrations from Sri Lanka, with the hosts instead trudging from the field. An innings win and four more wickets for Murali would follow, but the real prize had escaped from grip.
Watch the unappealed-for, uncelebrated wicket below:
Kandy 2002. Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe 2nd Test. Zimbabwe 234-9 and Muttiah Muralitharan on 9-51. Then this happened… 🥲 pic.twitter.com/DzLotmx98o
— Mainak Sinha🏏📽️ (@cric_archivist) December 4, 2021