It was a rare sight seen in international cricket when the Australian batsman Steve Smith while defending himself against a fiery bouncer bowled by New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner. It was the last ball of the 100th over of the ongoing Test match and Steve Smith, found himself facing a quick short-pitched delivery to which he responded by almost catching it.
The ball almost stuck in Steve’s gloves, before he realized and dropped it just milliseconds later. His batting partner at the time, David Warner rushed to check on his teammate and to his relief, he was completely fine.
The ball had struck Smith in his hands and then got stuck inside his gloves. It was pretty clear that Smith was trying to stop it from hitting his head and it was nothing but a sheer coincidence that the ball went on to get stuck in his gloves. And, contrary to the popular belief, Smith would have been adjudged not out even if the bowling side would have appealed.
As per Law 37 in the Laws of Cricket, ‘A batsman could be given out for handling the ball if, while playing a delivery, the batsman intentionally touched the ball with one or both of their hands not holding the bat. A decision of not out would be reached if the batsman handled the ball to avoid incurring an injury. A bowler did not receive credit for the wicket when a batsman was dismissed in this fashion.’
Bouncers have proven to be fatal for players in the past. And the recent instance in international cricket was none other than Steve’s former teammate, Philip Hughes who had succumbed to an injury caused by a bouncer which hit him on the head while playing a domestic match. So, it was nothing but an instinctive move by the batsman to defend himself against a possible injury.
Smith went on to score 85 runs off 242 deliveries and was dismissed by the same bowler, Neil Wagner. After Smith’s dismissal, Australian batsmen following him went on to take the score past 400 runs. And, the inning ended with the Aussies getting all out after scoring 467 runs in 155.1 overs.
Watch the video of Steve Smith’s act here
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 27, 2019
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