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English Captain Ben Stokes would prefer to forget his premature celebration causing him to drop an important catch on the final day of the Ashes Test at the Oval. This catch drop of Steve Smith has brought back memories of a time long gone when Herschelle Gibbs dropped the catch of Steve Waugh in the 1999 world cup, which later proved to be a costly mistake for the bowling side.
The premature celebration gives Steve Smith another life
Stokes, the hero behind the miraculous win at Headingley, was found red-faced for not securing a one-handed catch off Moeen Ali’s bowling. Smith was on 39 at the time when he gloved Moeen’s delivery and lobbed it towards the leg slip. Ben Stokes lifted himself in the air and grabbed the ball, but on his way down, he threw his arms up to appeal, and the ball went out of his grip.
The umpire’s call was “Not out” in favor of Smith. Stokes’ frustration was evident as he would call for a review after being persuaded by his teammates. The review showed that Smith’s bat indeed had edged with the ball, but Stokes could not complete the catch as he lost control early. Law 33.3 of Cricket perfectly explains this decision: “A catch is only completed when a fielder obtains complete control over both the ball and his/her own movement.”
The aftermath of this blunder
Stokes couldn’t hide his frustration as he realized his mistake, leaving England to bid farewell to their second review. Smith would go on to accumulate 54 runs and finally be caught out at the hands of Crawley off Woakes’ delivery. Australia ultimately would fail to chase the 384 runs target set by the British and collapse at 334. This would lead England to their much-desired victory, allowing them to avoid a series defeat with the scoreline being tied at 2-2. For Aussie cricket, however, this defeat extends their 22 years wait of securing an away ashes victory since 2001.
Did Ben Stokes pull off a Herschelle Gibbs move?
In a pivotal 1999 World Cup group stage encounter at Headingley, Gibbs’ potential wicket of Steve Waugh was overturned due to law 33.3. While celebrating Waugh’s wicket at mid-wicket, Gibbs let the ball fall out of his hand, leading to arguably the most infamous lost catch in cricket history. Waugh then guided Australia to win, keeping their tournament hopes alive, by eliminating South Africa with an unbeaten 120-run innings. At the time, Waugh allegedly taunted Gibbs, saying, “You’ve just dropped the World Cup, mate.”
While Stokes and Gibbs are undoubtedly exceptional fielders, their occasional errors in concentration have proven to be quite costly for their respective teams in crucial moments. Although Stokes can find solace in successfully avoiding a series defeat at Ashes 2023 as England’s captain, he will undoubtedly regret the missed opportunity to dismiss Smith. However, Gibbs was forever branded as the guy who cost South Africa the World Cup.
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