Eleven bizarre dismissals ... and one that got away
As a batsman who thrived best when he backed his instincts, Gooch had one notable occasion to rue them, at Old Trafford in the opening Test of the 1993 Ashes. As was so often the case at the start of the 1990s, Gooch was leading by example as his team floundered around him, compiling a brilliant final-day century, his 18th in Tests, to give England a glimmer of a get-out clause as they struggled to avoid defeat. On 133, however, he jabbed down late on a rising delivery from Merv Hughes, and momentarily lost his composure. As the ball ricocheted off the turf and lobbed menacingly towards the stumps, Gooch used his hand to brush it to safety, and was rightly sent on his way by Dickie Bird. The following day's papers, cruelly pursuing the play-on-words and ignoring the heroics that had preceded them, were unanimous: "Gooch hands the Ashes to Australia".
Ashok Mankad - Headingley 1974
The eldest son of the legendary Vinoo, Ashok Mankad was never quite able to emerge from his father's shadow. Arguably, he was given a raw deal by the Indian selectors, who would often pick him for one match per series, and then throw him in at anywhere from No. 1 to No. 8 in the order. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, accidents singled him out as well, never more so than at Headingley in 1974, during his solitary appearance of a disappointing tour of England. He had batted attractively for a rearguard 43, but was unluckily dismissed as he swayed out of the way of a Chris Old bouncer. His cap fell off as he ducked his head out of line, and landed on the stumps. India collapsed soon afterwards, to lose by an innings and 78 runs.
Andy Ducat - Headingley 1921
A one-cap wonder and a Surrey stalwart, Andy Ducat's greatest claim to fame was the unfortunate manner of his maiden Test dismissal. Facing up to the redoubtable Australian fast bowler, Ted McDonald, Ducat had failed to add to his overnight 3 when he broke the shoulder of his bat as he attempted a steer through the covers. The resulting loss of power meant that an effective stroke became a tame lob to slip, and as if that wasn't embarrassing enough, the shard of bat went on to dislodge the bails as well. It was the first of these two dismissals that was recorded for posterity, and Ducat managed just two more runs in his international career, as Australia romped to a 219-run victory. Remarkably, McDonald pulled off the same stunt later in the year, when South Africa's Billy Zulch was given out hit-wicket by another piece of splintered bat.
Wayne Phillips - Edgbaston 1985
The catch that clinched the match that allowed England to regain the Ashes ... and it remains shrouded in mystery to this day. With a little over an hour of the fifth Test remaining, the series was deadlocked at 1-1, and though Australia were facing an innings defeat Wayne Phillips was 59 not out and digging in for the draw. At 113 for 5, however, he cut a delivery from Phil Edmonds that clattered into the in-step of Allan Lamb, one of a host of vultures circling around the bat. The ball bounced up for an alert David Gower to swivel round and pouch it, and after a consultation, umpires Shepherd and Constant sent him on his way. The breach made, Australia crumbled, losing their last five wickets for 29 runs.
Colin Wells - Sussex v Warwickshire 1980
Bowling against Sussex in a John Player League match, Geoff Humpage's attempt to stop a firm straight drive failed, but as luck would have it, fashion had passed him by. Flared trousers and other monstrosities had all but disappeared from 1980s life, but the Humpage clan were still rooted in the previous decade, which was just as well for his team-mates. The material billowing from his outstretched limb clearly brushed the speeding ball, which cannoned into the stumps of the non-striker Colin Wells. Not so much a wicket taken with flair, as one taken by flares ...
Andrew Symonds - Melbourne 2005-06
It's easy to grin and bear it when you're in some of the best form of your life, and your team is rollicking towards a massive total in the opening match of a one-day tournament. That is what Andrew Symonds did at Melbourne last month, in the VB Series curtain-raiser against Sri Lanka. His tubthumping 66 from 61 balls was sawn off in a remarkable moment of misfortune, when he hammered a straight drive off Jehan Mubarak with such force that Michael Clarke at the non-striker's end had no time to react. The ball looped up off Clarke's ankle, all the way to Tillekeratne Dilshan at wide mid-on, who accepted the offering with an air of bemusement. As Symonds departed he grinned at a sheepish Clarke and indicated he was owed a post-match pint.
Michael Vaughan - Bangalore 2001-02
Michael Vaughan became the seventh man to be dismissed for handling the ball - and the second Englishman after Graham Gooch - when a moment of confusion cost him his wicket against India at Bangalore in 2001. Vaughan had been blighted thus far in his career by injuries, but he had only himself to blame here. Well set on 64, he missed a sweep shot off Sarandeep Singh and the ball got trapped beneath him. Even though the ball wasn't heading towards his stumps, he brushed it away in a moment of thoughtlessness: the Indians appealed, as was their right, and Vaughan was sent packing, much to the consternation of his captain, Nasser Hussain, who claimed it was "against the spirit of the game". Had Vaughan simply tossed the ball to a fielder, it is unlikely India would have appealed. England, as was their wont back then, collapsed
Inzamam-ul-Haq - Faisalabad 2005-06
Inzamam-ul-Haq had battered England en route towards another hundred in the second Test at Faisalabad, when an unfortunate, and controversial, decision robbed him of an innings of monstrous proportions. After celebrating his hundred, he played a full toss from Steven Harmison back to the bowler. Harmison reacted immediately by throwing down his stumps - something he had tried once before, nearly dismissing Shane Warne in the 2005 Ashes. Inzamam, unsurprisingly, took evasive action and replays suggested his back foot had lifted from the crease. It wasn't a good decision, and his flummoxed face as he trudged off demonstrated as much. But Inzamam even managed to upstage himself six weeks later, in the first ODI against India.
Salman Butt - Multan 2005-06
Salman Butt, in the same series as Inzamam's dismissal, was perhaps even more unfortunate, although Marcus Trescothick might lay claim to that. It was the first day at Multan, during England's pre-Christmas tour of Pakistan, and Butt and Younis Khan were moving along smoothly, after Shoaib Malik had fallen for 39. Nearing a deserved century, Butt's patience ran dry and a slashed slog off Shaun Udal - who was making his debut aged 36 - sped towards Marcus Trescothick at first slip. The ball bounced off Trescothick's forehead, causing Geraint Jones to scamper and dive low to take the head-butted deflection. "I'd rather it had come in a more conventional manner," mused Udal afterwards, as he reflected on the end of a 17-year wait for his first Test wicket.
Tom Pugh - Peterborough 1961
To be given out "jaw before wicket" is presumably as painful as it sounds. The man who could tell you is the former Gloucestershire captain, Tom Pugh, who suffered that indignity at Peterborough in 1961. Facing up to the Northants fast bowler, David Larter, Pugh had not yet got off the mark when he ducked into a low full-toss. Cracked on the side of the face plumb in front of the stumps, Larter appealed, the umpire upheld, and Pugh was rushed to hospital with his jaw broken in two places, as his team collapsed from 61 for 1 to 66 for 5. They coped admirably in his absence, however, successfully chasing down a target of 304 to win by four wickets on the third afternoon.
Misbah-ul-Haq - Delhi 2007
Batsmen are instructed to get in the way of the ball while running between the wickets; Misbah-ul-Haq made all the right moves before blowing a fuse at the last moment on the second day of the Delhi Test. Patting to point, he took off for a quick single and just needed to ground his bat at the non-striker's end when he chose to jump and evade the throw instead. Dinesh Karthik's effort from point found its way onto the stumps and Misbah was out when in mid-air.
And a freakish non-dismissal ...
Mohammad Ashraful - Trent Bridge 2005
Fresh from a brilliant hundred that had sealed the upset of the century, against Australia at Sophia Gardens, great things were suddenly expected of Bangladesh's young strokeplayer, Mohammad Ashraful. But his next outing could hardly have begun in less auspicious circumstances. Bangladesh had just lost two wickets in two balls to England's gangly debutant, Chris Tremlett, and when Ashraful pushed forward uncertainly to Tremlett's next delivery, he needed some divine intervention to avoid becoming the hat-trick victim. The ball looped up and landed smack bang on the top of middle stump, but somehow neither bail was dislodged. Grinning from ear to ear, Ashraful responded with an innings of pure abandon. He brought up his half-century from a mere 21 balls, and had reached 94 from just 52 by the time he was bowled by a Paul Collingwood slower ball. It was not enough to save the match, but it confirmed the arrival of a special talent.
This article was originally published on Cricinfo in February 2006