June 16, 2014

The unplayables

A selection of cricket's most memorable deliveries
114

Warne to Gatting
The ball of the century has to take pride of place here - Shane Warne's sensational first delivery in an Ashes Test, at Old Trafford in 1993. It looked to be fading down leg, but fizzed across a nonplussed Mike Gatting after pitching and clipped his off stump. "Gatting looked understandably bewildered as he dragged himself off the field," reported Wisden; "never, perhaps, has one delivery cast so long a shadow over a game, or a series." No one could quite believe it - except perhaps Warnie, who looked as if that was exactly what he'd planned. It probably was.

Cairns to Read
New Zealander Chris Cairns pulled the ultimate cricketing three-card trick on his sometime Nottinghamshire team-mate Chris Read in the Test at Lord's in 1999. Read, who hadn't scored, misread Cairns' slower ball and, as Wisden deadpanned, "attempted to duck what turned out to be a yorker, and fell away as he was bowled". Read himself explained in a recent ESPNcricinfo interview: "It's the first and only time I didn't see the ball at any stage. Cairns realised he was on to something because the sightscreen didn't have any additional screening above it. He'd done the same thing to Aftab Habib, and he ducked like I did and it just missed the leg stump... When he ran up I assumed he hadn't let go off the ball. Then something in my subconscious thought I needed to protect myself and I ended up looking pretty stupid. The first thing I can remember is the soft thud before it hit the stumps. I was more shocked than anything."

Wasim Akram to Lamb and Lewis
Wasim Akram was no stranger to the unplayable ball, as a career total of more than 900 international wickets proves. Arguably his most important spell, though, came in Pakistan's victory in the 1992 World Cup final in Melbourne, when the wickets of the dangerous Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis fatally derailed England's chase in mid-innings. "The spirit of the batsmen was broken by successive balls from Man of the Match Wasim Akram which dismissed Lamb and Lewis," intoned Wisden, "one swinging in and then straightening again, the next cutting in sharply."

Trueman to Marner
Fred Trueman was a master fast bowler - and not exactly a shrinking violet when it came to trumpeting his success. After hearing Fred regale the Yorkshire dressing room yet again with the details of how his wicket-taking deliveries had snaked this way and that to perplex a succession of baffled batsmen, team-mate Richard Hutton piped up: "Tell me, Fred, did you ever bowl one that just went straight on?" "Aye," said the unabashed bowler. "To Peter Marner. And it went straight through him like a streak of piss and flattened all three."

Holding to Boycott
For those of a certain age, it's probably the greatest over ever bowled - certainly one of the fastest, and scariest. After West Indies had been bowled out for a modest 265, Michael Holding uncoiled his superb action in Bridgetown in 1980-81. The unfortunate batsman was Geoff Boycott - one of the greats himself, but now over 40. He somehow survived the first five balls, all screamers, but had no answer to the sixth, which plucked out his off stump. "It went like a rocket," recalled Boycs ruefully. This recent Rewind article summed up the whole over.

Lillee to Luckhurst
Dennis Lillee was at his most exciting in England in 1972, hair and moustache flowing in the wind as a new Australian team emerged. He claimed 31 wickets in the series, although the pick of them arguably came at Lord's, where he finished up with "only" four alongside the sensational debut of Bob Massie, who grabbed 16. But Lillee made his mark early in that second Test with a peach to Brian Luckhurst - it pitched on leg, but zipped back and flicked the top of off. The defeated batsman marched straight away, aware that no one could have done much about what was just about the perfect delivery.

Lock to Insole
There were a lot of mutterings about the Surrey and England slow left-armer Tony Lock's bowling action in the mid-1950s, but although he was occasionally called for throwing, the umpires back then were generally reluctant to stigmatise a bowler and perhaps ruin his career. But the Essex amateur batsman Doug Insole, playing for The Rest against champions Surrey at The Oval in 1955, had fewer qualms: after being comprehensively cleaned up by Lock's faster ball in fading light, he waggled his famously bushy eyebrows at the square-leg umpire and enquired: "Was I bowled or run out?"

Warne to Gibbs
Warne reprised That Ball, in the nail-bitingly tight 1999 World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston that ended up as a tie, putting Australia through on their Super Six win. His batsmen had managed only 213, but Warne was magnificent: his first eight overs cost just 12 runs, and included a peach to the dangerous Herschelle Gibbs. "It looped up, drifted away, landed in the rough outside leg stump, and fizzed past a dumbfounded Gibbs to clip off," wrote Jamie Alter on ESPNcricinfo. "The ball of Warne's ODI career… the batsman stood in disbelief, refusing to acknowledge that he had been bowled."

Young to Donnelly
As a batsman you're usually safe enough once the ball has passed the stumps. But the New Zealander Martin Donnelly wasn't. He was batting for Warwickshire against Middlesex at Lord's in 1948, and a ball from the slow left-armer Jack Young hit him on the foot. The ball looped over Donnelly's head, bounced about two feet behind the wicket... and spun back to break the stumps.

Panesar to Younis Khan
At the height of Montymania, at Headingley in 2006 Monty Panesar produced perhaps the ball of his life, to dismiss Pakistan's first-innings centurion Younis Khan and set England on the path to victory. ESPNcricinfo's animated commentary says it all: "It's a crackerjack rip-snorting jaffa from the Montster! Lands it on middle and leg, Younis comes forward, misses, and it turns to hit the top of his off stump, just removing the bail. A remarkable ball, turning out of the rough."

Garner to everyone
It must have been terrifying to face Joel Garner, all 6ft 8ins of him, especially at grounds where the sightscreen was inadequate to cope with an arm whirring over at high speed from about ten feet up. Garner was almost impossible to collar - in Tests he went for less than 2.5 runs per over, and little over three in ODIs - with a killer yorker which used to zero in at the toes of hapless batsmen like a guided missile. It was seen to greatest effect in the 1979 World Cup final at Lord's, when Big Bird polished England off with 5 for 4 in 11 balls, four of them bowled.

Chetan Sharma to Javed Miandad
And, just to redress the balance, here's a 12th one, where the batsman won - needing to hit the final ball of a one-day international to the boundary to win the Austral-Asia Cup final in Sharjah in 1986, Javed Miandad flipped a Chetan Sharma full toss over the boundary for six. "I still remember how Javed looked up at the sky and prayed to Allah," said India's wicketkeeper Chandrakant Pandit. "Chetan's plan was to bowl a yorker, but it was a waist-high full-toss. None of us expected Javed to hit it out of the ground."

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2014. Ask Steven is now on Facebook

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • harshthakor on June 17, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    In order of merit my most memorable deliveries. 1.Imran Khan bowling Vishwanath at Karachi in 1982-83 2.Andy Roberts dismissing Greg Chappell in Adelaide in 1979-80 3.Michael Holding cartwheeling Mohinder Amarnath at Lords in the 1983 world cup final. 4.Wasim Akram bowling Alan Lamb in 1992 world cup final 5.Michael Holding bowling Geoff Boycott at Barbados in 1981 6.Bob Willis removing Trevor Chappell at Leeds in 1981. 7.Malcolm Marshall dismissing Gavaskar at Kanpur in 1983-84. 8.Wasim Akram bowling Viv Richards at Barbados in 1988. 9.Dennis Lillee trapping Geoff Boycott at the Oval in 1981.

    My best spells in order. 1.Bob Willis 's 8-43 at Leeds in 1981 2.Michael Holding's 8-92 at the Oval in 1976 3.Imran Khan's 8-60 at Karachi v India in 1982-83 4.Curtly Ambrose's 7-33 at Perth in 1992-93. 5.Dennis Lillee's 6-26 v England at Melbourne in 1977. 6.Malcolm Marshall's 5 wicket haul at Sydney in 1988-89 7.Kapil Dev's 3 scalps on the 4th day of the Lords test before close of play in 1982

  • D.V.C. on June 21, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    If you want unplayable, look up Tait's dismissal of AB DeVilliers in a T20I. DeVilliers managed to get an edge on a 155 km/h delivery and only succeeded in breaking his hip and being forced backward so badly that he fell onto his stumps and was out hit wicket.

  • on June 20, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    How about Shoaib Akhtar to Sachin Tendulkar in Kolkata 1999 middle stump up rooted first ball

  • on June 20, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    What about Waqar's inswinging yorker to Brian Lara (Rawalpindi Test 1997). One of the greatest deliveries of all times!.

  • kickassPakistan on June 20, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    Worth considering would be about the hundred yorkers that Waqar and Waseem bowled on their trip to England in 1992. About half of them ended up in Bowled or toe crushing LBW's. On a more funny note can't forget Ijaz Ahmed being bowled by Warne between through his legs . Now that's what i call unplayable,sometimes when feeling hurt and hilarious become one.

  • rizwan1981 on June 18, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    How about the two successive deliveries by SHOAIB AKHTAR to Dravid and TENDULKAR in a test match , bowling both of them - Akhtar sure had the speed to put the fear of god in his hey day

  • on June 18, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar's Spell against Australia where he have taken Steve and Mark Waugh's wickets should aslo be included here

  • zafar_tayyab on June 18, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    To this excellent article, just want to add a memorable delivery by great Imran Khan, during Hyderabad (Pakistan) Test of 1982-83 series against India, which removed world record holder Viswanath, who had played most consecutive tests by any player without missing or being dropped in any test played by his country during his entire career (91 matches). It was delightful to see the amount of in-swing that deceived most consistent and reliable eyes of test history. Viswanath moved a little forward and then went on back foot, stylishly raised back his bat and left alone that ball which pitched almost two feet out side the line of off-stump. To great surprise of everyone, and particularly of the batsman, that ball turned in fast and furious, and struck his back leg in front of the middle-stump.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on June 18, 2014, 3:20 GMT

    some people rate dennis lillee as the best pacer. but in my view he wasn't. he was only good in pacey tracks of aus/eng and maybe nz. a complete bowler or batsman is the one who can play under any conditions. in a way lillee was fast track bully just like some of subcontinent players are labelled flat track bullies !

  • nafzak on June 18, 2014, 3:00 GMT

    certainly jeff thommo should be on any short list of devastating spells. barbados 1978 vs west indies comes to mind. that spell in the evening alone made him wisden cricketer of the year. he will always be my favourite bowler. nothing is as thrilling and chilling as the sight of a great fast bowler thundering in to bowl to a great batsman.

  • harshthakor on June 17, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    In order of merit my most memorable deliveries. 1.Imran Khan bowling Vishwanath at Karachi in 1982-83 2.Andy Roberts dismissing Greg Chappell in Adelaide in 1979-80 3.Michael Holding cartwheeling Mohinder Amarnath at Lords in the 1983 world cup final. 4.Wasim Akram bowling Alan Lamb in 1992 world cup final 5.Michael Holding bowling Geoff Boycott at Barbados in 1981 6.Bob Willis removing Trevor Chappell at Leeds in 1981. 7.Malcolm Marshall dismissing Gavaskar at Kanpur in 1983-84. 8.Wasim Akram bowling Viv Richards at Barbados in 1988. 9.Dennis Lillee trapping Geoff Boycott at the Oval in 1981.

    My best spells in order. 1.Bob Willis 's 8-43 at Leeds in 1981 2.Michael Holding's 8-92 at the Oval in 1976 3.Imran Khan's 8-60 at Karachi v India in 1982-83 4.Curtly Ambrose's 7-33 at Perth in 1992-93. 5.Dennis Lillee's 6-26 v England at Melbourne in 1977. 6.Malcolm Marshall's 5 wicket haul at Sydney in 1988-89 7.Kapil Dev's 3 scalps on the 4th day of the Lords test before close of play in 1982

  • D.V.C. on June 21, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    If you want unplayable, look up Tait's dismissal of AB DeVilliers in a T20I. DeVilliers managed to get an edge on a 155 km/h delivery and only succeeded in breaking his hip and being forced backward so badly that he fell onto his stumps and was out hit wicket.

  • on June 20, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    How about Shoaib Akhtar to Sachin Tendulkar in Kolkata 1999 middle stump up rooted first ball

  • on June 20, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    What about Waqar's inswinging yorker to Brian Lara (Rawalpindi Test 1997). One of the greatest deliveries of all times!.

  • kickassPakistan on June 20, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    Worth considering would be about the hundred yorkers that Waqar and Waseem bowled on their trip to England in 1992. About half of them ended up in Bowled or toe crushing LBW's. On a more funny note can't forget Ijaz Ahmed being bowled by Warne between through his legs . Now that's what i call unplayable,sometimes when feeling hurt and hilarious become one.

  • rizwan1981 on June 18, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    How about the two successive deliveries by SHOAIB AKHTAR to Dravid and TENDULKAR in a test match , bowling both of them - Akhtar sure had the speed to put the fear of god in his hey day

  • on June 18, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar's Spell against Australia where he have taken Steve and Mark Waugh's wickets should aslo be included here

  • zafar_tayyab on June 18, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    To this excellent article, just want to add a memorable delivery by great Imran Khan, during Hyderabad (Pakistan) Test of 1982-83 series against India, which removed world record holder Viswanath, who had played most consecutive tests by any player without missing or being dropped in any test played by his country during his entire career (91 matches). It was delightful to see the amount of in-swing that deceived most consistent and reliable eyes of test history. Viswanath moved a little forward and then went on back foot, stylishly raised back his bat and left alone that ball which pitched almost two feet out side the line of off-stump. To great surprise of everyone, and particularly of the batsman, that ball turned in fast and furious, and struck his back leg in front of the middle-stump.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on June 18, 2014, 3:20 GMT

    some people rate dennis lillee as the best pacer. but in my view he wasn't. he was only good in pacey tracks of aus/eng and maybe nz. a complete bowler or batsman is the one who can play under any conditions. in a way lillee was fast track bully just like some of subcontinent players are labelled flat track bullies !

  • nafzak on June 18, 2014, 3:00 GMT

    certainly jeff thommo should be on any short list of devastating spells. barbados 1978 vs west indies comes to mind. that spell in the evening alone made him wisden cricketer of the year. he will always be my favourite bowler. nothing is as thrilling and chilling as the sight of a great fast bowler thundering in to bowl to a great batsman.

  • on June 18, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    I remember a super over bowled by Jason Gillespie to Lara, in the 99-2000 series in Australia. First five balls all were leg cutters, missing off stump; sixth ball of the over was an off-cutter that took the off bail. Wonderfully setup over to at the time one of the the best 2 or 3 batsmen in the world.

  • DarshanBhatt on June 17, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    How about Kumble..Hero Cup final 12/6. Shoaib akhtar cleened up Sachin & Dravid in successive yorkers.

  • on June 17, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    bad selection. where's murali magic.

  • on June 17, 2014, 18:26 GMT

    my fact is 1.to be catogarised as unplayable I think batsman even should not hit the ball by bat.that mean it should be clean bowled deivery. 2.usually fast bowlers done this by their speed.i accept it should be a good skill but still they go more advantage due to speed. 3.so this should go to a clean bowled by a spinner to a good batsman in important stage of a game. 4.so my vote goes to great murali.ln 2006 Nottingham 3rd test between SL vs ENG when murali bowled Trescothick by a beautiful leg break hit top of the off stump . Trescothick has no idea.at that stage England were doing well by chasing a modest target in 4th innings.that dismissal completely turn the match and ultimately lead to SL win. anybody remember? anybody agree?

  • InternationalCricketFollower on June 17, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    Where is Waqar's banana swings? Where is Mural the greati?

  • on June 17, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    Akram bowled dravid and somehow the whole over was remarkable!

  • Rowayton on June 17, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    For those complaining that India haven't got a look in - I will add Bedi to Greg Chappell at Sydney for Rest of the World v Aus at Sydney in 71/2. It was a Warne to Gatting type of ball - I reckon Chappell played about three shots before he was bowled. One of the most exciting was Lillee bowling Richards last ball of the day on Boxing Day 1981.

  • waspsting on June 17, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    very flexible approach - knowing what lenght and line to bowl to each player, knowing if/when/why to make them play etc.

    For e.g. - he might continue bowling wide to a batsman who plays them, but he'd bowl closer to the batsmen that'd leave the wider balls. He might bowl wide to a player he knows is liable to get frustrated and have a wild slash.

    He might bowl 4 outside off stump, and then look to hit the stumps with the 5th ball (or some other combo of balls to leave-balls to play).

    I imagine that could be even more tricky for a batsman than playing an Ambrose or Hadlee - who you know will make you play every ball.

    I think McGrath's success rests on his utilization of such tactics better than anyone, which made up for a relative lack of ability to move the ball (compared to the likes of Ambrose, Hadlee, Wasim, etc.)

  • waspsting on June 17, 2014, 5:09 GMT

    @RJ_Kiwi - agree with you completely

    The balls that bowled GREAT batsmen who were playing DEFENSIVELY while WELL SET, i think should get special credit (as opposed to say Warne to Gatting, which the batsmen left not having seen the bowler before or having any idea what it was likely to do).

    Two worth mentioning. Donald bowling Tendulkar through the gate with an off-cutter. Deadpan, perfect textbook forward defensive from the master batsman and he'd hit the last two balls for four - but the ball just went straight through him to knock over the stumps.

    Steve Waugh bowling Brian Lara '96 WC semi-final. From around the wicket, the ball angled in, pitched on off and straighted to hit off as Lara was attempting to defend. --

    Also agree regarding McGrath vs Hadlee. Hadlee had everything McGrath did, plus movement.

    McGrath though, may have been smarter. Going against traditional wisdom of "always make the batsman play" (that Hadlee among others followed), he came up with a (cont)

  • harshthakor on June 17, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    Never forget Andy Roberts in the 1970's who was paceman in the Dennis Lillee class.Infact when I re-think his 2 deliveries that dismissed the Chapppell brothers of succesive deliveries in the 3rd test at Adelaide in 1979-80 were the best successive wicket taking deliveries.The balls simply rared from a good length. I have seen Andy had two bouncers at different speeds which foxed even the likes of Barry Richards or Sunil Gavaskar.Infact Gavaskar rates Roberts as the best paceman he ever played .Few paceman ever posessed Andy Robert's variety and craft who could produne an unplayable delivery in any type of conditions to turn a game.

    Overall Dennis Lillee was the most complete of paceman with his trajectory and agression.His leg-cutter,bouncer and outswinger made him the ultimate classical fast bowler .

  • harshthakor on June 17, 2014, 3:37 GMT

    In terms of unpredictability Wasim Akram was the ultimate giant who posessed the qualities of a magician with his mastery and innovations of reverse swing.No paceman could do thinks with a cricket ball more than Wasim or Malcolm Marshall.Marshall's skidding bouncer was unplayable and he would swing the ball in and out with the same action.On a green top Richard Hadlee and Glen Mcgrath could be unplayable.On a broken wicket,particularly in a 4th inings Curtly Ambrose was a giant,who could mow down the opposition like shooting down nine pins.

    Imran bowling Vishwanath at Karachi in 1982-83 would be my ultimate selection while in a complete spell I would choose Bob Willis's 8-43 at Leeds in 1981 v Australia.I can never forget that over before lunch by Willis on the final day of that game.From a technical pint of view Michael Holding's 14-149 was the greatest spell of fast bowling ever,considering the wicket was dead.

  • mredz84 on June 17, 2014, 0:06 GMT

    @Harathattu Radhakrishna Rammohan exactly what i was thinking. That ball says it all about akrams greatness. Hardly anyone realized that dravid was bowled. No one could fathom the ball moving as much as it did. True genius! You cant satisfy everyone with a list like this. I found it to be an interesting mix of recent memories and some less heard of gems.

  • piechucker31 on June 16, 2014, 21:59 GMT

    Flintoff dismantling the technique of Ponting, at the time the top batsman in the world, in the second test at Lords with a series of off-cutters that nearly cut Ponting in half, followed by a searing leg-cuttter that he had to play at and edge behind. Super Fred.

  • on June 16, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    mohammad amir to mitchal johnson.does anybody remember that?

  • on June 16, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    What about Shoaib Akhter's famous consecutive deliveries to Dravid and Sachin that uprooted their middle and leg stump. I guess it worth mentioning a place here, as they redefined the phenomenon of shear pace and all-in-attack in cricket!!

  • opening__quick on June 16, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    As for one individual delivery. Swinging yorker from Waqar... Lifted the batsmen of his feet and flat on to his face... The batsmen in question...Brian LARA...

  • opening__quick on June 16, 2014, 21:27 GMT

    Hehe...Ambrose was an absolute champion...

  • opening__quick on June 16, 2014, 21:22 GMT

    There's on chap who has a signature delivery more famous than those listed here.... Waqar Younis and his Inswinging Yorker.... Terrorised everyone for years. Can only imagine what he would have achieved if he had not suffered the repeated stress fractures of the back. There were a good 4 years where he was the most devastating bowler the game had seen....

  • Rj_Kiwi on June 16, 2014, 21:14 GMT

    Ball of the century was technically one Gatting chose to leave because no one in their wildest imagination would have dreamt what it would do. But it was not actually unplayable it was LEFT and did something spectacular. And any article on the unplayable delivery that fails to mention Sir Richard Hadlee is remiss. I am not just talking about the Brisbane test but the many days Hadlee had it on a string. He got less wickets it because there were days were players had to be extremely good even to catch an edge. On those days it seemed like he was playing an entirely different game. And Hadlee wasn't even quick. Compare that to a player like McGrath who has a stellar record, but bowled line and length his whole career. McGrath simply waited and eventually forced the batting mistake - ie quite playable just rentless in his game plan and never swung it. Hadlee was a legitimate action, masterclass swing bowler. And don't even start me on Ambrose, or the Pak with a bottle top!

  • FieryFerg on June 16, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    Best I ever saw was Wasim to Robert Croft - round the wicket, swung in and appeared to hit him full toss on the ankle. Everyone appealed but Merv Kitchen gave it not out, looked like it was slipping down leg. BUT on the replay you realised that in the last 6 feet of flight it swung back the other way and was going to demolish middle two inches up! Never seen anyone swing a ball both ways in one delivery, but that did. So many fun memories of Was and Waqar making world-class players look silly with pace and swing.

  • DarthKetan on June 16, 2014, 19:30 GMT

    How can you not have any one of the umpteen times Waqar bowled many a batsmen with his banana swing toe-crushing yorkers....this list loses legitimacy on that count alone. And then, what about Akram's ball to Dravid in '99 or his 'Double Swing' ball to Croft given inexplicably not out by the umpire.... And oh, why not Tendulkar's googly to Moin Khan, who had no clue where the ball came from or went to bowl him....

  • SlingshotPace on June 16, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    Shoaib's yorker to Tendulkar??

  • on June 16, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    Sachin to Moin Khan last ball of the day

  • Tansen on June 16, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Imran has had so many people shouldering arms to his deliveries, and none of them got a mention? At least two people above mentioned the one to Vishwanath.

  • mzm149 on June 16, 2014, 18:36 GMT

    How about Ashwin's last over in Asia Cup 2014 match against Pakistan where Afridi spanked him.

  • on June 16, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    The mighty Sachin Tendulkar produced a ripper of a googly to dismiss Moin Khan in a Test match. Look it up.

  • HennopsRiverEnd on June 16, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Allan Donald to Michael Artherton (inswinger through the gate hitting leg stump), Johannesburg 1999. England were reduced to 2/4 in 3 overs in the first morning of the test match.

    Dale Steyn to Michael Vaughan (outswinger pitching leg hitting off stump), Port-Elizabeth 2004. It was evident that he would be something special from that match which was his debut.

  • Rally_Windies on June 16, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    I still back Ambrose as the guy who sent down the most unplayable deliveries . they were usually too good for the batsmen to even get an edge ...

    I have heard people say, after they wafted at a Delivery from Curtly , they would need to double check their bats to make sure there wasn't a hole somewhere in it !

    I mean, because if you can edge it, you have technically played it !

  • SURYA.K.R on June 16, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    What about Ashwin's alien spin to Kulasekara in Champions Trophy 2013?

  • on June 16, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    You all forgot Croft 8 for 28 at the Oval vs Australia; that is the fiercest spell of bowling that I have ever seen.

  • on June 16, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    McGrath to Tendulkar and Lara were both unplayable. One Bowled and the other Caught Behind

  • Faizans on June 16, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    What about waqar younis yorker to lara . i think in 1997 in Rawalpindi.Which made Lara fall down.

  • Jonathan_E on June 16, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    And one really magnificent ball from a part-timer: Michael Vaughan, clean bowling Tendulkar, no less, with the perfect off-break, drawing him forward and beating him through the gap between bat and pad, during the 2002 India tour of England.

  • IndianInnerEdge on June 16, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    Imran to Vishy at karachi was top drawer stuff, started wide of off, late swing puitched outside off, swung again to take middle andoff - all this at gr8 speed-true awesome....also Kapil to Qasim Omer World championship of cricket 1985 final, awesome yorker, swung late like a bullet....marshall to Sunny 1983 at kanpur, as unplayable as it gets.....

  • on June 16, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Ambrose 46 all out v England!

  • CricketMaan on June 16, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Sreesanth to Kallis is one that could add..could it have been the pitch or something else, but a brute of a delivery that too from an Indian medium pacer!

  • on June 16, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    wasim akram to dravid in that chennai test 98/99. Still unplayable set of deliveries. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFOjvZaXeQ8

  • jzakariya on June 16, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    One particular omission is Imran Khan's 200th wicket, to dismiss G. Vishwanath. A vicious late inswinger (in hindsight utilizing reverse swing) that came in miles, so much so that the great batsman was leaving the ball and was bowled.

  • AussieYankee on June 16, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    Tait to DeVilliers in this T20I match (Melb 2008/09). Delivery was hard, fast, and unplayable. Hit DeVilliers in the helmet, and he staggered - out hit wicket, bowled Tait.

    Surprised at the great bowlers not on this list (Kumble, Murali, Vaas, Akhtar, Waqar, McGrath, Hadlee, Donald, Ambrose, Walsh, Steyn, Ntini)

  • on June 16, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    Flintoff to Ponting, Edgebaston 2005 - having already cleaned out Langer second ball of the over, he beat Ponting several times with an inswinger, before the outswinger which Ponting was compelled to play (a la Hadlee bowling to Dean Jones) and inevitably edge to slip.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Court-Bowled-Tales-Cricket-Law/dp/085490140X/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&qid=1385646505&sr=8-26&keywords=cricket+law

  • dorothydix on June 16, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Where is Underwood in this?! He would have bowled more unplayable balls than anyone on either wet uncovered wickets or dry turners.Remember in such conditions he bowled left arm orthodox at medium pace!

  • iffy187 on June 16, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar to Dravid/Tendulker. the silence in the ground when the yorker struck the stumps..total disbelief around the stadium.

  • on June 16, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Richard Hadlee to Dean Jones at the MCG in 1987. Two superb deliveries before comprehensively bowling him off the third ball for a duck.

  • on June 16, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    There can never be another quite like the mighty MIANDAD

  • mohanakrishnannaresh on June 16, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    why not warnie to strauss bowled and also warnie to chanderpaul bowled

  • Bilal_Choudry on June 16, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    Khan to Vishwanath karachi 83 .. wild inswinger which Vishwanath left and was bowled .. kept looking back at where it pitched and where it ended up

  • on June 16, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    no toe crushing yorker by Waqar?

  • on June 16, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    What about the best delivery to not get a wicket. Wasim Akram around to wicket to Robert Croft, speared in ate middle and leg, from that really wide angle. Ball swings out a few feet away from the batsman. misses the ouside edge and hits him plumb in front. At normal speed it does not even look out. But at slow mo it is as plumb as they come.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on June 16, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    Cutting to recent,heres a gem from man of moment,bowler of this gen.,no.1,fastest in world,tormentor of poms,rolled in 1.Yes, mr.Johnson.Mitch as he's called.Cook b Mitch.92 mph.Angled in from l/a over,curve in,pitches mid/off,decks off seam,top of off.

  • Kiran31 on June 16, 2014, 10:59 GMT

    this is not correct. RYAN HARRIS bowls those unplayable deliveries every other match. you could have added any one of those deliveries.

  • on June 16, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    i think i didn't see any of the balls live.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on June 16, 2014, 10:38 GMT

    That ball to gatting!What a sight!Can there be better ad for cricket?A ball befitting the man himself.A man who'd go on to be greatest ever spinner.At the time he delivered the 'ball of century' no 1 would've doubted the fact.Boy,did he prove them right!

  • qais_gee on June 16, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    What about Shoaib Akhtar's 2 deliveries (inswinging yorkers) to the "Master batsman" and "The Wall".

  • poms_have_short_memories on June 16, 2014, 10:17 GMT

    Glenn McGrath to Marcus Trescothick(is that how it is spelt?), 1st test, 1st innings in 2005 at Lords, not too shabby.

  • hamza1982 on June 16, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Panesar to Younis Khan?? That was a top delivery, but it doesn't belong in this list surely...

  • on June 16, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    ishanth sharma vs ponting

  • CUPULW on June 16, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    No doubt the best set of unplayables was delivered by Lasith Malinga in 2007 , Pollock , Hall , Kallis and Ntini. 4 in 4 .

    then he repeated in 2011 though against kenya and some tail enders.

  • on June 16, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    Ashwin to Amla in the world t20...considering a great ball is great in whichever format and this list includes odis and tests...this ball was the same as Warne's ball except for it came from an off spinner...via a carrom ball...no mean feat I say

  • balajik1968 on June 16, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    I stand corrected. That match was played in Karachi. I am glad to see at least 2 more people who remembered that ball. I hold that it moved much more than Warne's ball to Gatting, which considering the pace that Imran generated then was astonishing. This ball was in the middle of a spell which destroyed the Indian middle order. Part of the problem is the absence of footage from the sub-continental countries. Will you believe that Doordarshan actually erased tapes of Gavaskar's 29th and 30th centuries?

  • ilovetests on June 16, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    For NZ (apart from the aforementioned Cairns' slower ball), I nominate:

    this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAITp3TbwPA

    and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYT6HaV15mo

    PS I think the Harmison delivery is one of the most memorable, but for the wrong reasons!

  • PricelessPak on June 16, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    i cant beleive you missed shoaib akhtar's yorkers to tendulkar and dravid. plz revise the list and add them as those balls simply cannot be skipped. i'm sure you'll agree or anyone for that matter.

  • on June 16, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    Murali bowled some peaches as well.

  • on June 16, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    I've maintained that Ashley Giles' ball to dismiss Brian Lara in 2004 turned just as much as Warne's did to Gatting.

  • ooper_cut on June 16, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    There have been many many spinners who have bowled much better deliveries to much better batsmen than the ones mentioned here.

  • on June 16, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    1975 Jeff Thomson to Tony Greig - In ducking Yorker smashing his toes (which he tried to get out of the way, down leg side) and then rebounding onto his stumps -classic Thomo!

  • on June 16, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    You missed the Waqar Younis's toe crushers, Shoaib Akhtar to Sachin and Dravid and Dad of Gugly Abdul Qadir and Master of Doosra Saqlain Mushtaq and master himself the Murli Dharan....

  • Davo62 on June 16, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Who can forget Thommo taking Greig in Brisbane '74 What a yorker!!!

  • on June 16, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Muhammad Amir to Mitchell Johnson in the 2nd test in England 2010 was without no doubt one of the best delivery of that season.

  • tehkaal on June 16, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    @KiwiRocker, I totally agree with you mate. The writer has done a good-ish but incomplete job. And yes, that Warne delivery is over-hyped and in my personal opinion, was just a fluke...

  • siddhartha87 on June 16, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    where is the famous " Strauss ball" by Warne to Andrew Strauss in Ashes 2005. That is definitely the ball of 21st century

  • CricketPissek on June 16, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    that last one was a bit silly Steven :) surely there were more memorable balls? Like the googly to get The Don bowled 4 short of a career avg of 100. As a neutral fan, I can still remember the 2 successive SCREAMING yorkers bowled by Shoaib Akthar to take out Dravid's and Tendulkar's stumps in the inaugural Asian Test Championship of 1999. Martin Crowe leaving a ball from Murali (who he thought was a leg spinner) pitched 3 feet outside leg stump which bowled him around his legs. Brett Lee's 100mph ball in the 2007 World Cup final that shattered Marvan Atapattu's stumps. SO many choices to replace that full toss Javid smacked for six.

  • waspsting on June 16, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    fun read - obviously can't have a comprehensive or objective list.

    Like many have said, I'd throw in Waqar's yorker in general.

    Prefer Shoaib's yorker to Dravid to the one to Tendulkar (Tendulkar was actually trying to straight drive the ball, just beaten for pace, while Dravid - who was better set - did his best to dig the ball out. Ball to Dravid swung more, too)

    Alec Bedsar bowled Bradman 0 at Adeilaide in 47 with a late inswining leg cutter that swing onto leg, pitched and hit the top of off.

    Fleetwood-Smith bowling Hammond in 37 gets a lot of talk too.

    Personally, I think the best Warne dismissal I saw was bowling Gooch around his legs (the one to bowl Strauss in 05 was great too, also one to Chanderpaul in Australia)

  • on June 16, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    Then there was S. F. Barnes to just about anyone on too many occasions to mention, up to and including the Australians on their home turf. That's before you get started on his later League career in which, as I understand it, his bowling average was in *single figures*.

  • st_aubrun on June 16, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    Imran's 200th scalp was the astonishing delivery that took the wicket of Indian master batsman Ganduppa Vishvanath in the 1982 Karachi test. I recall the ball did a vicious outswing to pitch a foot outside offstump, Vishy raised both arms to let the ball harmlessly by but it cut in after pitching to smash in to middle and off. Vishvanath stood stunned, with arms and bat still raised, for a couple of seconds after being bowled. That was the series during which Imran took 40 wickets and his ICC bowlers rating at 922 is still the highest any bowler has ever had since the start of World War 1.

  • on June 16, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Donald to Tendulkar in the 1996/97 Test series in South Africa.

  • on June 16, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Waqar to lara yorker missed.

  • KiwiRocker- on June 16, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    I agree with most of above mentioned, but I am simply amused to not see Imran Khan's 200 wicket where he clean bowled G.Vishwanath in 1982. In my view, Vishwanath was one of best Indian batsmen ever and poor Vishy left Imran's in dipper and his leg stump went for a walk. Furthermore, Shoib Akhtar's clean bowled of Sachin Tendulkar in Kalkota test has to be there....Tendulkar was totally looked clueless. Waqar Younis has bowled many amazing deliveries. This so called ball of century from Warne was over hyped as Abdul Qadir and Indian spinners bowled numerous such deliveries. Write seems to also have an unjustified focus on slow deliveries, so in that case, I encourage him to have a look at Aaqaib Javed's amazing delovery to Mike Gratebactch in 1992 world cup.!

  • prashanthbm on June 16, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    i dont know if this is the best collection of unplayable deliveries..... how can 1 miss out on Sreesanth bouncer to get rid of kallis in tat test ???? ask the yorkshire keeper Richard Blakey about Kumble. probably he will tell how good his deliveries were without the spin but still beat many a batsmen......... it is quite biased for warne.............

  • billbassoz on June 16, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    Jeff Thompson to Lawrence Rowe second innings Adelaide Oval 1976. pitched off a good length moved off the seam to take an edge to be caought in slip. Rowe came back to the dressing room and said "God couldn't have played that one". Thompson to David Lloyd 2 years before hit Lloyd in "midships" and shattered his protector so badly his teammates had to pick the pieces out!

  • Vaughanographic on June 16, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    Agreed re Waqar Younis. Its understandable that there are more "modern" great deliveries but it is sad that one of the original purveyers of unplayable wrist-spinners, Leslie O'Brien Fleetwood-Smith, was not included. His ball to (I think) Walter Hammond that comprehensively bowled him was the undisputed predecessor to Warne's gatting ball.

    Look him up - a real legend of the game

  • on June 16, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    The ball or should I say 2 deliveries bowled by Akram to Rahul Dravid in the iconic madras test of 1998/99 is worth more than a mention.The 1st ball from Akram over the wicket pitches on line & raps on the pad resulting in aloud appeal. Replays show it chould have been bat pad though it was too close too call. Infact I remember thinking then there were many umpires who would have given it out.The next 1 was pitched almost simmilar & dravid covered for the late inswing. Except it was a late out swing & took the the right bail on its way & had the finesse of a magician. It was the sultan of swing defeating the best defence in the world. For me it was way above the Akhtar yorkers in the Calcutta test a fortnight later.

  • MianMoosa on June 16, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    How can this list miss SAQLAIN MUSHTAQ delivery to damen martyn in england 2001...Remember saqlain was off spinner, he bowls a DOOSRA to Martyn, it spin away like a leggie, take outside edge, caught in slip,, it was as good as Warne to gatting

  • klds.desilva on June 16, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    Chaminda Vaas to Stephen Fleming?

  • manas_02 on June 16, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    How about Murali bowling S.Ramesh of India? If I remember correctly, it was described as Murali's reply to Warne's ball of the century

  • on June 16, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    @anurag Chaudhary... and the delivery before that to Dravid.... totally changed the course of the match. Unplayable!

  • on June 16, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    how can u miss waqar younus with his yorker to lara.. the best batsman of 1990s...not just cleaning up the stumps but also making lara to fall on the ground!!

  • cricketLover123 on June 16, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    @ecric87 I agree with you.... Its the off spinners version of Warnes ball to Gatting. Murali has had soo many unplayable deliveries. Its sad that Cricinfo has failed to mention him in their list. You can watch that ball here..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlZXyDNK-yc

  • on June 16, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    Appalling that there is no mention of the Great Imran Khan's indipping yorkers.... This list is lacking some great deliveries who have changed the courses of matches on their heads, not to mention the careers of the players as well.

  • India_boy on June 16, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    Kallis, if not anyone else, will lways remember that rip snorter Sreesanth bowled to him, and he could only meekly glove it towards point, legs 2 feet in the air parallel to the ground, face turned 90 degrees to the other side. He will remember that

  • ecric87 on June 16, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    Murali to Bucher is same as the Warne to Gatting but not written

  • India_boy on June 16, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    Any bowling list without inclusion of Waqar Younis means only one thing...the guy was too good to have bowled only 1-2 great deliveries and consistently bowled dream yorkers as if it was an everyday thing!

  • balajik1968 on June 16, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    What about Imran to Viswanath in 1982-83 in Lahore. I still remember it. I remember seeing it in Black and White on television. I saw the ball pitch on the very edge of the pitch. Vishy shouldered arms, and lost his off stump. I rate that ball above Warne's ball to Gatting. That ball ended Vishy's career.

  • on June 16, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    @ satzzz ....unfortunately t-20 has not been there for a century..and no pundit can predict for coming century

  • on June 16, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    You missed Shoaib Akthar's yorker to Stephen Fleming from around the wicket, in the !C'99 semi finals. I remember someone calling it the fast bowler's equivalent of Warne's 'ball of the century'. Extremely fast and aimed straight at the toes, Fleming's leg stump was uprooted even before he could land his bat.

  • on June 16, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    Dale Steyn to Michael Clarke, Perth 2012. Clarke was in the form of his life, and did brilliantly to nick it. Most batsmen wouldn't have got within a foot.

  • on June 16, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    Shoib Akhtar to Great Sachin Tendelkar at Eden Garden 1999

  • on June 16, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    its crime if the writer thinks Waqar to Lara was a playable http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6zz-KLqFZ0

  • on June 16, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    @Rally Windies I saw that match. Wasn't it Walsh vs Athers? Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • Nadeem1976 on June 16, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    I think Wasim Akram ball to Alan Lamb in 92 WC final has to be ball of the century because Lamb was best batsman in short format at that time and watching him beaten like that still amaze me. Shaoib two balls to Dravid and Tendulkar should be included too. But in this list Garner should go as my fav for being unplayable throughout his career. I think Warne leg brake to Basit Ali test match is better ball than Warne to gatting.

  • subbuamdavadi on June 16, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    In the last 75 years, across 3 formats of the game, no Indian bowler has bowled a single memorable delivery? Bedi-Prasanna-Chandra, Kapil-Prabhakar-Kumble-Bhajji, Ashwin-Zaheer etc. - were you that useless? Difficult to believe!!

  • Brenson on June 16, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    What about Ambrose to Blewett in 1997? Ambrose hit a crack in the middle of the pitch and it practically yorked offstump.

  • loung_singh on June 16, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    that BALL by waqar younis to lara has to be here....perfect Yorker.. also the two consecutive Yorkers by shoaib akhtar to dravid and tendolkar needs to be mentioned

  • Rally_Windies on June 16, 2014, 3:38 GMT

    the most unplayable deliverers I have ever seen were a BUNCH from Ambrose to Atherton ...

    But they did not get wickets ......

    I believe not even Bradman could play those deliveries ...

    Atherton could not get within 6 inches of the ball ......

    You had to be as good as bradman, just to get an edge.....

  • satzzz on June 16, 2014, 3:33 GMT

    Where is Ashwin's ball against Amla? Almost all cricketing pundits had already declared it as the t-20 ball of the current century.

  • satzzz on June 16, 2014, 3:33 GMT

    Where is Ashwin's ball against Amla? Almost all cricketing pundits had already declared it as the t-20 ball of the current century.

  • Rally_Windies on June 16, 2014, 3:38 GMT

    the most unplayable deliverers I have ever seen were a BUNCH from Ambrose to Atherton ...

    But they did not get wickets ......

    I believe not even Bradman could play those deliveries ...

    Atherton could not get within 6 inches of the ball ......

    You had to be as good as bradman, just to get an edge.....

  • loung_singh on June 16, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    that BALL by waqar younis to lara has to be here....perfect Yorker.. also the two consecutive Yorkers by shoaib akhtar to dravid and tendolkar needs to be mentioned

  • Brenson on June 16, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    What about Ambrose to Blewett in 1997? Ambrose hit a crack in the middle of the pitch and it practically yorked offstump.

  • subbuamdavadi on June 16, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    In the last 75 years, across 3 formats of the game, no Indian bowler has bowled a single memorable delivery? Bedi-Prasanna-Chandra, Kapil-Prabhakar-Kumble-Bhajji, Ashwin-Zaheer etc. - were you that useless? Difficult to believe!!

  • Nadeem1976 on June 16, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    I think Wasim Akram ball to Alan Lamb in 92 WC final has to be ball of the century because Lamb was best batsman in short format at that time and watching him beaten like that still amaze me. Shaoib two balls to Dravid and Tendulkar should be included too. But in this list Garner should go as my fav for being unplayable throughout his career. I think Warne leg brake to Basit Ali test match is better ball than Warne to gatting.

  • on June 16, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    @Rally Windies I saw that match. Wasn't it Walsh vs Athers? Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • on June 16, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    its crime if the writer thinks Waqar to Lara was a playable http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6zz-KLqFZ0

  • on June 16, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    Shoib Akhtar to Great Sachin Tendelkar at Eden Garden 1999

  • on June 16, 2014, 5:32 GMT

    Dale Steyn to Michael Clarke, Perth 2012. Clarke was in the form of his life, and did brilliantly to nick it. Most batsmen wouldn't have got within a foot.