Black Caps star suffers one of cricket's unluckiest dismissals

Publish Date
Friday, 24 June 2022, 9:07AM


Black Caps batsman Henry Nicholls has suffered one of the unluckiest dismissals in test cricket history.

After 98 balls of grind, Nicholls advanced down the wicket confidently to his 99th delivery from Jack Leach on the first day at Headingley. Nicholls got to the pitch of the ball and drove it emphatically down the ground.

But, rather than heading towards the boundary ropes at the Football Stand End, instead Nicholls could only watch on with horror.

Daryl Mitchell has been middling the ball all series; this time, he middled Nicholls's shot, diverting it straight to Alex Lees at mid-off, dropping into his hands like an apple from a tree.

Law 33.2.2.3 states it will be out if a fielder catches the ball after it has touched the wicket, an umpire, another fielder, a runner or the other batter.

It was a bizarre dismissal - and, after Colin de Grandhomme's no-ball spared Ben Stokes during England's run chase at Lord's, and New Zealand dropping a spate of catches at Trent Bridge before Jonny Bairstow sealed an astounding final day victory, added to the sense that, under Brendon McCullum, England are getting all the breaks.

As Nicholls trudged off in disbelief, England could toast a crucial blow: the end of a 40-run stand for the fifth wicket that threatened to justify New Zealand's decision to bat first. Leach's fortuitous wicket left New Zealand 123 for five at tea.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, back after missing the second Test because of Covid-19, won the toss and elected to bat first on a flattish pitch, but England seized the initiative.

New Zealand were left kicking themselves as almost every batsman apart from the struggling Latham got in on a good batting wicket but failed to go on, although in Nicholls' case there was very little he could do as luck shone on a buoyant England.

A century stand by Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell rescued the day for the Black Caps, but still left England with first day honours.

England are seeking to win every match of a home series with at least three Tests for the first time since beating India 4-0 in 2011.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission