Bails remain despite unearthed stump
One of the cricket's stranger moments, as the middle stump is removed but bails somehow remain in place
9 May 2017, 01:50 PM AEST
It isn't often your middle stump is uprooted but you still have umpires seriously considering whether or not it's out.
Yet that's exactly the strange situation Moonee Valley batsman Jatinder Singh found himself in last weekend.
The gravity-defying incident occurred in a winter competition in Melbourne's north-west on Saturday when Singh was clean-bowled during a match against Strathmore Heights.
But amazingly, the two bails remained serenely perched in their grooves atop the other undisturbed stumps, seemingly wedged together above where the unearthed middle peg recently stood.
After some deliberation, Singh was correctly given out, though the umpires could have been forgiven had they come to the opposite conclusion.
Law 28 of the Marylebone Cricket Club's Laws of Cricket dictates, "the disturbance of a bail, whether temporary or not, shall not constitute its complete removal from the top of the stumps", meaning just because the bails had moved, it doesn't necessarily mean it's out.
The MCC-produced Tom Smith's Cricket Umpiring and Scoring spells goes into more detail; if both bails remain "on top" of the stumps, or if any part of a displaced bail is above unbroken stumps, the stumps are not deemed to be 'down'.
In this case, both bails were on top of stumps, right? The bails weren't "displaced", and they were both technically above "unbroken stumps", weren't they?
Sure, but keen cricket followers would of course know the first part of Law 28 also states that a wicket is considered down if a stump is "struck out of the ground".
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Meaning, unfortunately for Singh, the batsman had no right to feel aggrieved.
The whole incident left Moonee Valley skipper Michael Ozbun both surprised and a little curious.
"We had no idea what the actual ruling on it was, but we all admired it for a few minutes," Ozbun told The Leader.
"You probably couldn't do that again if you tried.
"We weren't sure if maybe (the stumps) were put it at a slight angle so there was just a little bit of pressure.
"When they were sitting on the stumps, they were in the grooves. It wasn't like the middle of the bails were above the stumps or anything.
"The ball had to have hit at the exact right point that the stump didn't fly up, it went down."
A not-too-dissimilar event occurred in an Under-17 Geraldton Junior Cricket Association match last summer, where Bluff Point/Champan Valley batsman Jacobi Unbehaun was incorrectly given out after having his timber rattled.
One of Unbehaun's bails was dislodged but rather than falling off the stumps, it sat resting in the groove above leg-stump where its end would normally sit.
While he was given out, the correct decision was in fact not out, as both bails remained "on top" of the stumps.