Headingley, June 23 – New Zealand batter Henry Nicholls was dismissed in a bizarre manner on the opening day of the third Test against England when the ball was caught after deflecting off his own teammate’s bat, here on Thursday.
Nicholls was on 19 from 98 deliveries when Jack Leach came up to bowl the final over before Tea on the opening day. The middle-order batter would have been expecting four runs when he middled a drive off Leach but it wasn’t the case.
Nicholls’ booming drive came straight out of the sweet spot and Daryl Mitchell at the non-striker’s didn’t have quite enough time to react and get out of the way. The drive zeroed in on the middle of Mitchell’s flailing bat as he attempted to pull it out of the way, and deflected away towards mid-off.
The ricochet very nearly caught the umpire, who was forced to dive out of the way, and a stunned Alex Lees caught the ball in the air to send Nicholls back to the pavilion for 19 and leave New Zealand five down.
“How has it got there?!” exclaimed Nasser Hussain on commentary.
“Mitchell’s at the non-striker’s end, he’s trying to get his bat out of the way, the umpire’s trying to get out of the way� and Mitchell’s middled it straight to mid-off. I cannot believe that, I really can’t,” he added.
England have already secured the three-match series against New Zealand with thrilling wins at Lord’s and in Nottingham. However, there are crucial ICC World Test Championship points at stake – England are currently in the penultimate spot in the nine-team table.