The match has already seen Yasir Shah’s version of the ball of the century when he castled Kusal Mendis with a Jaffa. Now, on the penultimate day of the Test, Prabath Jayasuriya produced a memorable dismissal, when he took out Babar Azam, bowled around his legs.
Pakistan are in control, needing 120 runs more with 7 wickets intact as the season of chases seems to continue in the cricketing world. First England, now Pakistan are well on their way but if they do stumble tomorrow, Jayasuriya’s unique dismissal of Babar might be hailed as the turning point. Jayasuriya had been trying that outside-leg line for a while, bowling his left-armers from over the wicket, into the rough. Much like Ashley Giles used to do to Sachin Tendulkar. Babar either tapped them away or took it on the pad.
This time, though, just an over before the second new ball was due, Babar chose to pad it without thrusting his pad in line of the ball outside leg stump. On a
few occasions before that, the ball had turned in from closer to the leg stump, and was in line of the stumps when Babar let his front pad intervene.
This ball, though, Jayasuriya had floated it well outside leg stump, and for some reason, Babar didn’t quite open up his stance nor thrust his front pad in line.
Instead, he just moved it a shade, even had his face turned to the off, expecting the ball was going to turn in towards the line of stumps and hit the pad.
But the ball that had landed further outside leg stump, ripped around his front pad, went around his body, and clattered into the leg stump. Babar stood there, dazed, looking at the stump, his partner, then the stumps again.
— Vamsi Vemula (@VamsiVemula7) July 19, 2022
The most famous Pakistani dismissal of being bowled from a similar line was Basit Ali’s. Shane Warne, operating from around the stumps, had ripped one on a length outside leg stump. Ali casually thrust his left leg across, towards the line of the ball, but the ball zipped between his legs. It was the last ball of the day as well and Warne had had a chat with Ian Healy.
In Warne’s own words, “We played it up a bit later, but the conversation actually went: ‘What are we going to do for dinner tonight, mate? Do you feel Mexican? Italian?’” He would settle for Pakistani in the end.
Marnus is trying to hit the rough and bowl Shafique around his legs…
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) March 8, 2022
As Healy walked back after the chat, he said to Warne, “See if you can do some magic, see if you can get him around his legs or something.”
There was another similar delivery that Warne had bowled to a right-hander from around the wickets. The famous dismissal of Graham Gooch in 1993 Ashes.
That one was much fuller, and Gooch had tried to kick it away with an outstretched left leg but it landed beyond it and ripped across to crash into the leg stump and leave him bewildered.
Chasing 342, Pakistan were comfortably placed at 205 for 2, when Babar became the third wicket to fall. Pakistan still are in control at stumps as the centurion Abdulla Shafique (112*) and Mohammad Rizwan (7*) ensured there wouldn’t be any further damage.