In cricket, there are small crimes, big crimes and then the biggest one – that of refusing to take the wicket of Steve Smith. In the post-lunch session, Joe Root had a golden chance to dismiss the Aussie, but thanks to his horrendous or deliberate misjudgement, the latter was given a reprieve.
Imagine waiting the whole day trying to plot a way to get Steve Smith out, and eventually not take the opportunity when it comes at your feet? That’s exactly what the English team did today, and one must say that they’re not helping themselves by letting the opportunities go begging.
With the pitch assisting spin, skipper Joe Root continued to roll his arm over with the second new ball fast approaching, in hope of getting a breakthrough. On the second ball of the 82nd over, Matthew Wade confidently cut a Root half-tracker square of the wicket towards Joe Denly, who was fielding on the boundary line. The shot seemed like a regulation double, but a minor miscommunication between the batsmen complicated things, as Smith hurried towards the non-strikers end in desperation, after hesitating mid-way while running the second.
Having noticed this, Denly threw the ball towards the non-strikers’ end in the hope of getting the former Aussie skipper out. As the throw came towards Root, Smith was well short and not even in the frame, and looked all set to be a goner. However, shockingly, the English skipper, who was standing in front of the stumps, let the ball go instead of collecting and breaking it, incorrectly assuming that it would go on to hit the stumps.
But to his agony, the ball missed the stump, and it ended in England gifting a reprieve to Smith. The English players were left baffled by the act of Root, whose deliberate misjudgement ended up giving the 30-year-old a life. We’ve had several talking points in this Ashes so far, but this, undoubtedly, would go down as the “brain fade” moment of the match.