A bizarre incident occurred in the recently-completed Sheffield Shield clash between New South Wales and South Australia at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Discarded Australia gloveman Peter Nevill showcased his quick reflexes to effect a rare stumping off a fast bowler.
Now, you could be forgiven for thinking that the dismissal might have happened when the pacer was operating from a shortened run-up. However, that was not the case as Trent Copeland steamed in from his usual run-up and the wicket-keeper was not standing up to the stumps.
The more impressive aspect of Nevill’s stumping was its contribution to take his team to a resounding victory. Having conceded a first-innings lead of 205 runs, South Australia rode on a responsible ton from Callum Ferguson to wipe out the deficit with the middle-order still in play. English recruit Mason Crane broke open the door by dismissing Jake Lehmann and the centurion in quick succession.
New South Wales’ seamers soon got in on the act. After Pat Cummins breached through Chadd Sayers’ defence, Copeland removed Tom Cooper in the most unusual of fashions. He sent a shorter delivery to which the batsman shouldered arms. This was shaping up to be just another routine leave. Little did the striker know about the situation that was to follow.
Cooper was standing outside his crease and the inertia took him even further. Realising the window of opportunity to do something special, Nevill collected the ball and swiftly unfurled a throw which crashed onto the stumps. With everything happening in quick time, the unsuspecting batsman was caught short of his crease despite his best attempts to turn around and slide the bat in.
Amidst frenzied appeals, the leg-umpire raised the dreaded finger to send the batsman on his way. The fielders began to erupt and mobbed Nevill in awe of his extraordinary glove work. Not looking back, New South Wales proceeded to dismiss South Australia for 304. Their batsmen overhauled the target of 100 runs with consummate ease to register a comprehensive 8-wicket victory.
What do the rules say?
Law 39.1 encapsulating stumpings says, “The striker is out stumped, except as in 3 below, if, (i) a ball which is not a No ball is delivered and (ii) he is out of his ground and (iii) he has not attempted a run when (iv) his wicket is fairly put down by the wicket-keeper without the intervention of another fielder.”
Law 39.3 states, “(a) Notwithstanding 1 above, the striker will not be out Stumped if he has left his ground in order to avoid injury.”
With the batsman leaving his crease before the delivery’s play has been completed, the rules stipulate that he will be stumped and not run out as long as no run is being attempted by either him or the non-striker. Hence, Cooper’s dismissal was entered as a stumping and not as a run-out.