Cricket can be a cruel or funny sport, depending on which team you are playing or rooting for. For England and most neutral fans, the manner of Henry Nicholls’s dismissal would be one that elicited laughter and disbelief and for the batter himself and for New Zealand fans, it would feel like an unfair way to go.
Nicholls was stitching a partnership with Daryl Mitchell after New Zealand had lost their first three wickets but it all came to an end due to a well hit drive down the ground off England spinner Jack Leach. Instead of rushing towards the boundary behind the bowler, the ball ended up ricocheting right off the middle of non-striker Mitchell’s bat before ballooning into the hands of Alex Lees at mid-off.
It all happened so quickly that Leach was looking towards long-on when his team mates started celebrating. He still looked perplexed when he saw that the ball was in Lees’s hands.
Eagle-eyed fans were quick to draw comparisons to how the late Andrew Symonds was dismissed against Sri Lanka. At the time, Symonds’ shot ricocheted off the right leg of former Australia captain Michael Clarke at the non-striker’s end.
While Nicholls did not have a smile on his face while he walked off, Symonds saw the funny side of it. He gestured towards Clarke that the latter owes him a beer and was grinning as he walked.
Mitchell continued his scintillating form in the series, however, ending the day unbeaten on 78 off 159 balls. Kiwi wicketkeeper Tom Blundell, who has also been among the runs this series and has formed a particularly strong partnership with Mitchell, is at the other end with 45 on board off 108 balls.
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