Pakistan No 3 Azhar Ali was in the middle of a mid-pitch chat with partner Asad Shafiq, after he had edged a Peter Siddle delivery to the third-man fence (at least the Pakistani batsmen were assured). But before he could comprehend what was happening, he saw Tim Paine casually whipping the bails off at his end, off a bullet throw from Mitchell Starc, and the Australians were celebrating. He was run out in the most farcical of fashions.
Here is Ali reliving the incident in his own words: “We were just discussing that the ball was swinging a bit late. We both didn’t actually realise something like this could happen. When Starc threw the ball even then we didn’t think anything was happening, but when it landed in the gloves of the keeper we realised something funny was happening. The way the shot was hit to a fast bowler and the edge flew I thought it reached the boundary.We were not watching the ball.”
Deadset, the most stupid run out you will ever see in Test cricket. He thought he hit a 4, he didn’t.https://t.co/8RKbnXnZVO
— Tim Mackay 🎓💲 (@timqfadvice) 18 October 2018
The Bell parallel
The incident evoked memories of Ian Bell getting himself run out (and then called back) in similarly bizarre fashion. In 2011 against India, Bell thought he had stroked the last ball before tea for a boundary and began jogging to the pavilion, thinking the umpire has called the “over”. But MS Dhoni, then the Indian skipper, had the presence of mind to feed the ball to short-leg fielder Abhinav Mukund , who broke the stumps. Much to Bell’s bafflement, television replays showed the ball hadn’t actually touched the boundary ropes and he hadn’t grounded his bat. Bell was legitimately out. But India withdrew the appeal over tea.