Watch: Mitchell Starc's 'Grounded' Catch Triggers Controversy. Here's Why It Was Not Out
Ben Duckett earned a lifeline on Day 4 of the 2nd Ashes Test at Lord's as Australia's Mitchell Starc 'grounded' the ball after what seemed to be a clean catch.
As Australia all-rounder Cameron Green got England batter Ben Duckett to hit a bouncer towards the fine third-man area, fielder Mitchell Starc's eyes lit up. Starc seemed to be in absolute control as he grabbed the catch. Upon finishing the catch, the Australia star had a big smile on his face, confident that he did enough to send the England batter packing. But, little did he know of what was awaiting. As Duckett began walking towards the pavillion, he was recalled after the third umpire suggested that Starc's catch wasn't clean.
A huge debate erupted on the field, with Australia skipper Pat Cummins taking up the matter with the on-field umpire, asking why the decision was not out. The suggestion was that Starc, after grabbing the catch, grounded the ball. Since he wasn't in control of the catch entirely, the decision had to be given in the favour of the batter.
A bemused Australian team looked disappointed while the debate over the catch erupted on social media too.
Why was the decision not-out?
As per the rulebooks, the fielder should be in complete control of the ball and his movement till the catch is completed. Which, according to the third umpire, wasn't the case.
Law 33.3 of the MCC's Laws of Cricket states that "the act of making a catch shall start from the time when the ball first comes into contact with a fielder's person and shall end when a fielder obtains complete control over both the ball and his/her own movement."
In relation to the below incident, Law 33.3 clearly states that a catch is only completed when the fielder has "complete control over the ball and his/her own movement."— Marylebone Cricket Club (@MCCOfficial) July 1, 2023
See here for full clarification: https://t.co/cCBoJd6xOS#MCCLaws pic.twitter.com/TEOE1WKJvu
On Day 4 of the Lord's Test, the third umpire Marais Erasmus felt that Starc was not in control of his own movement when the ball was brushed against the turf.
The MCC also explained the matter on Twitter.
"Law 33.3 clearly states that a catch is only completed when the fielder has 'complete control over the ball and his/her movement'.
"The ball cannot touch the ground before then. In this particular incident, Mitchell Starc, was still sliding as the ball rubbed the ground, therefore he was not in control of his movement."
The match would resume on Day 5, with England on 114/4, needing 257 more runs to win the contest.