Dom Bess’s terrible five-for: the not-very-highs, lows and lower-stills of one of the flukiest match-shaping bowling performances you’re ever likely to see

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Someone has to carefully document Dom Bess’s absolutely dreadful 5-30 against Sri Lanka and that person has to be us.

The stats people at CricViz do a thing where they estimate how many wickets a bowler could realistically expect to have taken in a given spell based on the deliveries they produced. On this occasion CricViz concluded that Bess’s bowling warranted 0.18 wickets.

Just to reiterate – he took five.

These were the five.

Wicket 1: Kusal Perera, caught Root

Facing Bess’s second ball of the innings, Perera decided it was high time for a reverse sweep.

He fluffed it straight to first slip and then scuttled off, swinging his bat in a temper because he’d played a reverse sweep to a bowler’s second delivery and fluffed it straight to first slip.

Wicket 2: Niroshan Dickwella, caught Sibley

Bess’s second wicket came from a hop so long that it eventually arrived at Dickwella at stomach height.

Unaccustomed to deliveries that slow arriving at that height, Dickwella got under it and plopped it into the hands of backward point.

Bess celebrated by frowning and shaking his head in disgust at having bowled something so dire.

Basically, the sheer existential trauma of having delivered something so filthy entirely negated his joy of having taken a wicket.

Wicket 3: Dasun Shanaka, caught Buttler

Shanaka swept the ball and a leaping, flinching Jonny Bairstow inadvertently backheeled it straight up in the air for Jos Buttler to pouch.

Bess celebrated by laughing in disbelief at his outrageous fortune.

(Special mention for the moment just after Buttler took the catch when everyone was running around in glee and Dom Sibley went haring after Bairstow to try and celebrate with him while Bairstow was busy trying to hobble away so that he could collapse onto his hands and knees in agony.)

Wicket 4: Dilruwan Perera, bowled

Inside-out drive second ball with the score reading 126-7.

Failed to hit ball.

Wicket 5: PWH de Silva, bowled

This one was particularly great. De Silva basically moved out of the path of the ball so that he could play an air reverse sweep.

You see a batsman get himself in this position and it’s already very exciting…

Head right over the ball. Great. Bat… maybe not in quite such a great position…

Aaaaand Sri Lanka are all out…

Michael Vaughan called Sri Lanka’s innings, “the worst possible advertisement for Test cricket” – but let us tell you right now it was no such thing. It was demented and rubbish and hugely entertaining and therefore an excellent advert for Test cricket.

Great work everybody.

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  1. Jack Leach was bowling very well at the other end.

    There is a folksy theory that good spells of bowling sometimes take their wickets at the other end. Not sure it entirely applies in this “team brain fade” scenario, but surely some credit to Jack Leach for the pressure applied.

    Excellent wicket-taking-ball-by-ball analysis nonetheless, KC.

    1. The terrible piped crowd noise, sounding something akin to the central heating kicking in, surely deserves a mention; as does the vast number of corvids assembled in the outfield, presumably waiting to feast on the carcass of Sri Lankan cricket. Or maybe they just turned up to watch Crawley.

      I’m fairly certain there was some arse involved in that Bairstow wicket assist too.

      A fine day all round.

  2. When I was a lad, playing for my dad’s proper grown up men’s team, I bowled a disgusting long hop which the bastman crunched to midwicket, where the fielder took a spectacular full-length diving catch. I was so shocked I burst out crying.

    1. You’ve gone up one notch in my estimation for your bravery in making this confession, Sam…

      …but sadly you have gone down two notches for the confession itself. Surely you had learnt, even in your infancy, that cricket requires the victor to feign that the result was by design? By then, surely the game had made a mug of you often enough that you knew you needed to show front whenever you got the chance.

      Tell that Sam of your childhood to man up!

      (But thanks for the story, it did make me smile. As did the Kool & the Gang reference by KC).

  3. Two things:

    (1) Just imagine how many wickets Ballance could have taken

    (2) Sri Lanka have clearly been listening to a certain podcast, this was pretty Ridiculous

      1. Excellent.

        Episode two aided my power nap today even more effectively than episode one had done. That probably says more about my need for said nap than it says about the podcast. I felt very much at home with the ridiculousness being at Lord’s for this episode. Dewey eyed, I was.

        I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t pick Mike Atherton’s second innings dismissal for one of the ridiculous nominations. Athers had such a good chance of making that coveted Lord’s test ton in that innings, something that had evaded him throughout his career. A milestone that he had come oh so close to achieving on his previous Ashes appearance at the home of cricket, only to be run out cruelly on 99. So how on earth did Mike Atherton conspire against himself to get out hit wicket to Michael Kasprowitz for 77? Kasprowitz was otherwise entirely impotent in that test match and Atherton was hardly a hit wicket candidate – that was his only hit wicket dismissal in his entire test career (200+ dismissals). Ridiculous.

      2. The Home of Ridiculousness

        (Although I think Headingley would contest that title, based on Ashes matches)

      3. According to Derek Pringle, he “spoilt a neat clip down to fine leg off Kasprowicz by backing into his off-stump.”

        Getting out does rather spoil a shot.

    1. According to Wikipedia his middle name is Edward. I’m just ever so slightly disappointed it wasn’t “Baines” or at least something else beginning with “B”.

      1. Good shout Ged.

        I’m going to console myself with the possibility that “Edward” is actually pronounced as “Elephant”.

  4. Cricviz blog said that Bess had an expected wicket tally of 0.57, not 0.18.
    Even so, that is still a whopping difference.

  5. That’s an interesting attack for India today. 5 bowlers with 4 caps between them?

    Still, seems to have started well enough for them.

    1. Unfortunately more dropped catches. Over all, catching standards have been terrible in the Oz-Ind series

  6. Had this headline in my back pocket all morning:

    ‘TONS AND LOVERS!’ Lawrence re-writes history as debut century gains rave reviews.

    Then he goes and ruins it.

    1. Yup. That did not go entirely in accordance with Lawrence’s script. He didn’t even leave the field of play with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few. No bestial roar. Not even a kick to send the stumps in the direction of his errant opponents.

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