That game when Kane Williamson’s most exciting contribution was a bye

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Cricket is a mad and contrary sport. In a Test where he masterminded a successful fourth-innings run-chase with 121 not out, Kane Williamson’s most exciting contribution was to completely bloody miss the ball and run a bye.

For those that don’t know, Williamson faced the scheduled final ball of the first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka with the scores level.

Eight wickets down, they couldn’t lose, but the slowly-built anxiety of defeat still being a possibility just one ball earlier hadn’t exactly dissipated.

Asitha Fernando dug it in short and Williamson attempted the kind of jaunty hopping pull shot he would never normally consider.

Even as he was in the process of completely missing the ball, non-striker The Great Neil Wagner, armed with a bulging disc in his back and a torn right hamstring, was already haring uncomfortably down the pitch to try and securing the winning bye.

Honestly, “the winning bye.” What a concept! What a sport!

What we love about this is that fundamental cricket thing of the match situation transforming ordinarily moronic decisions into correct ones.

Ball heading directly to the wicketkeeper’s gloves? Time to set off running!

The timings of everyone’s actions are great. You can see in this next shot that as Niroshan Dickwella threw, Wagner was about to dive for the ground that Williamson was still in the process of leaving.

And this is another marvellous snapshot in time. There’s a bloke on his face on the ground and a fielder visibly lamenting a missed run-out, even as another run-out attempt is at that moment taking place.

Finally, the logical conclusion to such a clear and straightforward passage of play.

Two batters (and one fielder) lie on their faces as the losing team celebrates.

It’s absolutely incredible that New Zealand manage to contrive this kind of a finish to a Test match just a fortnight after this one.

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  1. Who scored the winning runs then?

    Oh, nobody. I missed the ball completely but we ran anyway.

    Cricket rules are insane.

      1. This is as far as a Phlog (photo blog, if I may) can go in any competitive sport. I can not imagine any other last moment situationin cricket by which the winning side can be declared. Oh, yes, there is another possibility; what if one of the batters were to run himself out! On a time scale that would be a nano second earlier than completion of the winning run, and the result would be a #tiedtest! This is crazy.

  2. Most of this makes a peculiar kind of sense, but what circumstances led to the fielder at point/gully deciding to lie down?

    1. Going by the previous image, it looks like some sort of wormhole opened up in the grass and tried to suck him in.

  3. Completely mad moment.

    Astonishing that Wagner was injured but he ran like crazy without giving any chance for a Mankad.

    This should be a lesson in running for dear life !!

  4. It’s just occurred to me that the King Cricket comment world has been changed a smidgeon by this extraordinary incident.

    No longer do “we need more ties”…henceforward…”we need more byes”.

  5. The final picture is weird in so many ways. How did the bowler end up facing the way he did, having just thrown the ball what is now, for him, backwards? We have a disappearing umpire but two new fielders, including one who is unquestionably completely stationary. There is no way he can have moved to get into that position, it must be the same wormhole shown to exist in the earlier photo.

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