In the fifth and final day of the Ashes 2023 Test between England and Australia, a remarkable moment occurred when Steve Smith narrowly escaped being caught behind the stumps.
Ben Stokes made a fantastic attempt at a catch in the leg slip position, but despite his efforts, Smith was not out.
During the session, England began their pursuit of a target of 384 runs set by Australia. However, they lost three wickets in the initial overs, including both opening batsmen and Marnus Labuschagne. This setback caused England to make a comeback in the Test match. If Steve Smith had been dismissed in the final over of the session, Australia would have been four wickets down.
Please watch the video for the catch in question.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 31, 2023
The incident in question took place in the 66th over of Moeen Ali’s bowling. Smith moved forward to the first delivery but his gloves obstructed the path of the ball. The ball flew towards the leg slip region, where Ben Stokes was ready for such opportunities. England’s captain made an incredible diving catch with his right hand, seemingly taking a clean catch. However, the on-field umpire, Nitin Menon, deemed it not out.
When Menon was reviewing the catch, he was heard saying, “The catch has been taken cleanly. Wait! Wait! Step back, please step back. Oh no, when he was trying to celebrate, he lost control of the ball. He didn’t have complete control of the catch,” as per the on-air commentary. Following this, Menon went to the umpire’s room and declared Steve Smith not out.
The commentators noted that when Stokes was celebrating, the ball touched his thigh. In the first session, Australia lost three wickets and scored 103 runs. Usman Khawaja and David Warner kept Australia’s momentum going in their chase of 384 runs. Khawaja scored 72 runs, while Warner managed to score 60 before getting dismissed by Chris Woakes. Marcus Labuschagne fell cheaply at 13 runs. Smith and Travis Head remained unbeaten with 40 and 31 runs, respectively, leaving Australia with a requirement of 146 runs in the last two sessions.