'What a ball': Cricket world goes bonkers over Mitchell Starc moment

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·Sports Editor
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Mitchell Starc, pictured here smashing Ben Stokes' stumps with an incredible ball.
Mitchell Starc smashed Ben Stokes' stumps with an incredible ball. Image: Fox Sports/Getty

Mitchell Starc gave Australia the perfect start on day three of the third Ashes Test at the MCG, sending Ben Stokes packing with a beauty of a ball.

Starting the day at 4-31 and still 51 runs behind Australia, England were desperate for Stokes and Joe Root to stick around.

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But Stokes was forced to depart on 11 when he was undone by a jaffa from Starc that smashed into his stumps.

Starc's delivery appeared to swing slightly away from Stokes before seaming back through the gate to hit the top of middle stump.

Stokes missed the ball by a mile as he looked on in disbelief before offering a nod of respect to Starc.

"That's an absolute jaffa," Ricky Ponting said in commentary for Channel 7. "What a ball."

"Ben Stokes just threw his head back and stood there as if to say, 'I can't do much about that!'"

Fans and pundits were equally impressed with Starc's ball.

"That ball from Mitchell Starc that bowled Ben Stokes is one of the filthiest deliveries I think I’ve ever seen?" tweeted Sam Vecenie.

"That ball just absolutely DOVE left like a screwball. That thing was totally unhittable, good lord."

Third Test continues after Ashes players test negative

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia is breathing a huge sigh of relief after all players from Australia and England returned negative tests to Covid-19 on Tuesday.

Just hours after four non-playing members of England's camp tested positive to the virus via rapid test, all players were sent for PCRs after play on day two in Melbourne.

The outcome of those tests left CA sweating on not only the remainder of the Boxing Day Test, but the rest of the Ashes series as a whole.

Ben Stokes, pictured here being undone by an unplayable Mitchell Starc ball.
Ben Stokes was undone by an unplayable Mitchell Starc ball. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

But they were given the best possible news on Tuesday morning, allowing day three to go ahead as scheduled at the MCG.

"Players from the Australian and England teams all had PCR COVID-19 Tests after play yesterday and all results have come back negative," Cricket Australia said in a statement.

"The families of both sets of players also had PCR tests yesterday and all returned a negative test.

"The England team's support staff and their family members who tested positive after PCR tests yesterday are in isolation."

However questions still remain over the rest of the series, and the flow-on effect the scare could have for scheduling.

There is some thought Victoria could be a safe haven for the rest of the series, where close contacts of cases must only isolate until they return a negative test result.

with AAP

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