Controversy erupts over legality of 'ball of the 21st century'

Many are calling Adil Rashid’s incredible ball against India the best they’ve seen this century, but was it a legal delivery?

The cricket world erupted on Wednesday after Rashid produced an absolute stunner to send KL Rahul packing in the fifth Test at The Oval.

Rahul was in fine form and racking up the runs on 149, but was undone when Rashid got a ball to rip into off stump from way outside leg.

What a ball! Image: Fox Sports

The ball shot out of the rough and spun past Rahul’s bat, leaving the Indian opener completely stunned.

Fans were also in awe, with many declaring it the best delivery they’d seen in the 21st century.

However there were a number of other fans who questioned the legality of the ball.

Is this a no-ball? Image: Fox Sports

Rashid was bowling around the wicket and ended up landing his front outside the return crease while delivering the ball.

That’s exactly what happened with the delivery that dismissed Rahul, and many fans thought it should have been called a no-ball.

The relevant rule is covered in Law 21.5 in the International Cricket Council regulations, which states:

“For a delivery to be fair in respect of the feet, in the delivery stride…the bowler’s back foot must land within and not touching the return crease appertaining to his/her stated mode of delivery… (and) on the same side of the imaginary line joining the two middle stumps as the return crease.”

Law 21. Image: ICC

While the rule isn’t particularly clear in respect to whether or not a bowler’s front foot has to land within the return crease, many fans were of the belief that as long as the back foot is grounded within the return crease, the delivery is legal.

Regardless of whether or not the ball was legitimate, there’s no questioning the incredible skill it took to bowl it.

“Shane Warne ball!” Geoffrey Boycott said in commentary.

“It pitched two foot outside leg stump, into the bowler’s footmarks. That turned a long, long way.”

James Anderson sealed England’s 118-run victory with a wicket that made him the most successful fast bowler in the history of Test cricket.