Azhar Ali has thrown away his wicket with one of the most baffling and embarrassing run outs in recent cricket history.
Sitting pretty on 64 runs and adding to Pakistan’s mammoth lead over Australia in the second Test in Abu Dhabi, Ali edged a Peter Siddle delivery through the slips and expected it to race away for a boundary.
Rather than running for two, Azhar moved his way into the middle of the pitch to chat to Asad Shafiq.
He was completely unaware that Mitchell Starc, dodgy hamstring and all, was chasing the ball.
Starc beat it to the rope, threw the ball to Tim Paine and just like that Azhar was run out – or as some fans put it, ‘not run’ out.
Former Australian Test star Mark Waugh said it was “in the grand final for the worst dismissal of all time” and Mike Hussey added that he had never seen a run out like it.
Allan Border was “lost for words” and called for Azhar and Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne to star in a ‘Dumb and Dumber’ remake!
“It’s official. Marnus Labuschagne has been superseded as the dumbest batsman,” the former Australian skipper said.
What did I just watch. Azar ali!!! what is he doing. Could be huge in the context of the match. Big gift. Come on Aus.
— John Hastings (@johnhastings194) October 18, 2018
The list of insanely ridiculous run outs of Pakistani batsmen is long but Azhar Ali has just turned in an all time top five entry.
— Ahmer Naqvi (@karachikhatmal) October 18, 2018
run out (Starc-Paine-self-Shafiq) 64#pakvaus
— Brydon Coverdale (@brydoncoverdale) October 18, 2018
The wicket dropped Pakistan to 4-160 as they pushed their lead past 300.
The brain fade made Labuschagne’s mistake on day two look tame in comparison.
The Australian non-striker had watched the ball touch the bowler’s hand as it passed him by, failing to put his bat down.
“It was just a little bit of a brain meltdown, I think from Marnus,” veteran teammate Nathan Lyon said.
“It was just one of those things, just a lapse of concentration for a second, and before you know it you’re back in the sheds. It was disappointing but that happens in cricket.”
Azhar had resumed on Thursday after surviving an lbw review thanks to the contentious ‘three-metre rule’ late in the previous day’s play.
The batsman, who was on 53 at the time, was given not out but Paine called for a review almost immediately.
Replays showed the ball could not have been much better placed – pitching on middle and leg, turning away from the right-hander and hitting off stump.
But the DRS technology determined that the point of impact was more than three metres from the stumps, meaning the umpire’s call could not be overturned.
Lyon had been thwarted by the rule in the first Test in Dubai, gifting Haris Sohail a lifeline on 51 on his way to 110.
“We didn’t really know about it until last Test, about the three metres,” Australian opener Aaron Finch said after the Azhar controversy.
“Pitching in line, hitting in line, hitting the stumps – to me, that’s strange. Obviously I understand the element of predicting the path of the ball.
“That’s something that’s gone against us a couple of times, but that’s the game, that’s the rule, and we’ve just got to deal with it.”