fifty years ago February 14, 1970 Archives

From the Archives (February 14, 1970): 69 no-balls in a Test

“One unusual feature of the second Test (Durban) match (between South Africa and Australia) was the number of no-balls. There was 69 in all, which must mean either that the two umpires are men of unusual percipience (a view with which Lawry would not agree) or that almost all other umpires are lax in their interpretation of the law.” John Woodcock, cricket correspondent of the Times, London, covering the tour, continues, “The fact that there’s a slight rise or ramp at each end just behind the bowling creases at Kingsmead might have had something to do with it; but they have always been there and there has never before been such a surfeit of no-balls.” The no-ball is now declared with reference to the front foot, if it lands clear beyond the popping crease, or with reference to the back foot if the umpire is not satisfied that the bowler’s back foot has landed within and not touching the return crease or its forward extension. The reason behind this rule is if there is a restriction on the landing of the front foot it will prevent the bowler from dragging his back foot, down the pitch, beyond the bowling crease, an evil prevalent with fast bowlers.

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