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cricket news: Is This Bowled?

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Mohandas Menon poses this interesting example.


The umpire gave this not out according to the commentator. Under the Laws the umpire appears to be wrong, and at first I was convinced that it had to be wrong. But there might be a wrinkle.

The bowled dismissal is defined in Law 32
32.1.1 The striker is out Bowled if his/her wicket is put down by a ball delivered by the bowler, not being a No ball, even if it first touches the striker’s bat or person.
The issue here is the meaning of the phrase "wicket is put down" in this definition. This definition is given in Law 29. The relevant parts of this law are quoted below.
29.1.1 The wicket is put down if a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the ground, by the ball,
29.1.2 The disturbance of a bail, whether temporary or not, shall not constitute its complete removal from the top of the stumps, but if a bail in falling lodges between two of the stumps this shall be regarded as complete removal.
 Law 29.1.2 refers to "its complete removal from the top of the stumps". This implies that there is a prescribed position for the bail on "the top of the stumps". This is given in Law 8.  The relevant portions of Law 8 are given below.
8.2 Size of stumps
The tops of the stumps shall be 28 in/71.12 cm above the playing surface and shall be dome shaped except for the bail grooves. The portion of a stump above the playing surface shall be cylindrical apart from the domed top, with circular section of diameter not less than 1.38 in/3.50 cm nor more than 1.5 in/3.81 cm. See Appendix D.
8.3 The bails
8.3.1 The bails, when in position on top of the stumps,
- shall not project more than 0.5 in/1.27 cm above them.
- shall fit between the stumps without forcing them out of the vertical.
Stumps have to have bail grooves. From this, it follows that the bails have to be in the grooves (otherwise they won't stay in position). Further for the bails to be "in position" on the top of the stumps, they have to satisfy 8.3.1. It follows from this, that if any of these conditions are not satisfied, the bails have been disturbed and consequently, the wicket is down.

In the above example, following the terminology from Law 32 to Law 29 to Law 8 in this way, the batsman should have been out bowled. But there is one wrinkle. Law 29.1.2 specifies that the disturbance of a bail "whether temporary or not" shall not constitute its "complete removal from the top of the stumps". Its the "temporary or not" phrase which leads me to think that the batsman may not have been bowled in the example above. Given the way the bail rests on the stumps, the disturbance can be "temporary" is the bail is lifted out of its groove(s) but falls back into the groove(s) and stays there. A non-temporary disturbance could occur is at it did in the case of the appeal in question.

On balance, I'm inclined to think that the batsman was out in the example above, but there may be an argument to say that the requirement that the bail be "completely removed from the top of the stumps"  and not just non-temporarily disturbed, may work in favor of the batsman and against the bowler.

What do you think?

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