Dismissal (cricket)

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NSW Breakers' Nicola Carey is bowled by ACT Meteors' Marizanne Kapp (not pictured). Note the ball, and the flying bails, one of which has broken into two pieces. 2017-18 WNCL NSWB v ACTM 17-11-26 Carey (01).jpg
NSW Breakers' Nicola Carey is bowled by ACT Meteors' Marizanne Kapp (not pictured). Note the ball, and the flying bails, one of which has broken into two pieces.

In cricket, a dismissal occurs when a batsman's period of batting is brought to an end by the opposing team. It is also known as the batsman being out, the batting side losing a wicket, and the fielding side taking a wicket. The ball becomes dead (so no further runs can be scored off that delivery), and the dismissed batsman must leave the field of play permanently for the rest of their team's innings, and is replaced by a teammate. A team's innings ends if 10 of the 11 team members are dismissed—as players bat in pairs, when only one player is not out it is not possible for the team to bat any longer. This is known as bowling out the batting team, who are said to be all out.


The most common methods of dismissing a batsman are (in descending order of frequency): caught, bowled, leg before wicket, run out, and stumped. Of these, the leg before wicket and stumped methods of dismissal can be seen as related to, or being special cases of, the bowled and run out methods of dismissal respectively.

Most methods of dismissal do not apply on an illegal delivery (i.e. a wide or no-ball) or the free hit delivery that follows a no-ball in certain competitions. Among the common methods of dismissal, only the "run out" dismissal can occur during any type of delivery. [1] [2] [3]


Once dismissed, a batsman cannot score any more runs in that innings. Thus dismissing batsmen is a way for the fielding side to control the runs scored in an innings, and prevent the batting side from either achieving their target score or posting a large total for the fielding side to follow in the next innings.

Additionally, in Test and first-class cricket, it is usually necessary for the side fielding last to dismiss ten players of the opposing team in their final innings to achieve victory (unless one or more of the batsmen have retired hurt or absent and are unable to take the field).


By convention, dismissal decisions are handled primarily by the players – thus if the dismissal is obvious the batsman will voluntarily leave the field without the umpire needing to dismiss him. If the batsman and fielding side disagree about a dismissal then the fielding side must appeal to the umpire who will then decide whether the batsman is out. In competitive cricket, many difficult catching and LBW decisions will be left to the umpire; if a batsman acknowledges that he is out in such cases and departs without waiting for the umpire's decision it is known as "walking", and regarded as an honourable but controversial act. [4]

If the umpire believes he has incorrectly dismissed a batsman, he may recall him to the crease if he has not already left the field of play. An example of this was in the 2007 Lord's test match between England and India when Kevin Pietersen was initially given out caught behind, but was recalled when television replays showed that the ball had bounced before being taken by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. [5]

Methods of dismissal

A batsman can be dismissed in a number of ways, the most common being bowled, caught, leg before wicket (LBW), run out and stumped. An analysis of Test match dismissals between 1877 and 2012 found that 98.2% of the 63,584 Test match dismissals in this period were one of these five types. [6] Much rarer were retired, hit the ball twice, hit wicket, handled the ball/obstructing the field, and timed out.

Method of dismissal:BowledCaughtLBWRun outStumpedRetiredHit the ball twiceHit wicketObstructing
the field
Timed out
Can the striker be dismissed?Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg
Can the non-striker be dismissed?X mark.svgX mark.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgX mark.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg
Is the bowler credited with the dismissal?Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgX mark.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgX mark.svgX mark.svg
Is a fielder or wicket-keeper credited with the dismissal?X mark.svgYes check.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgX mark.svgX mark.svgX mark.svgX mark.svgX mark.svg
Can dismissal occur from a no-ball or free hit?X mark.svgX mark.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgX mark.svgN/AYes check.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgN/A
Can dismissal occur from a wide?X mark.svgX mark.svgX mark.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgN/AX mark.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgN/A
Lords Test Match, England v NZ Score Board.jpg
Scoreboard showing the methods of dismissal of the New Zealand batsmen. The four most common methods of dismissal all occurred: six batsmen were caught, two were bowled, one was LBW and one was run out. One batsman (Boult) was left undismissed. The opposition players credited with each dismissal, who caught (after the 'C') or bowled (after the 'B') the ball, or achieved the run out, are named.

As it is possible to dismiss the non-striker, and possible to dismiss the striker from a no ball or wide (which do not count as a delivery), this means a batsman can be dismissed without facing a single delivery. This is sometimes known as a diamond duck.

Len Hutton, [7] Desmond Haynes, [8] and Steve Waugh [9] were each dismissed in seven different ways over the course of their test career.

Common methods of dismissal

Law 32: Bowled

If a bowler's legitimate (i.e. not a No-ball) delivery hits the wicket and puts it down, the striker (the batsman facing the bowler) is out. The ball can either have struck the stumps directly, or have been deflected off the bat or body of the batsman. However, the batsman is not Bowled if the ball is touched by any other player or umpire before hitting the stumps. [10]

Bowled takes precedence over all other methods of dismissal. [11] What this means is, if a batsman could be given out both Bowled and also for another reason, then the other reason is disregarded, and the batsman is out Bowled.

Between 1877 and 2012, this method accounted for 21.4% of all Test match dismissals. [6]

Law 33: Caught

If the batsman hits the ball, from a legitimate delivery (i.e. not a No-Ball), with the bat (or with the glove when the glove is in contact with the bat) and the ball is caught by the bowler or a fielder before it hits the ground, then the striker is out.

"Caught behind" (an unofficial term) indicates that a player was caught by the wicket-keeper, or less commonly by the slips. "Caught and bowled" indicates the player who bowled the ball also took the catch.

Caught takes precedence over all other methods of dismissal except Bowled. [12] What this means is, if a batsman could be given out both Caught and also for another reason (except Bowled), then the other reason is disregarded, and the batsman is out Caught.

Between 1877 and 2012, this method accounted for 56.9% of all Test match dismissals, with 40.6% caught by fielders, and 16.3% caught by the wicket-keeper. [6]

Law 36: Leg before wicket (lbw)

If a bowler's legitimate (i.e., not a No-ball) delivery strikes any part of the batsman (not necessarily the leg), without first touching the bat (or glove holding the bat), and, in the umpire's judgement, the ball would have hit the wicket but for this interception, then the striker is out. There are also further criteria that must be met, including where the ball pitched, whether the ball hit the batsman in line with the wickets, and whether the batsman was attempting to hit the ball, and these have changed over time.

Between 1877 and 2012, this method accounted for 14.3% of all Test match dismissals. [6]

Law 38: Run out

A batsman is Run out if at any time while the ball is in play, the wicket in the ground closest to him is fairly put down by the opposing side while no part of the batsman's bat or body is grounded behind the popping crease.

This usually happens while the batsmen are running between the wickets, attempting to score a run. Either the striker or non-striker can be Run out. The batsman nearest the safe territory of the wicket that has been put down, but not actually in safe territory, is out. On the line is considered as out; frequently it is a close call whether or not a batsman gained his ground before the bails were removed, with the decision referred to the Decision Review System.

The difference between stumped and run out is that the wicket-keeper may stump a batsman who goes too far forward to play the ball (assuming he is not attempting a run), whilst any fielder, including the keeper, may run out a batsman who goes too far for any other purpose, including for taking a run.

A special form of run out is when the batsman at the non-striker's end attempts to gain an advantage by leaving the crease before the next ball has been bowled (a common practice known as "backing up", but against the laws of cricket). The bowler may then dislodge the bails at his/her end without completing the run-up and dismiss the batsman. This form of run-out is sometimes called the Mankad (the dismissed batsman is said to have been "Mankaded"), in reference to Vinoo Mankad, the first bowler to dismiss a batsman in this manner in a Test match, running out Bill Brown in 1947. With changes in the Laws of Cricket, a bowler cannot Mankad a batsman once they reach the point in their delivery where they would normally release the ball. It is considered good etiquette to warn a batsman that he is leaving his crease early, before attempting a Mankad run out on a subsequent ball.

A run out cannot occur if no fielder has touched the ball. As such, if a batsman plays a straight drive which breaks the non-striker's stumps whilst he is outside his crease, he is not out. However, if a fielder (usually the bowler, in this case) touches the ball at all before it breaks the stumps at the non-striker's end, then it is a run out, even if the fielder never has any control of the ball.

Between 1877 and 2012, this method accounted for 3.5% of all Test match dismissals. [6]

Law 39: Stumped

If the striker steps in front of the crease to play the ball, leaving no part of his body or the bat on the ground behind the crease, and the wicket-keeper is able to put down the wicket with the ball, then the striker is out. A stumping is most likely to be effected off slow bowling, or (less frequently) medium-paced bowling when the wicket-keeper is standing directly behind the stumps. As wicket-keepers stand several yards back from the stumps to fast bowlers, stumpings are hardly ever effected off fast bowlers. The ball can bounce off a keeper (but not external non-usual wicketkeeping protective equipment, like a helmet) and break the stumps and still be considered a stumping.

Stumped takes precedence over Run out. [13] What this means is, if a batsman could be given out both Stumped and Run out, then Run out is disregarded, and the batsman is out Stumped.

Between 1877 and 2012, this method accounted for 2.0% of all Test match dismissals. [6]

Rare methods of dismissal

Law 25.4: Retired

If any batsman leaves the field of play without the Umpire's consent for any reason other than injury or incapacity, he may resume the innings only with the consent of the opposing captain. If he fails to resume his innings, he is out. For the purposes of calculating a batting average, retired out is considered a dismissal.

Only two players in Test history have ever been given out in this manner: Marvan Atapattu (for 201) and Mahela Jayawardene (for 150), both in the same innings playing for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in September 2001. [14] Apparently, this was done in order to give the other players batting practice, but was considered unsportsmanlike and drew criticism. [15] In May 1983, Gordon Greenidge of the West Indies retired out on 154 to visit his daughter, who was ill and who died two days later; he was subsequently judged to have retired not out, the only such decision in Test history. [16]

There are numerous other recorded instances of batsmen retiring out in first-class cricket, particularly in tour matches and warm-up matches; since these matches are generally treated as practice matches, retiring out in these matches is not considered unsportsmanlike. In 1993 Graham Gooch, immediately after completing his hundredth first-class century with a six, retired on 105. [17]

A player who retires hurt and does not return to bat by the end of the innings is not considered out for statistical purposes, though, as substitutes are not permitted to bat, the impact on play is effectively the same as if they had retired out.

Law 34: Hit the ball twice

If the batsman "hits" the ball twice, he is out. The first hit is the ball striking the batsman or his bat whilst the second hit is the batsman intentionally making separate contact with the ball, not necessarily with the bat (it is therefore possible to be out hitting the ball twice whilst not actually hitting the ball with the bat either time). The batsman is allowed to hit the ball a second time with his bat or body (but not a hand that is not in contact with the bat) if this is performed in order to stop the ball from hitting the stumps.

No batsman has been out hitting the ball twice in Test cricket.

Law 35: Hit wicket

If the batsman dislodges his own stumps with his body or bat, while in the process of taking a shot or beginning his first run, then he is out. This law does not apply if he avoided a ball thrown back to the wicket by a fielder, or broke the wicket in avoiding a run out.

This law also applies if part of the batsman's equipment is dislodged and hits the stumps: Dwayne Bravo hit Kevin Pietersen in the head with a bouncer and his helmet hit the stumps during the 2007 England vs West Indies Test match at Old Trafford; a topspinner from Richie Benaud once knocked off Joe Solomon's cap, and the cap landed on Solomon's stumps.

Being out hit-wicket is often seen as a comic method of dismissal. In 1991 Jonathan Agnew and Brian Johnston, commentators on BBC Radio's Test Match Special , got themselves into difficulty while commentating on Ian Botham's dismissal (Botham dislodged his leg bail whilst trying to step over the stumps, having lost his balance in missing a hook shot against Curtly Ambrose), Agnew commenting that he "couldn't quite get his leg over". [18]

A more recent example of a comic hit-wicket dismissal was during the Headingley Test match in the 2006 test series between England and Pakistan, when Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq missed a sweep against Monty Panesar, was hit in the midriff by the ball, lost his balance and collapsed on to his stumps (and nearly into wicket-keeper Chris Read). [19]

Law 37: Obstructing the field

If the batsman, by action or by words, obstructs or distracts the fielding side, then he is out. This law now encompasses transgressions that would previously have been covered by handled the ball , which has now been removed from the Laws.

Only one player has ever been out obstructing the field in a Test match: England's Len Hutton, playing against South Africa at The Oval in London in 1951, knocked a ball away from his stumps, but in doing so prevented the South African wicket-keeper Russell Endean from completing a catch. [20] By coincidence, Endean was one of the few people to be given out handled the ball in a Test match. In One Day International cricket, eight batsmen have been given out obstructing the field. [21]

Law 40: Timed out

An incoming batsman is "timed out" if he willfully takes more than three minutes to be ready to face the next delivery (or be at the other end if not on strike). [22] If a not out batsman is not ready after a break in play, they can also be given out timed out on appeal. In the case of extremely long delays, the umpires may forfeit the match to either team. So far, this method of taking a wicket has never happened in the history of Test cricket and there have been only five occasions in all forms of first-class cricket. [23]

Obsolete dismissal types

Handled the ball

Before the amendments of the Laws in 2017, there was a separate dismissal type of Handled the ball which is now covered by Obstructing the field. If the batsman touched the ball with a hand not in contact with the bat for any purpose other than to prevent themselves being injured or, with the approval of the fielding team, to return the ball to a fielder, he was out on appeal. It was considered good etiquette for the fielding team not to appeal if the handling of the ball did not affect the play of the game, although there have been occasions when this etiquette was ignored.

Only seven batsmen have been out handled the ball in the history of Test cricket, [24] and two in One Day Internationals. [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

In cricket, an umpire is a person who has the authority to make decisions about events on the cricket field according to the Laws of Cricket. Besides making decisions about legality of delivery, appeals for wickets and general conduct of the Game in a legal manner, the umpire also keeps a record of the deliveries and announces the completion of an over.

The Laws of Cricket is a code which specifies the rules of the game of cricket worldwide. The earliest known code was drafted in 1744 and, since 1788, it has been owned and maintained by its custodian, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London. There are currently 42 Laws which outline all aspects of how the game is to be played. MCC has re-coded the Laws six times, the seventh and latest code being released in October 2017. The 2nd edition of the 2017 Code came into force on 1 April 2019. The first six codes prior to 2017 were all subject to interim revisions and so exist in more than one version.

Wicket-keeper Fielding position in cricket

The wicket-keeper in the sport of cricket is the player on the fielding side who stands behind the wicket or stumps being watchful of the batsman and ready to take a catch, stump the batsman out and run out a batsman when occasion arises. The wicket-keeper is the only member of the fielding side permitted to wear gloves and external leg guards. The role of the keeper is governed by Law 27 of the Laws of Cricket.

Wicket One of the two sets of three stumps and two bails at either end of a cricket pitch

In cricket, the term wicket has several meanings:

Glossary of cricket terms Cricket terminology

This is a general glossary of the terminology used in the sport of cricket. Where words in a sentence are also defined elsewhere in this article, they appear in italics. Certain aspects of cricket terminology are explained in more detail in cricket statistics and the naming of fielding positions is explained at fielding (cricket).

No-ball Cricket penalty

In cricket, a no-ball is a type of illegal delivery to a batter. It is also a type of extra, being the run awarded to the batting team as a consequence of the illegal delivery. For most cricket games, especially amateur, the definition of all forms of no-ball is from the MCC Laws of Cricket.

In the sport of cricket, the crease is a certain area demarcated by white lines painted or chalked on the field of play, and pursuant to the rules of cricket they help determine legal play in different ways for the fielding and batting side. They define the area within which the batsmen and bowlers operate. The term crease may refer to any of the lines themselves, particularly the popping crease, or to the region that they demark. Law 7 of the Laws of Cricket governs the size and position of the crease markings, and defines the actual line as the back edge of the width of the marked line on the soil, i.e., the edge nearest to the wicket at that end.

Extra (cricket) Cricket term

In cricket, an extra is a run scored by, or awarded to, a batting team which is not credited to any individual batsman. They are the runs scored by methods other than striking the ball with the bat.

Run (cricket) Unit of scoring in cricket

In cricket, a run is the unit of scoring. The team with the most runs wins in many versions of the game, and always draws at worst, except for some results decided by the DLS method, which is used in rain-shortened limited-overs games when the two teams have had a different number of opportunities to score runs.

Handled the ball Former method of dismissing a batsman in cricket

Handled the ball was formerly one of the methods of dismissing a batsman in the sport of cricket, but was integrated into the Law on obstructing the field when the Laws of Cricket were rewritten in 2017. It dictated that either batsman can be given out if they intentionally touch the ball with a hand that is not holding their bat. An exception was given if the batsman handled the ball to avoid injury. It was governed by Law 33 of the 2000 Edition of the Laws, and was a rare way for a batsman to be dismissed: in the history of cricket, there have been 61 instances in first-class matches and 5 occasions in List A games. In most cases this occurred when a batsman thought that the ball was going to hit their wicket, and knocked it away from the stumps with their hand.

Obstructing the field is one of the ten methods of dismissing a batsman in the sport of cricket. Either batsman can be given out if he wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action. It is Law 37 of the Laws of cricket, and is a rare way for a batsman to be dismissed; in the history of cricket, there has been only one instance in Test matches, six occasions in One Day International (ODI) games, and only one instance in Twenty20 International matches. There have also been seven instances in Test cricket, and two in ODIs, where a batsman has been dismissed handled the ball, a mode of dismissal now folded into obstructing the field.

Bowled Term in cricket

In cricket, the term bowled has several meanings. First, is the act of propelling the ball towards the wicket defended by a batsman.

Caught Cricket dismissal method; the ball does not hit the ground after it is batted

Caught is a method of dismissing a batsman in cricket. A batsman is out caught if the batsman hits the ball, from a legitimate delivery, with the bat, and the ball is caught by the bowler or a fielder before it hits the ground.

Run out Method of dismissal in cricket

Run out is a method of dismissal in cricket, governed by Law 38 of the Laws of Cricket. A run out usually occurs when the batsmen are attempting to run between the wickets, and the fielding team succeed in getting the ball to one wicket before a batsman has crossed the crease line near the wicket. The incomplete run the batsmen were attempting does not count.

Hit wicket is a method of dismissal in the sport of cricket. This method of dismissal is governed by Law 35 of the Laws of Cricket. The striker is out "hit wicket" if, after the bowler has entered his delivery stride and while the ball is in play, his wicket is put down by his bat or his person. The striker may do this whilst preparing to receive or receiving a delivery or in setting off for his first run after playing the delivery. In simple language, if the striking batsman knocks the bails off the stumps or uproots the stumps, while attempting to hit the ball or take off for a run, he is out hit wicket.

Scorer (cricket)

In cricket, a scorer is someone appointed to record all runs scored, all wickets taken and, where appropriate, the number of overs bowled. In professional games, in compliance with Law 3 of the Laws of Cricket, two scorers are appointed, most often one provided by each team.

Stumped Dismissing batsman in Cricket.

Stumped is a method of dismissing a batsman in cricket, which involves the wicket-keeper putting down the wicket while the batsman is out of his ground.. The action of stumping can only be performed by a wicket-keeper, and can only occur from a legitimate delivery, while the batsman is not attempting a run; it is a special case of a run out.

The Indian cricket team began a tour of Australia in December 2007, playing the 4 match Test series for the Border Gavaskar Trophy, followed by a single Twenty20 match on 1 February 2008. They also participated in the Commonwealth Bank tri-series against Australia and Sri Lanka from 3 February to 4 March.

Cricket Bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a field at the centre of which is a 22-yard (20-metre) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the bowler, "bowls" (propels) the ball from one end of the pitch towards the wicket at the other end, with an "over" being completed once they have legally done so six times. The batting side has one player at each end of the pitch, with the player at the opposite end of the pitch from the bowler aiming to strike the ball with a bat. The batting side scores runs when either the bowler unfairly bowls the ball to the batter, the ball reaches the boundary of the field, or the two batters swap ends of the pitch, which results in one run. The fielding side's aim is to prevent run-scoring and dismiss each batter. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the bowled ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side either catching a hit ball before it touches the ground, or hitting a wicket with the ball before a batter can cross the crease line in front of the wicket to complete a run. When ten batters have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches.


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