Showing himself to have more in common with revered Australian champion Adam Gilchrist than his reviled England teammate Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler did the unthinkable at Lord’s on Saturday – he walked.
The talented 24-year-old was, with skipper Alastair Cook, playing a crucial role in reviving England’s flagging hopes.
The pair had put on 35, with Buttler patiently adding 13, when the wicketkeeper-batsman feathered an edge to Australian wicketkeeper Peter Nevill off Nathan Lyon.
While the Australians went up as one in appeal, umpire Kumar Dharmasena stood firm, shaking his head.
That is until he switched to an embarrassed nod once he noticed the batsman had turned to begin the lonely march back towards the famous Lord’s pavilion.
HotSpot showed nothing, although Snicko appeared to validate Buttler’s honesty.
Instantly it revived memories of Gilchrist’s famous walk in the 2003 World Cup semi-final against Sri Lanka when he edged an attempted sweep shot onto his pad that ballooned to keeper Kumar Sangakkara.
Ricky Ponting, the then-Australian captain who came in to bat following Gilchrist’s exit, was in commentary on Saturday during Buttler’s surprise decision and recalled his furious reaction back in 2003.
“I was very surprised to see my vice-captain and one of the most destructive opening batsmen in the world walk in a World Cup semi-final for first time in his career,” Ponting said.
“I was at No.3 and came out in the sixth over to face Chaminda Vaas swinging it around … and I was out that next over.
“I got the opportunity then (back in the sheds) to ask him what was going through his mind on that occasion.
“You would call it an enquiry but an intensive enquiry (at that). There might have been a few indifferent words being thrown around.
“There’s a time and a place for everything and in a World Cup semi-final I wasn’t expecting it. We managed to sneak across the line anyway in that semi-final.
“You’ve got to admire Adam Gilchrist for walking and taking that stance in that game.
“I admired it once we got through the semi-final – once I knew we were safe and we won that semi-final.”
Australia’s Ashes history with walkers – or more accurately non-walkers – hasn’t always been as rosy of course.
Broad’s place as an Ashes pariah to Australian fans was confirmed when he infamously stood his ground at Trent Bridge in 2013 – despite nicking one to first slip.
Without any reviews remaining, Australia had no room to argue the point once he was given not out, and Broad proceeded to score a critical 65 as England held on to win by 14 runs.
“There’s not many doing it in the game, I was never a walker and wouldn’t expect anyone to do it,” Ponting said.
“It wasn’t a belief of mine. (But) each to their own – we all play the game we think we should.”