04 December 2019 00:39

Joe Denly catch

WATCH: Joe Denly produces candidate for worst dropped catch in Test history Joe Denly's unexpected Test career has been largely defined by broadly unexpected competence. We're still not sure how and why he's there, but he's done no worse than anyone else in a very weird year for England's Test side and significantly better than some. Joe Denly's final day of the second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton was not defined by competence. It – and quite possibly his whole career – was instead defined by a dropped catch that defied all logic and prompted some incredible reactions. England can make even the dullest of draws hilarious.

Fair play to them.pic.twitter.com/GHI7T5alcI — Cricket365 (@Cricket365) December 2, 2019 The reaction of the bowler, Jofra Archer, denied a prize wicket at the end of a chastening tour, was spectacular. He also seemed to have a sixth sense for what was about to happen, somehow seeming to react to the dropped catch before it happened. Ironically, that is traditionally more of a Jofra trait. But don't worry, despite his celebradrop in the moment, Jofradamus still called the drama many years in advance. Joe!

— Jofra Archer (@JofraArcher) October 4, 2014 Man drop that?! — Jofra Archer (@JofraArcher) February 1, 2014 We're also extremely partial to Craig McMillan's camp tittering in the commentary box. We've grown slightly obsessed over the last couple of weeks with McMillan, with his cardigans and his tank tops and his hats and his face that could play the Lion in the Wizard of Oz without make-up. This was a strong end to a strong series for the former Black Caps all-rounder. The player reactions are obviously key – Broad, Archer, Stokes, Kane etc.

– but I've also got an awful lot of time for Craig McMillan's slightly camp tittering in the commentary box. pic.twitter.com/YqXaTVcZT2 — Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) December 3, 2019 The match itself ended all square after New Zealand scored 241 runs against England. We haven't checked, but we're pretty sure that's probably never happened before. England's Jofra Archer was left with his head in his hands and a smile of disbelief on his face after wrongly celebrating what he thought to be the dismissal of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson on the fifth day of the second Test. With Williamson on 62 at the time, Joe Denly let a straightforward opportunity slip through his hands after the New Zealander had limply prodded forward off Archer's knuckle ball. The bowler took a quick glance at the flight of the ball – headed in the direction of Denly's hands – before wheeling away in celebration. Download the new Indpendent Premium app Sharing the full story, not just the headlines But after being encouraged by Williamson to look back at the leg-side, Archer was met with the sight of his teammate hunched over and the ball at his feet. Archer saw the funny side of the moment, but it was a crucial let-off that allowed Williamson to continue with his business and go on to make a century for the hosts. New Zealand vs England Test series 2019 Show all 42 left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Alongside Ross Taylor, who secured his Test 19th hundred, the pair's unbroken 213-run stand staved off the prospect of an unlikely England win in the second Test and handed the series to New Zealand. Speaking afterwards on Denly's drop, Williamson said: "It was fairly simple. No doubt Joe's disappointed – Jofra certainly was. I was very fortunate, you don't get many opportunities like that." New Zealand had slumped to 28 for two in their second innings on day four, 73 adrift of England, but Williamson and Taylor took them into calmer waters and had reached 241 for two and a lead of 140 before the inclement weather hit. That guaranteed a 1-0 win for the Black Caps, their fifth series victory in a row at home and second over England in the space of 20 months. Williamson added: "It was a great effort from the guys after being slightly up against it after the first innings. "When there's weather around it takes time out of the game so although there is frustration there in terms of getting a result, at the same time it was a good effort to end up with a draw. "A lot of hard work went into saving the match in the end when time didn't allow us time to win it. But overall it was a really good effort. There was a huge amount of fight from the guys which was really pleasing to see." New Zealand now travel to Australia in a three-Test series starting in Perth next week. In Tuesday's Hot Clicks: An embarrassment of a cricket play, a giveaway, the NBA's falling ratings and more. Is this the worst cricket drop ever? How many times have you been watching a game and said "Even I could have made that play"? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it's an exaggeration, the lone exception being the case of Joe Denly's unfathomable blunder in the England-New Zealand Test cricket match. New Zealand's Kane Williamson was batting against English bowler Jofra Archer. Archer did something (I don't know what, it's cricket) to fool Williamson and all he could do was tap a soft liner directly to Denly. Denly didn't even have to move his feet. He was standing only about 60 feet away. The ball hit him right in the hands. Archer started running away in celebration. And Denly dropped it. Sure, catching a ball without a glove can be tricky, but Archer's reaction tells you all you need to know about how easy that play was. Outs aren't as easy to come by in cricket as they are in baseball. The batter gets to keep hitting until he's been retired, often racking up more than 100 runs during his turn. Williamson had scored 62 runs when Denly dropped that sure out. He went on to score another 42 runs. It's a mortifying error made even worse by the fact that it occurred in a major international match. This is supposed to be the highest level of cricket in the world and Denly botched a play any recreational player would have made without a second thought. A couple of commentators said you'd even expect a child to make the catch with ease. ADVERTISEMENT Thanks for watching! ESPN CricInfo's Andrew Miller wrote that it was a chance "an Under-8s fielder would have been embarrassed to let through his fingers." "It was the type of chance you'd be horrified to see go down while watching an under-eights game," Ian Anderson wrote for the New Zealand website Stuff. BBC analyst Jonathan Agnew, himself a former cricketer, called it "possibly the worst drop in Test history." "Even if you took your 95-year-old grandma out in the garden now, in the dark, and threw her a tennis ball from five yards, she'd catch that," Agnew said. The only possible rival to Denly's goof is this drop by England's Mike Gatting against India in 1993. At least Gatting had the excuse of looking up into the sun. What's Denly's excuse? The Seahawks just keep finding ways to win. Don't look now but LaMelo Ball could actually be the first pick in the NBA draft. Five MLB free-agent bargains. Who wants free stuff? UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who entered. We've got a fun giveaway today from Shinesty and Tellum + Chop. They just introduced this new line of Hawaiian-style shirts with NFL players' likenesses on them. There are 20 players featured in the collection, including Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Saquon Barkley. We've got three of them to give away to Hot Clicks readers. All you have to do to enter is follow these specific instructions: Go back to yesterday's Hot Clicks Send me an email with the exact subject line Hawaiian giveaway (no apostrophe in "Hawaiian," "giveaway" all one word) and the correct answer in the body The 25th, 50th and 75th person to follow those instructions and email me ([email protected]) with the correct answer will win the shirt of their choice. Around the sports world The Seahawks fly more than almost any other team, which is why veteran players get to replace the coaching staff and front office in first class if they win a road game. Josh Shaw's alleged bets that earned him an indefinite ban from the NFL reportedly included a parlay on one of his own team's games. A top-level Danish soccer team was apparently tricked into paying to sign a player who'd never played pro soccer. This catch was unreal How do you posterize a guy with one foot outside the restricted arc? 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