Top ten matches when the balls were lost during match

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Losing a cricket ball might seem small, but it has caused big problems in cricket history. Sometimes, it led to delays, confusion and rule changes. These insignificant moments can add a dash of unexpected drama to a match leaving players, umpires, and spectators alike scratching their heads. Let’s look at ten matches when the balls were lost during a match leaving everyone puzzled and frustrated.

1. 1908 England vs Australia 

The Ashes are known for their intensity and the 1908 encounter at Trent Bridge was no exception. During the second innings of Australia, the delivery of Walter Quaife to Clem Hill somehow ended up in the River Trent. It was a powerful shot hit by Hill. Regardless, the match was halted for a significant period while a new ball was procured which caused a minor stir.


2. 1948 County Championship  

A County Championship match between Lancashire and Worcestershire was interrupted when the ball mysteriously disappeared. After a search, the culprit was found to be a playful dog belonging to a spectator. The dog had snatched the ball and made a run for it. Thankfully, the furry thief was eventually caught, and the ball (hopefully not too damaged) was retrieved. This allowed the match to resume without further delay.

3. 1982 England vs India 

The 1982 Headingley Test match which is known for the phenomenal batting of  Kapil Dev had another layer of drama. While India was chasing a target, the cricket ball vanished into the electric Headingley crowd. A frantic search party, including players and umpires, finally found the ball hidden in the packed stands. This unexpected pause added to the already tense atmosphere of this historic match.

4. 1999 England vs New Zealand 

A tense One Day International match between England and New Zealand at the Oval took an unexpected turn when a powerful shot by Chris Cairns sent the ball disappearing down a drain near the boundary. This comical mishap caused a brief pause in the game as a new ball was brought in. Despite the interruption, the incident provided a moment of lighthearted amusement for both players and spectators before the match resumed.

5. 2002 New Zealand vs India  

A One Day International match between New Zealand and India in Wellington took a bizarre turn when a powerful gust of wind whisked the cricket ball away. The missing ball was likely swept out to sea and resting somewhere in Wellington Harbour which caused delay in the game. This incident perfectly illustrated the unpredictable nature of cricket, where even the weather can play a surprising role during the match.

6. 2009 South Africa vs Australia

A cricket match between South Africa and Australia in Centurion was interrupted by rain.  The ground staff covered the field to protect it from the downpour.  When the rain finally stopped and play was due to resume, there was a moment of confusion when the cricket ball had gone missing. A frantic search ensued but the culprit turned out to be rather unexpected. The ball had been buried under the heavy covers placed on the field during the rain delay. This unexpected twist caused much amusement among the players and the crowd before the match continued.

7. 2014 Australia vs India

During the 2014 Test match between Australia and India in Adelaide, a moment of confusion arose when the cricket ball went missing during a drinks break.  The situation became so perplexing that the use of the innovative “Hawk-Eye” technology, typically employed for tracking deliveries, was even considered to locate the missing ball! Thankfully, a more traditional search conducted by the grounds staff managed to find the ball. This incident served as a reminder that while technology like Hawk-Eye plays a valuable role in cricket, it may not always be the ideal solution for every unexpected situation.

8. Lord’s 2017 England vs South Africa 

The game took a bizarre turn during a nail-biting match between England and South Africa at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground in 2017. The ball mysteriously vanished during the South African innings. After a frantic search, the culprit remained a mystery. The missing ball was eventually found perched precariously on the roof of the Lord’s pavilion. Theories flew –  was it a mischievous seagull, as had happened before, or perhaps a batsman’s monstrous six that defied the laws of physics?  While the answer remains unsolved, the incident provided a comical break amid the tense match.

9. Karachi 2020, Pakistan vs Bangladesh

During the 2020 Test match between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Karachi. The Bangladeshi innings was underway when, to everyone’s surprise, the match ball went missing! Traditionally, a replacement ball would be brought in. However, there was a surprising twist – they had run out of spare balls. Faced with this unexpected challenge, the umpires and teams needed to get creative. The solution came from an unexpected source: the television commentators. They proposed using a previously used ball from the match, one that had been sidelined due to minor wear and tear. This suggestion sparked discussions amongst the players and officials.

10.  2021 England vs New Zealand

The 2021 World Test Championship final between England and New Zealand took another dramatic turn at Headingley when the ball went missing on the final day. Unlike previous incidents, a new rule regarding lost balls meant the slightly damaged ball already in play would continue to be used. This sparked debate, with some favoring tradition (replacing the ball) and others supporting the new rule. Ultimately, the use of the slightly damaged ball added another layer of drama to the already tense finish of the match.


In conclusion, a lost cricket ball can cause confusion, delay the game, and even lead to rule changes. These seemingly insignificant moments add unexpected drama, reminding us that even the weather or a playful dog can play a surprising role in the course of a match. So, we have seen ten matches when the balls were lost during a match.