What are the ten best catches in the history of Test cricket?

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Ten best catches in Test cricket

1. Jonty Rhodes’ catch in 1st Test, India vs South Africa, 1996  

In 1st test series of  India vs South Africa in 1996, Jonty Rhodes who was a master in fielding redefined the boundaries of human intense energy. He chased a shot from Ravi Shastri near the mid-wicket boundary, He jumped full stretch with one hand outstretched and plucked the ball out of thin air inches from the ground. The impossible became reality which left both teams and viewers shocked.

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2. Andrew Flintoff’s One-Handed Catch in 2nd Ashes Test, England vs Australia, 2005

The 2005 Ashes series was a classic and the sensational catch of Andrew Flintoff at Edgbaston epitomized the drama.  Brett Lee was looking to up the strong hit which smashed a cut shot. Flintoff stood at mid-wicket and jumped sideways, his left hand outstretched like a magnet and caught the ball inches from the ground.  The roar of the crowd was deafening, an example of a catch that defied gravity.

3. Ben Stokes’ Catch in 3rd Ashes Test, England vs Australia, 2019

In the 3rd Ashes Test match between England and Australia in 2019, there was an unexpected catch. England needed to chase a difficult target at Headingley, and their chances depended on stopping Alex Carey from scoring. Pat Cummins hit a shot toward deep mid-wicket, hoping to end the match. But then, Stokes jumped up high and caught the ball with just one hand, against all odds. This catch, along with his amazing performance with the bat, helped England win in a way that made history.

4. Mark Waugh’s Catch in Ashes Test, Australia vs England, 1999

In the 1999 Ashes series, Mark Waugh who was positioned at Gully showed incredible reflexes. Darren Gough bowled a delivery that hit the pads of Mike Atherton and flew high into the air. Waugh did not panic instead, he calmly flicked his wrist and caught the ball, juggling it for a bit before finally securing it. 

5. Ricky Ponting’s Catch in 3rd Test, Australia vs India, 2003

Test cricket is known for being a real test of the character of a player, and there was a moment in Adelaide that perfectly showed this. The catch of Ricky Ponting during that match was a shining example. Sachin Tendulkar was playing well and Australia needed to get him out. Harbhajan Singh tried to hit a big shot to hope to score quickly. Ponting, who was positioned at deep mid-wicket was judged where the ball was going perfectly. He ran backward and jumped high into the air, reaching out fully to catch the ball. It was a catch that only a captain could make, and it completely changed the course of the match.

6. Kamran Akmal’s Catch in 1st Test, Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 2009

In the 1st Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2009, Kamran Akmal who was known for his flamboyant wicketkeeping style showed exactly that. When Prasad Madushan aimed for a powerful shot, Akmal was already one step ahead. He positioned himself perfectly, predicting where the ball would go and with lightning-quick reflexes, he punched the ball out of the air using only his right glove.

7. Kevin Pietersen’s Grab in 4th Test, South Africa vs England, 2010

In the 4th Test match between South Africa and England in 2010, Kevin Pietersen showed incredible skill with a boundary catch that left everyone in shock. Ashwell Prince faced a delivery from Dale Steyn and edged it towards the third-man boundary. Despite the pressure, Pietersen remained calm. He sprinted, timed his jump perfectly and managed to catch the ball with both hands just inches above the ground, even as he was diving over the ropes. This was one of the best catches in Test cricket.

8. Faf du Plessis’ Grab in 1st Test, South Africa vs Sri Lanka, 2014

In the 1st Test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka in 2014, Faf du Plessis showed his outstanding fielding skills with a catch at Centurion. Mahela Jayawardene hit a boundary towards deep extra cover, trying to take control of the game. But du Plessis had other plans. He displayed incredible athleticism by jumping high into the air, almost seeming to go against gravity and managed to grab the ball with both hands just inches above the boundary ropes. 

9. Trent Boult’s One-Handed Catch in 2nd Test, New Zealand vs England, 2018 

In the 2nd Test match between New Zealand and England in 2018, Trent Boult demonstrated his mastery in both bowling and fielding. Playing at Wellington, Boult delivered a superb swinging delivery that left batsmen struggling. Ben Stokes, renowned for his powerful strokes, attempted a pull shot against Boult’s delivery. However, the ball swung away sharply, catching the edge of Stokes’ bat and flying towards the first slip. In an incredible display of reflexes, Boult made a stunning one-handed catch, grabbing the ball just inches above the ground. 

10. Steve Smith’s Catch in Ashes Test, Australia vs England, 2021

Steve Smith is known for his unconventional batting style, but his fielding abilities are just as remarkable. In the 2021 Ashes, held at Trent Bridge, Smith exhibited his exceptional skills with a breathtaking catch. Dom Sibley attempted to defend a delivery but ended up edging it towards the slips at a difficult angle. Smith reacted swiftly, diving low with his right hand stretched out. Despite the challenging position, he miraculously managed to touch the ball with his fingertips, completing a catch that seemed almost impossible. This incredible display of fielding prowess solidified Smith’s reputation as one of the finest fielders in the world.

These ten catches represent just a glimpse into the vast repertoire of fielding brilliance witnessed in Test cricket. Each grab has its own story, its moment of drama, and its contribution to the rich tapestry of the game.  The beauty of these catches lies not just in the athleticism, but also in the anticipation, reflexes, and sheer determination displayed by the fielders.  They are a testament to the human spirit’s ability to push boundaries and achieve the seemingly impossible.