The 3rd Test between India and South Africa in January 2007 in Cape Town saw one of the most bizarre moments in cricket history. On the fourth day of the Test, India had to come out to bat in the 2nd innings.
Unfortunately, openers Wasim Jaffer and Virender Sehwag fell quickly to Proteas seamers. Sachin Tendulkar was padded to come out next, but there was an unusal delay. South Africa team complained as the delay extended to over three minutes, which could lead to a time-out dismissal as per cricket rules.
But umpire Daryl Harper convinced SA captain Graeme Smith to not appeal as the delay was not deliberate and occurred due to an unforeseen technical issue. Tendulkar, due to an injury, was off the field for sometime the previous day during South Africa’s innings, and had to wait an equivalent amount of time to return to bat.
The team had not expected that the openers would be dismissed so quickly, so Tendulkar was the only player padded up.
But when fourth umpire informed Indian team that Tendulkar cannot go out to the middle because of the above stated reasons, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid had to quickly pad up which led to the confusion and the delay. Dravid was the next to go to bat, followed by Ganguly, and then Tendulkar eventually went at no. 5 to bat.
Harper Recalls the Moment:
In a recent interview to Asianet Newsable, Harper recalled the press conference he had to attend after the match, and said that he was surprised to see over 50 media people interested in speaking to him.
“In Cape Town at the close of the fourth day of a Test with South Africa, I was asked to attend the media gathering to explain an unusual incident from earlier in the day when Sachin Tendulkar had been ineligible to bat when Wasim Jaffar was the second Indian wicket of the second innings,” Harper said.
“I obliged, expecting to find a gathering of possibly 10 journalists. When I took my seat and turned to answer the first question, I was shocked to find approximately 50 media representatives eagerly awaiting my answer. I reminded myself that India was on tour. The press contingent was a big audience to feed on every Indian tour,” he further added.