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Monday, 19 March, 2001, 13:23 GMT
Cricket's hand of fate
Steve Waugh is given out in the Chennai Test against India
Waugh's use of his hand cost him his wicket
How many people have been out 'handled the ball' in Test cricket? BBC Sport Online has the answer.

When Steve Waugh gloved the ball away from his stumps in Chennai, he joined a small, but exclusive group.

The Australian captain became only the sixth player in Test history to be given out 'handled the ball'.

For some reason, four out of the six such dismissals in Test cricket have come in matches involving Australia.

The most memorable occurred when Andrew Hilditch was given out at the non-striker's end in 1978/79 after picking up the ball and returning it to the bowler in a Test match against Pakistan.

  Methods of dismissal
Leg before wicket
Hit wicket
Run out
Handled the ball
Hit the ball twice
Obstructing the field
Timed out

Waugh's dismissal in the current Test against India in Chennai was nothing like as controversial.

But the Australian captain's mind clearly went AWOL when, just as the umpire was rejecting an lbw appeal from Harbhajan Singh, the ball spun back towards the stumps and Waugh nudged it away with his glove.

A second appeal went up almost before the first had died down and this time umpire A V Jayaprakesh raised his finger.

Time will tell what significance Waugh's dismissal has on the Test match, but from a position of strength and security, Australia's first innings went into free fall.

Only some lusty hitting from Matthew Hayden took the score forward as they declined from 330 for three to 391 all out.

Waugh knows only too well what impact a "handled the ball" dismissal can have on a match.

He was a fielder when it last happened in a Test eight years ago, though the match in question is remembered more for another dismissal, when Warne put leg spin bowling back on the map by bowling Mike Gatting.

Graham Gooch is out 'handled the ball' against Australia
The end of Gooch's innings at Old Trafford

But the crucial wicket as far as Australia winning the first Test of that summer by 179 runs is concerned was that of Graham Gooch in the second innings.

Gooch, who had scored 65 in the first innings, had repelled everything the Australians could throw at him in making 133.

As the overs ticked by on the final day, England inched ever closer to safety.

Shortly after lunch, however, Merv Hughes got a ball to lift and Gooch fended it into the ground from where it bounced - apparently - towards the stumps.

Instinctively, Gooch slapped the ball away with the back of a hand. The Australians appealed and Gooch was sent on his way by Dickie Bird.

Only 9.4 overs remained when Australia took the last wicket.

Other occasions of batsmen being given out "handled the ball" have not proved so costly.

Russell Endean, a South African, was the first batsman to suffer the fate after padding up to Jim Laker in Cape Town in 1956/57 and gloving the rebound away from the stumps.

But as South Africa were dismissed for 72 in that second innings, England were always likely to win, which they did by 321 runs.

By a quirk of fate, Endean was also involved in the only instance of a batsman being given out "obstructing the field" when, in 1951, Len Hutton edged a ball from Athol Rowan into the air and then used his bat to fend it off his wicket, preventing Endean from making a catch.

Desmond Haynes batting for West Indies
Desmond Haynes gave India a helping hand in 1983

Then came the Hilditch episode in Perth. Australia won the match comfortably enough, but we can safely assume that the bowler, Sarfraz Nawaz, is not on Hilditch's Christmas card list.

Australia and Pakistan were at each other's throats again three years later in a match where Mohsin Khan was given out "handled the ball" when he knocked a ball from Jeff Thomson away from the stumps.

Crowd disturbances on the third day caused Australia to leave the field on two occasions, but Mohsin had the satisfaction of ending an acrimonious match in Pakistan's favour with a six in his second innings.

West Indian Desmond Haynes completes the list after he was sent packing for brushing away a ball from Kapil Dev that bounced and rolled slowly back towards his stumps in a Test in Bombay in 1983.

So far, of the matches in which a batsman has been dismissed "handled the ball", that is the only one to end in a draw.

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19 Mar 01 |  India v Australia
Indian batsmen on top
19 Mar 01 |  England on Tour
Thorpe replaces Hussain
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