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January 4, 1898 – The first instance when a bowler was no-balled for throwing in Test cricket

Even if a bowler’s elbow straightening is inside the 15 degrees limit, the bowling action might put them in trouble.

Ernie Jones
Left to right: Joe Darling, George Giffen, Clem Hill and Ernie Jones. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

In the modern day cricket, it is tough to possess an illegal bowling action with the technology in use to find out the degree of the elbow joint. Even if a bowler’s elbow straightening is inside the 15 degrees limit, the bowling action might put them in trouble. If the match officials end up forwarding their report to the ICC, it will put the player away from bowling till he clears his action. However, this wasn’t the case in the initial days as Umpires had the right to call no-ball if they felt the bowler possessed an illegal bowling action i.e. chucking.

On the similar basis, on January 4th in 1892, Australia’s Ernie Jones was no-balled for throwing in the Ashes Test match at Melbourne Cricket Ground against England. The home team batted their first innings for nearly two days to post 520 on the board. Later in England’s first innings, umpire Jim Phillips called no-ball when Jones was bowling. Thus, the Australian pacer became the first player to be called for throwing in the International cricket.

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Till date, only ten players including Jones were called for throwing in a Test match on the field with Grant Flower in 2000 being the last one. A few other players were no-balled for throwing in the ODI format but none were called on the field in the last 16-17 years. Former Sri Lankan player Kumar Dharmasena who was one of the players went on to clear bowling Tests during his playing days, has a history of reporting a few names to the ICC as an umpire.

Ernie Jones and his history with Jim Philips:

A couple of months before the Ashes 1897/98 series, the touring AE Stoddart’s XI faced South Australia team at the Adelaide Oval. Ernie played for his state team against visitors in the game where he had the first experience of no-balled for throwing. Jim Philips was the umpire who called no-ball when Jones was bowling in the first innings of AE Stoddart’s XI. Later, the same duo became famous for recording the first such instance in the Test history.

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