Trent Boult’s amazing 15 balls

Test cricket is often quite slow moving (that’s part of it’s appeal for some of us).

The second test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, starting on boxing day, had a bit more action than usual, with New Zealand losing wickets steadily and getting to a paltry total of 178.

Sri Lanka batting was similar on the second day – with four wickets falling for just 51 runs. There was a bit of a recovery, until Trent Boult’s amazing spell. Until then Boult had bowled well enough but without success. But he suddenly got things working for him and got a wicket, and another. Both caught by Southee.

Then Boult cleaned up the remaining four Sri Lankan batsmen LBW, all going for ducks.

Cricinfo: Six wickets, four runs, 15 balls: when Boult wrecked Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s middle order was going about it patiently at 94 for 4 in reply to New Zealand’s first-innings score of 178 in Christchurch, when Trent Boult decided to take matters into his hands. In a phenomenal burst of world-class swing bowling, he snaffled up the rest of the Sri Lankan wickets for just four runs, sending them to 104 all out, a total unthinkable just minutes ago. Here’s how it unfolded.

36.4 Boult to Silva, OUT, the suckerball has arrived and Roshen bites the bait. Throws his hands at a full delivery away from the body, gets a thick edge and third slip takes an absolute dolly. Short-short-full and boom! Southee went with the reverse cup but this one dipped on him, it was too late to take it the conventional style, and in trying to do that he was thrown a little off balance, but did well to hold on as he dropped his knees.

ARS Silva c Southee b Boult 21 (63b 3×4 0x6) SR: 33.33

36.5 Boult to Dickwella, FOUR runs, chipped over the infield, keeps gathering pace as it races to the midwicket fence. Gift of a delivery first up

36.6 Boult to Dickwella, no run, shoulders arms to a length ball outside off

38.1 Boult to Dickwella, OUT, catch of the tour, and it’s Southee again! Sensational stuff. Dickwella sucked into the drive by a full delivery that tails away late, he’s squared up, feet rooted to the crease as he goes for a loose drive, gets a thick edge that flies fast, so fast that Southee has just about enough time to throw his right hands out on a full stretch dive in front of second slip and this sticks. Wow, magnificent. How quickly the Test has turned. Suddenly, this score by New Zealand seems much bigger than it looked last night.

N Dickwella c Southee b Boult 4 (3b 1×4 0x6) SR: 133.33

38.2 Boult to Perera, no run, full on off, defended

38.3 Boult to Perera, no run, tails away from off stump, squeezed into the covers.

38.4 Boult to Perera, no run, shortens his length, slants this across, left alone

38.5 Boult to Perera, OUT, they’re committing hara-kiri here, complete misjudgment in length and angle. Dilruwan shoulders arms to a full delivery on middle, this one didn’t angle away, but just held its line to thud into the pad. Given out on the field and Dilruwan reviews. Can only be saved if this was going over, but ball tracking shows three reds

MDK Perera lbw b Boult 0 (4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

38.6 Boult to Lakmal, OUT, no, he can’t. This is full, fast, furious and swinging in late to beat Lakmal’s forward push by hitting him right on the toe. As an umpire, you can’t ask for an easier decision to make.

RAS Lakmal lbw b Boult 0 (1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

Boult, on a hat-trick. Three slips and a gully. Chameera to face his first ball

40.1 Boult to Chameera, no run, and he defends it, was a touch fuller outside off, blocked on the front foot

40.2 Boult to Chameera, OUT, and he gets him now, that’s a five-wicket haul for Boult, length ball, gets it shape back this time to rap the batsman on the front pad, up goes the finger and Sri Lanka are suddenly nine down

PVD Chameera lbw b Boult 0 (2b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

40.3 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller in the corridor, pushes away from the body and gets beaten

40.4 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller length around off, defended from the crease

40.5 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller in the channel but too away to get an edge, the batsman though fished outside

40.6 Boult to Kumara, OUT, make that six! Full and straight on the stumps, and Kumara didn’t offer a shot, dead out. However, he has gone for the review but the New Zealand fielders are actually walking off. Pitched around middle and leg and straightened a bit as the batsman moved across, was hitting middle and leg. That’s six wickets for four runs in 15 balls for Boult

CBRLS Kumara lbw b Boult 0 (4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

The scoreboard:

Boult set a world test record taking 5 wickets in 11 balls.

The test is a long way from over but this devastating spell of bowling put New Zealand into a good position with a handy first innings lead, and then the Black Caps batsmen turned that into a strong position with a 305 run lead, only two wickets down in their second innings (finishing the day on 231 for 2).

So  good day for New Zealand, but an incredible day for Boult.