Ben Stokes’ historic innings in the second Test against South Africa came to an abrupt end in unlikely and somewhat embarrassing of circumstances on Sunday.
The Durham all-rounder was unbeaten on 259 and had just hit consecutive sixes when, off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada, he swiped one straight into the air, with it dropping nicely down to id-on.
South Africa’s AB de Villiers was underneath it and, to everyone at Newlands, it looked as though a most memorable innings was about to be brought to an end. It was, but not in the way they expected.
De Villiers, watching the ball all the way, somehow managed to fumble his catch, letting the ball slip down his midriff and onto the turf.
For a moment, it looked as though Stokes’ incredible knock would continue, but the 24-year-old had already wandered halfway home to the pavilion and was well out of his crease. De Villiers duly took his chance, picking up the dropped ball and running the daydreaming all-rounder out.
It was a barely believable run-out and the England man may well be kicking himself, but nothing should take away from his extraordinary innings.