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Cricket: Classic catches will always be compelling

Adam Milne takes the catch to dismiss Matthew Wade during the second one-day international cricket match between New Zealand and Australia at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Photo / AFP
Adam Milne takes the catch to dismiss Matthew Wade during the second one-day international cricket match between New Zealand and Australia at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Photo / AFP

The value of fielding can sometimes be forgotten in cricket but efforts like Adam Milne's one-hander to remove Matthew Wade in the second Chappell-Hadlee one-day international in Wellington demonstrate why it is so compelling.

Growing up, Channel Nine's five classic catches could sustain you an entire summer. Now, with cricket's increased athleticism in the T20 era, there are regular spectacular pouches every series.

The beauty of outfield catching is that ground rules, so to speak, have undergone few major changes, other than no-go zones in limited overs matches. It is still an equation of whether bare skin is capable of hanging on to 156g of cow leather, as opposed to the dominance bat has asserted over ball with bigger blades, more protective gear and smaller boundaries.

Here is a selection of New Zealand's best catches from the past three seasons:

Adam Milne, v Australia, Wellington, February 6, 2016

Mitchell Santner dropped short of a length to Matthew Wade. He pulled to deep mid-wicket where Milne thrust up his left hand and plucked what seemed a certain six from the air. "He [Milne] was creeping about three metres off rope," Santner quipped. "But he's an athletic guy and the ball stuck."

Kane Williamson, v Australia, Auckland, February 3, 2016

Williamson moved from mid-off to extra cover and leapt like an Olympic triple jumper to haul in a one-hander off Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell looked to loft Trent Boult over the off side. The miscue looked set to fall safely until Williamson, a top basketballer in his youth, gave himself some hang time. The catch reduced Australia to 40 for five in the ninth over and the match was all but decided.

Daniel Vettori, v West Indies, Wellington, March 21, 2015

As a 36-year-old he channelled Michael "Air" Jordan on the boundary at third man. His one-handed leap curtailed a guaranteed six off Boult. The casual strut and all-in-a-day's-work flick of the ball afterwards, enhanced the theatre. Marlon Samuels trudged off as Vettori was mobbed by teammates. With the West Indies 80 for three in the 10th over chasing 394, the World Cup quarter-final took a crucial turn. "I couldn't believe it for him to leap up and stick out his paw like that," Boult said. "The best sight was seeing everyone sprint and grab him."

Boult, v Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime circa 2014-16

Boult needs a classic catches file to himself. He'd be a candidate to snaffle a golf ball coming down a fairway. There were a trio of one-handers - at point in a Basin Reserve test to nab West Indian Dinesh Ramdin; the mirror image to remove Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara at the same venue; and a sprint around from extra cover to do the same to India's Ajinkya Rahane. In addition, there were alley-oops on the boundary to take Kieron Pollard in Dominica; and with Tim Southee to remove Adil Rashid in an ODI at The Oval.

- NZ Herald

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