Australian paceman Mitchell Starc bowled what is believed to be the fastest delivery in Test cricket history Sunday, the third day of the second Test against New Zealand at the WACA Ground in Perth.
Starc joined an exclusive club with a sizzling delivery, with the fourth ball of his 21st over to Ross Taylor clocked at 160.4 kilometres per hour (99.7 mph).
Only four other fast bowlers have officially been recorded with deliveries at more than 160 kpm, but none of those were in Test cricket.
However, Kiwi batting coach Craig McMillan, who once faced a 161 kph delivery from Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar, questioned the accuracy of the reading, suggesting it might have been the result of a technical fault in the broadcast van.
“I was surprised when it came up on the TV… maybe someone in the truck was having a bit of fun,” he said.
“The delivery came out of nowhere. It looked pretty similar to a lot of the other deliveries throughout the day that were closer to 150 than 160.
“I’m not sure whether the wrong button was pushed… you’d have to ask Rosco if it felt 10k quicker than every other delivery he faced.”
While Starc didn’t comment on the specific ball, he said it was one of his fastest spells.
“It was nice to have rhythm and have the ball coming out nicely,” he said.
“It felt really good and I was trying to bowl fast.”
Starc said he wasn’t too worried about McMillan’s comments.
“I’m happy for him to face me in the nets tomorrow if he wants,” he responded.
Akhtar holds the record with a 161.3 kph thunderbolt in a one-day match against England at Newlands in 2003.
Australian pair Shaun Tait and Brett Lee were both recorded at 161.1 kph in separate limited overs matches.
The only other bowler to reach the mark was Australian firebrand Jeff Thomson at 160.6 kph, which was clocked during a study into fast bowling at the WACA Ground in 1976.
Thomson is widely considered the fastest bowler in cricket history.
Starc’s delivery was a yorker dug out by Kiwi batsman Ross Taylor.
On the next ball, Taylor edged an attempted drive to gully, where a tough chance was grassed by Mitchell Marsh.