A selection of the worst dropped catches following Joe Denly’s howler

By Nick Purewal, PA

Joe Denly’s horror-show dropped catch on England duty in New Zealand was immediately ranked among the worst in Test match history.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five drops to feature on any list of all-time howlers.

Joe Denly, New Zealand v England, Hamilton – 2019

Jofra Archer was the unlucky bowler as Joe Denly spilled a simple catch off Kane Williamson (Mark Baker/AP)

Kane Williamson gifted a catch so straightforward to Denly that to drop the New Zealand captain on 62 seemed almost impossible. Somehow a statuesque Denly conspired to let the ball evade his grasp, leaving bowler Jofra Archer chuckling in as wry a fashion as possible. Even England bowler Steven Finn pulled no punches when telling BBC Test Match Special: “I can’t remember a catch as simple as that being dropped.”

Mike Gatting, India v England, Chennai – 1993

Umpire RS Rathore had already raised the finger after Kiran More gloved Ian Salisbury straight to England’s Gatting at silly point. Rathore had not factored into the equation that Gatting could put down one of the simplest possible chances, but that is exactly what happened. Team-mate Graeme Hick could not even stop himself giggling from the slip cordon.

Shane Warne, England v Australia, The Oval – 2005

Kevin Pietersen was dropped by Shane Warne during the 2005 Ashes before going on to score 185 (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Kevin Pietersen’s eventual 185 set in motion England’s delirious Ashes series victory, but history would have been so different had spin king Warne not fluffed a simple chance when the England star edged Brett Lee. The England fans chanted “Warnie’s dropped the Ashes”, Pietersen stormed on, and the series win inched into view.

Kiran More, England v India, Lord’s – 1990

Graham Gooch was dropped on 36 before going on to make 333 against India (PA Archive)

Graham Gooch’s 333 remains one of the great English innings, but would never have happened had More held firm behind the stumps. Sanjeev Sharma drew an edge with Gooch on 36, only for India’s wicketkeeper to fumble a regulation hold.

Graham Thorpe, England v Australia, Headingley – 1997

Graham Thorpe let Matthew Elliott off the hook at Headingley (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Debutant Mike Smith forced Matthew Elliott into an edge with Australia wobbling at 50 for four. As the ball flicked towards Thorpe in the slip cordon, England were looking at a chance of victory in a series locked at one win apiece. Instead Thorpe bombed the chance, Elliott smashed 199 and England lost by an innings.