From Graham Gooch to Ravindra Jadeja: Ten sliding-doors dropped catches

In and out - Ian Healy puts down Brian Lara during the climactic stages of the 1999 Barbados Test Ben Radford / © Ben Radford/Allsport

The stories around some dropped catches - Herschelle Gibbs putting down Steve Waugh at the 1999 World Cup, for instance - have become part of cricket's folklore. Here are ten others that aren't spoken about quite so much

Virat Kohli drops Brendon McCullum, Wellington, 2014
Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami had bowled New Zealand out for 192, and India's batsmen, led by a maiden Test hundred from Ajinkya Rahane, had given them a first-innings lead of 246. New Zealand were 78 for 3 in their second innings when Brendon McCullum offered Virat Kohli a simple chance at silly mid-on, off Shami. Kohli grabbed at it with his left hand but failed to hold on. India reduced New Zealand to 94 for 5 but McCullum would make them pay dearly for letting him off. He put on 352 with BJ Watling and 179 with James Neesham to haul New Zealand to safety, and along the way became the first New Zealand batsman to score a triple ton in Tests.

Andrew Strauss drops Hashim Amla, The Oval, 2012
Andrew Strauss had led England to the No. 1 Test ranking, with plenty of highlights along the way, including an away Ashes triumph in 2010-11 and a 4-0 home whitewash of India in 2011. Who could have predicted then that it would all crash down as quickly as it did? Strauss' declining batting form and Kevin Pietersen's text messages played their part, and so did a dropped catch. Strauss began the first Test against South Africa, at The Oval, with a duck. Then, with the visitors 79 for 1 in response to England's 385, Hashim Amla attempted to cut Ravi Bopara and sent a top-edge flying to the left of first slip, where Strauss reacted late, only managing to deflect the ball to the boundary via his thumb. Having survived that chance on 40, Amla batted on and on and became the first South Africa batsman to score a triple hundred. South Africa won by an innings and went on to win the series 2-0 and take the Test mace away from England. Strauss resigned as captain following the series and also retired from international cricket.

Andrew Strauss drops Kevin O'Brien, Bengaluru, 2011
What might have been had Strauss caught Kevin O'Brien at the 2011 World Cup? England endured an inconsistent tournament: they edged past Netherlands, tied with India, lost to Ireland, scraped past South Africa, lost to Bangladesh, and just about managed to beat West Indies to reach the quarter-finals. They could have saved themselves at least one bit of that drama had their captain held on to a difficult chance to remove O'Brien in Bengaluru. After England posted 328, they would scarcely have dreamt of a fight from Ireland, let alone a realistic tilt at the target. O'Brien had already made 91 off just 44 balls, and Ireland needed another 82 from 73 balls when he looked to hit Paul Collingwood over the top and failed to pick the slower one. Turning around and running back from mid-off, Strauss got under the ball but let it slip from his grasp after a desperate juggle. That was it for England. O'Brien reached his century off just 50 balls - still the fastest in World Cups - and Ireland won the match with five balls to spare.

Adam Gilchrist drops VVS Laxman, Adelaide, 2008
This drop led to a retirement - of one of the game's all-time greats, no less. During the final Test of India's 2007-08 tour of Australia, VVS Laxman chased a wide one outside off from Brett Lee and edged behind. Putting down that simple chance made Adam Gilchrist decide his Test career was done.

"It made me realise in the ensuing 10 or 15 minutes that that's it," he said. "I'm not moving quite as well as I have, not just on the field but in training. I just realised I didn't have the absolute desperation that you need to continue to maintain your standards."

Mohammad Hafeez drops Rohit Sharma, Johannesburg, 2007
You no doubt remember Misbah-ul-Haq c Sreesanth b Joginder Sharma, and you've no doubt read countless articles discussing the far-reaching impact of that moment. But before that, in the same match, came a drop that had a major impact on the result. In the final over of India's innings, Rohit Sharma was batting on 19 when he launched a slower ball from Sohail Tanvir high towards Mohammad Hafeez at long-on. It was a routine catch, the ball reaching Hafeez's reverse-cupped hands at around chest height, but all he managed to do was palm the ball over the rope. Six runs came off what should have been a wicket ball, and the last four balls added a further six runs to India's total. With only the lower order to follow, it's doubtful India would have scored that many off Tanvir had Hafeez taken that catch. Remember their margin of victory? That's right, five runs.

Jacques Rudolph and Mark Boucher drop Kumar Sangakkara, Colombo (SSC), 2006
In 1997, Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama batted for two entire days at the R Premadasa Stadium while putting on a world-record 576 against India. Nine years later, it was the turn of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who went even bigger at the SSC, adding 624 for the third wicket against South Africa. Sangakkara, however, enjoyed a bit of luck during his mammoth innings. A young Dale Steyn had already sent back both openers cheaply when Sangakkara, on 7, drove at a wide tempter and sliced to backward point, where Jacques Rudolph put down the chest-high chance. And again, when he was 225, Sangakkara pressed forward to defend one from Nicky Boje that turned a little less than expected and edged it between Mark Boucher's legs behind the wicket. He went on to make 287 before he was finally dismissed.

Ravindra Jadeja drops Alastair Cook, Southampton, 2014
England and Alastair Cook were under the pump when the third Test kicked off. Under Cook, England had been whitewashed in the 2013-14 Ashes, and then beaten 1-0 by Sri Lanka at home. Now India were leading 1-0 with three Tests to go, and Cook's hold on the captaincy seemed to be loosening. All this swirled in the background on the first morning in Southampton when debutant Pankaj Singh pitched one on the perfect length outside off, and Cook - then on 15 - pushed at the ball and edged towards third slip, where Jadeja dropped the straightforward, knee-height chance. Cook grabbed the lifeline and went on to make 95 in an England total of 569 for 7. England won the Test and went on to take the series 3-1, giving Cook's captaincy a new lease of life.

Abdur Razzak drops Jason Gillespie, Chittagong, 2006
Jason Gillespie's recent history with the ball before the series had been forgettable - he had been dropped following a terrible Ashes series, the third in a row where he'd averaged above 36, and he only made it to the 2005-06 tour of Bangladesh because Glenn McGrath was sitting out for personal reasons and Michael Kasprowicz and Shaun Tait were injured. Gillespie ended the two-Test series with outstanding bowling returns - eight wickets at 11.25 - but all that was overshadowed by a batting display that no one could have seen coming: he stayed at the crease for over nine-and-a-half hours to score 201*, which remains the highest score by a nightwatchman. It could have ended on 60, when he poked at a short and wide one from Shahadat Hossain, only for Abdur Razzak to put him down at gully.

Ian Healy drops Brian Lara, Barbados, 1999
Gillespie could have cut short one of the greatest-ever Test innings. A brilliant 213 from Brian Lara at Sabina Park had inspired West Indies to draw level after they'd lost the first Test by 312 runs, and the series moved to the Kensington Oval, where Lara would play an even greater innings. Chasing 308, West Indies slumped to 105 for 5, and then 248 for 8 but Lara kept them dreaming, and believing. Then, at 301 for 8, Gillespie drew a slash from the great man with a ball angled across him. Behind the wicket was Ian Healy, diving in front of Shane Warne at slip, but he couldn't hold on to the one-handed chance. West Indies would go on to win by one wicket, with Lara hitting the winning boundary off Gillespie. His unbeaten 153 is regarded as one of the greatest innings of all time. Gilchrist had already established himself as Australia's first-choice limited-overs keeper, and the under-pressure Healy would only play five more Tests before having to relinquish the Test gloves as well.

Graham Gooch drops Imran Khan, Melbourne, 1992
England were losing finalists in back-to-back World Cups in 1987 and 1992, and they had their chances to win both finals. They let go of a winning position against Australia in 1987, thanks to Mike Gatting's infamous reverse-sweep off Allan Border, and four-and-a-half years later came another what-if moment, when they had Pakistan on the ropes. From 24 for 2 in the ninth over, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad had begun an excruciatingly slow repair job and had put on 32 in 98 balls. That's when Imran, batting on 9 off 41 balls, danced down to Phil DeFreitas in the hope of launching him into the stands. All he did, though, was miscue the ball high over the midwicket region. His opposite number Graham Gooch - stationed an arm's length to the right of the square-leg umpire - sprinted and gave his all in reaching the ball, only for it to drop onto his legs and then the ground as he made a desperate attempt to catch it. Imran would go on to make 72, and Pakistan would launch a remarkable late-overs assault to set England 250. England would fall 23 runs short, and end up waiting another 27 years before getting their hands on a World Cup.