Fielding at forward short-leg is one of the toughest jobs in cricket. The ball may travel at a brisk pace or it may be a slow lob, what’s important for the fielder is to say extra alert, show swift reflex, and at the same time be concerned about his own safety. It’s a dangerous and a thankless place to field in, but when you get things right, the position becomes your ticket to something extraordinary.

It was the Boxing Day Test match of the 1998-99 Ashes at Melbourne. England batsman Mark Butcher played a full-blooded sweep shot to Australian leg spinner Stuart MacGill. Michael Slater, who was standing at the forward short leg held on to the ball that was rocketing away to the boundary.

The ball’s journey after leaving Butcher’s bat, on its way to Slater can’t be figured out with real time or even in normal slow replays. The replays, however give an impression that Slater might have been trying to sway but didn’t even have enough time to do so. And the ball stuck to him. Whatever happened; it’s full marks to Slater for completing the freakish catch.

Tony Grieg, who was commentating, was as stunned as the other witnesses of this incredible display. Greig said, “That is the most unbelievable catch I have ever seen.”