Third umpire Richard Illingworth got stuck in an MCG lift delaying the start after lunch. Image by Scott Barbour/AAP PHOTOS
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Second Test delayed by third umpire stuck in MCG lift

Shayne Hope December 28, 2023

Play was held up in bizarre circumstances during the second Australia-Pakistan Test at the MCG because the third umpire got stuck in a lift.

Players returned to the middle of the iconic venue after the lunch break on Thursday, in time for the scheduled 1.25pm start to the second session.

But in unusual scenes, the two central umpires wouldn’t allow a ball to be bowled because experienced English official Richard Illingworth was unable to return to his post in the grandstand.

It left Australian batters David Warner and Steve Smith waiting to resume their innings, with the hosts stuck on 2-6 in their second dig with an overall lead of 60.

Cricket Australia and the MCG both produced light-hearted responses to the peculiar delay, which lasted seven minutes.

“The game is delayed because the third umpire … is stuck in the lift,” Cricket Australia’s social media arm posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The MCG was quick to reply: “Sorry.”

The banter continued when Illingworth eventually made his way back to his seat by 1.32pm, with Cricket Australia posting: “A wild Richard Illingworth appeared!”

Warner (six) and Travis Head (zero) fell to successive Mir Hamza deliveries at the start of the third over after play resumed, leaving Australia reeling at 4-16.

Earlier, a scheduled 10am start to day three was pushed back to 10.45am because of rain.