World Cup Countdown: Adam Gilchrist surprisingly walks after being given not out
The walk that stunned the world: Adam Gilchrist pays no heed to the umpire (Getty Image)

In the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, CricketCountry brings to you the most memorable moments and matches from the tournament over the years – right from its first edition, way back in 1975. With 37 days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown, we recall how Adam Gilchrist shocked the world of cricket by walking when Rudi Koertzen ruled him not out against Sri Lanka in the semifinal of the 2003 World Cup.

It’s no secret that Australians have always been known to play tough cricket. Therefore, when Gilchrist walked when given not out by umpire Koertzen during the semifinal of the 2003 World Cup against Sri Lanka, it pretty much left the cricketing world shocked. After all, known to play their aggressive brand of cricket, here was the semifinal of a World Cup and an Aussie had walked.

Australia, despite scares from England and New Zealand, had had a smooth journey till that point. They had also beaten Sri Lanka in the Super Sixes at Newlands, thanks to Ricky Ponting’s hundred, Gilchrist’s 99, and a blistering opening spell from Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

After captain Ponting had opted to bat, Gilchrist was off in his usual manner – blazing away to give Australia a fine start. He had slapped two boundaries and a six off fast bowlers Chaminda Vaas and Pulasthi Gunaratne. With absolutely no aid to pacers, Sri Lanka skipper Sanath Jayasuriya handed the ball to Aravinda de Silva for his slow off breaks, and after negotiating the first ball safely, the moment arrived off the next.

The ball pitched outside leg and Gilchrist went for the sweep. The ball lobbed in the air, seemingly off the pad and Kumar Sangakkara took the catch as the Sri Lankans went up in a loud appeal. Gilchrist waited for the Koertzen’s signal and once the decision was not out, Gilchrist walked. The surprise element behind the decision was such that it left Sangakkara, de Silva and Russell Arnold so baffled that the dismissal was treated with a rather low-key dismissal. This was a first of its kind. Australia were playing in the spirit of the game.

The walk had no bearing on the outcome of the match. After Gilchrist was dismissed for a 22-ball 20, and even though most of Australia’s batsmen struggled, Andrew Symonds’ unbeaten 91 off 118 balls with seven fours and a six lifted the score 212 for 7, a total which eventually proved to be enough. After a spell of rain reduced the scenario to 172 needed in 38.1 overs, Sri Lanka finished on 123 for 7, paving way for Australia’s third consecutive World Cup final.

Surprisingly, close to five years after the incident, Gilchrist’s integrity came down with a crash when he claimed a catch of Rahul Dravid in a Test at SCG. There was daylight between the ball and Dravid’s edge.