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Caught is a method of dismissing a batsman in the sport of cricket. Being caught out is the most common method of dismissal at higher levels of competition. This method of dismissal is covered by Law 32 of the Laws of cricket which reads:
A batsman is out caught if a fielder catches the ball fully within the field of play without it bouncing when the ball has touched the striker's bat or glove holding the bat. If a batsman could be given out caught or by any other method except bowled, 'caught' takes precedence.
This means that the batsman cannot be out caught if:
- The ball is called a no ball or dead ball.
- The batsman does not hit the ball with his bat or the gloved hand holding the bat.
- The ball, having been hit, makes contact with the field before a fielder catches the ball.
- The ball does not remain under the control of the fielder.
- The ball is hit and lands beyond the boundary; (six runs).
- A fielder taking the catch makes contact with the boundary rope or the area outside the boundary.
- The ball hits a close in fielder on the helmet, and rebounds in the air for a catch.
If a batsman is out caught, any runs scored off that delivery are voided. If the catch is taken by the wicket-keeper, then informally it is known as a "caught behind". A catch by the bowler is known as a "caught and bowled". This has nothing to do with the dismissal bowled but is rather a shorthand for saying the catcher and bowler are the same player (the scorecard annotation is usually c. and b. or c&b followed by the bowler's name).
If the catch taken is pronounced or obvious, the players need not appeal to the umpire; the batsman normally chooses to acknowledge the dismissal himself. However, in the event that the ball brushes the edge of the bat, or the catch is taken very close to the ground, or the ball appears to have bounced off the batsman's foot (so it has not touched the ground), or the ball appearing to come off the bat very close to the pitch surface (bump ball), or if the batsman is reluctant to accept that he has been dismissed, the fielding team has to appeal to the umpire for this decision. In international competition, if neither field umpire can clearly decide if a catch has been made or not, they may refer to the third (television) umpire for a review. The third umpire may also be used if the Umpire Decision Review System is available and a team wishes to dispute a call concerning a possible catch.
If a batsman is caught, the bowler is credited with the batsman's wicket and the catching fielder is credited for the dismissal. If the two batsmen cross each other, in attempting to take a run, before the catch was taken, the non-striking batsman at the time remains at the opposite end of the pitch as the new incoming batsman comes to the crease at his former end. This means, unless it is now a new over, he is now on strike and the incoming batsman is not.
Before 2000, the Laws of Cricket defined a catch as being completed when the player had "complete control over the further disposal of the ball". In the very strictest sense, this meant that the player did not finish catching the ball until he threw it away, though the player doesn't have to throw the ball to anyone in particular in so doing.
For this reason, even today many cricketers celebrate a catch by lobbing the ball into the air. In a Super Sixes match in the 1999 Cricket World Cup, South African Herschelle Gibbs caught Australian captain Steve Waugh but Waugh was given not out when Gibbs was ruled to not have control of the ball when attempting to throw the ball in celebration. Waugh went on to score a match-winning 120 not out to qualify his team for the semi-finals; Australia went on to win the tournament.