Play delayed as third umpire vanishes for 30 minutes during Australia v Pakistan Boxing Day Test
In an unusual turn of events, the afternoon session of day three at the Boxing Day Test was delayed by six minutes, not due to weather or technical glitches, but because third umpire Richard Illingworth found himself trapped in an elevator at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
As players and fans eagerly awaited the post-lunch play, it was revealed that Illingworth had not made it back to his viewing box. The English umpire, returning from the dining area, became an unexpected captive of one of the MCG's lifts.
The incident sparked a mix of reactions. Australian opener David Warner couldn't help but laugh upon learning the cause of the delay. Meanwhile, reserve umpire Phillip Gillespie was seen hastily making his way to the box to step in as the temporary third official. Australian cricketer Steve Smith, caught in a moment of bewilderment, jokingly inquired if he could sit down while waiting for Illingworth's return.
Cricket legends in the commentary box also chimed in. Wasim Akram expressed his disbelief, stating, "I’ve never seen anything like this before." Michael Vaughan, former England captain, familiar with the MCG's infrastructure, remarked humorously about the lift's notorious slowness and hinted at a potentially hearty lunch being a contributing factor.
The Melbourne crowd, initially patient, began to show signs of restlessness as the delay stretched, filling the stadium with chants and murmurs of frustration.
The situation, however, resolved quickly and somewhat comically. After a six-minute wait, Illingworth managed to escape the elevator's clutches, emerging in the viewing area to a sheepish wave at his fellow umpires. Vaughan light-heartedly commented on Illingworth's appearance, suggesting he might have had to use the stairs.