Matheesha Pathirana, Sri Lanka U19’s fast bowler, stole the headlines on Sunday in an ICC U19 World Cup match in Bloemfontein because of a rather innocuous delivery to India U19’s Yashasvi Jaiswal which went for a wide. What was rather astonishing about the delivery from the pacer is that it was recorded at 175kph (108mph), making it the fastest recorded ball ever bowled in international cricket — across all levels.
Although Sri Lanka slumped to a 90-run defeat in the opener of the tournament, Pathirana’s delivery brought the Lankans a record. In the fourth over of India’s innings, who were batting first, the 17-year-old pitched the ball short which went past Jaiswal’s right shoulder and behind to the wicketkeeper.
But the question arises, just like it did among many cricket fanatics’ minds, did Pathirana really clock 175 kph on the speed gun or was it an error by it?
Unsurprisingly, he didn’t as it turns out there was a technical error in the recording by the speed gun. Therefore, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar still holds the record of bowling the fastest-ever ball in international cricket. In the 2003 World Cup, he had let one rip at 161.3kph (100mph) against England.
The top-three fastest recorded balls bowled in the history of international cricket are as follows —
161.3kph — Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan), ODI vs England in 2003 at Newlands.
161.1kph — Shaun Tait (Australia), ODI vs England in 2010 at Lord’s.
161.1kph — Brett Lee (Australia), ODI vs New Zealand in 2005 at Napier.
As for Pathirana, this is not the first time that the teenager has grabbed headlines — he once took 6 wickets for just 7 runs in a college match in September 2019. Playing for Trinity College, Kandy, Pathirana troubled the opposition batsmen with his barrage of yorkers with an action reminiscent of Lasith Malinga.
Bowling against India, Pathirana registered 0/49 after 8 overs with five wides. Sri Lanka U19 will next face New Zealand U19 in a Group A encounter of the ICC U19 World Cup on January 22.