Cricket: Seagull blamed for speed gun error in timing Wagner's 160kmh Test 'delivery'

Neil Wagner of New Zealand bowls during day two of the first International Test cricket match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Neil Wagner of New Zealand bowls during day two of the first International Test cricket match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka.PHOTO: AFP

AFP - A low-flying seagull was blamed for interfering with the speed gun on Friday when New Zealand's Neil Wagner bowled a ball clocked at 160kmh (99.4 miles per hour) - one of the quickest on record in the sport's history.

The surprise missile from Wagner, whose normal bowling speed is in the low 130kmh range, lit up social media before the speed radar's operators said the reading may have been affected by a passing bird.

The left-arm seamer's ball came on a blustery day at Dunedin's University Oval when he was bowling to Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal on day two of the first Test.

However, members of the television production team operating the speed radar said a bird had probably caused an inaccurate reading from one of two monitors at the ground.

The alternative reading was 133kmh, more in keeping with Wagner's usual pace.

If Wagner did in fact send down a ball at 160kmh, he would have been just a shade off Australian bowler Mitchell Starc's Test world record of 160.4, set last month in Perth.

The fastest recorded delivery is 161.3kmh by Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar, nicknamed the "Rawalpindi Express", against England in a 2003 World Cup limited-overs match.

"If Neil Wagner is hitting 160km, then the drinks cart is doing 150km and West Indian cricket is nosediving at warp," quipped Twitter user @eld2-0.