Tom Latham has proven himself as a long-term prospect for the New Zealand cricket team as far as far as his role as the Test and One-Day International (ODI) side is concerned. However, the fact that he is also a fantastic fielder came to the fore on Sunday when he pulled off what can safely be described as one of the greatest catches of all time, which went viral on social media in no time.
On Day 2 of the third Test between New Zealand and South Africa in Hamilton — with the latter leading the three-match series 1-0 — Latham was stationed at short leg with Faf du Plessis having brought up his 12th Test fifty, while looking to steer his side to a strong first innings total.
Showing astonishing anticipation, he appeared to sense that du Plessis would play a lap sweep to the third ball bowled in the match by spinner Mitchell Santner. Before the ball had even pitched, Latham set off on a dash behind square, and when du Plessis went through with the shot, meeting the ball with the full face of the bat, he was shocked to see Latham, still dashing to his right, extend his right arm and pluck the ball out of the air.
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 26, 2017
Latham had already taken a catch at second slip from the bowling of Matt Henry on the first day to remove Theunis de Bruyn. He combined with Henry again Sunday to catch Vernon Philander (11) at second slip, leaving South Africa 219-7, with the visitors eventually getting bowled out for 314.
Latham and Jeet Raval then negotiated a difficult period before stumps in an extended final session to reach 67-0 in their strongest partnership of the three-match series.
Latham showed signs of emerging from a prolonged slump by reaching 42 not out after his previous innings in the series of 10, 8 and 6 and his scores of 4, 7, 0, 0 , 2 and 0 in his last six one-day internationals. Raval, who already has two half-centuries and a highest score of 80 in the series, was 25 not out.
Latham displayed determination in batting through the last 25.3 overs of the day before the umpires called stumps due to bad light. He avoided the shots outside off stump which have been his downfall in the series, his greater confidence bringing eight boundaries.
With inputs from AP