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The first ball is the name of the first delivery of any innings in a cricket match from the bowler to the batsman, be it in the Test cricket, One Day or Twenty20 format, and in international or domestic cricket.
The term can also be used to refer to the first ball of an over or first delivery and can be a popular market in sports betting.
First ball betting is popular because the opening delivery opens up many betting options which focus on the outcome of that delivery with wicket, boundaries and even no ball market selections.
An example of betting on the first ball would be to back the option of a no ball. This would mean that the bowler’s feet would cross the crease line and although the first ball would be delivered, the bowling action would be deemed illegal and a no ball called. The batsman is immune from being dismissed from that delivery, but can still be run out in some formats of the game.
First ball no balls are not uncommon as both the bowler and batter can take some time to get into their stride, and it can be one of the better bets to make regarding a first ball delivery.
That is not too uncommon as both bowler and batter take a few overs to find their stride in the early stages of the game and is one of the better bets to make with regards to the first ball delivery. Other methods of dismissal may provide more action (such as LBW, caught, or stumped), and are also possible from the first ball of an innings.
The first bowler to take a wicket with his first ball in a Test match was Australia’s Tom Horan, against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1883. To date 20 bowlers have achieved the feat.