Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 5, 2011

Fifth Ashes Test Day Three – The Final Over of the Day

Justice is blind, like the UDRS is to the snickometer

Ball One 11.20am – There’s little annoys me more than a the sight of a nightwatchman coming to the crease with the exception of a nightwatchman hanging around the next morning. Anderson did not have the wherewithal to survive for long this morning, and getting bowled defending a straight delivery isn’t good at the best of times, but when a quickish 20 and a disruption of bowlers’ lengths is about the limit of ambition, it’s dismal. .

Ball Two 12.35am – On 99, Alastair Cook hits the ball towards short leg and Phil Hughes scoops it up, half-appeals and, after a period of umpirely consultation, Cook continues. Amongst the reactions caught on camera, the most interesting was Brad Haddin’s – like most ‘keepers, he won’t often die wondering, but he knew the ball had bounced and that television would show it. Hughes might catch some criticism for claiming the catch, albeit half-heartedly – perhaps his more experienced colleague behind the stumps could have saved Hughes the opprobrium and the rest of us some time by telling his mates to get on with the game.

Ball Three 1.30am – Seven sessions into the Test and Alastair Cook is still on the field well on the way to reprising his extraordinary effort at Adelaide which saw him in the pavilion for only an hour during the whole Test. Cook’s technique, having reverted the methods that established him in the team, has been excellent, but his concentration has been outstanding – the most impressive I’ve ever seen in an Englishman. He may never play as well again – but playing half as well will be enough to see him to 10000 career runs.

Ball Four 2.45am – Is Michael Clarke captaining well or not? He needs to make something happen as Bell and Cook are taking the game away from Australia – but has he the firepower? With the sun high and the pitch yet to develop many demons he looks toothless – or rather, his team looks toothless.

Ball Five 3.40am – The smug fan is not a pretty sight and the smug England fan could be the ugliest sight of all. But, after nearly a quarter of a century of defeats culminating in the 5-0 debacle in 2006-7, it is impossible to adopt any other demeanour, as Bell and Cook grind on and on and on. Were Australian fans smug in 1989? Few can remember and even fewer care.

Ball Six 4.50am – Watson bowls a beauty, Haddin appeals and Aleem Dar answers in the affirmative. After a brief discussion,.Bell refers and, with the technology available, there is no evidence of the edge. Bell is reprieved and bats on. Later, snicko shows the tell-tale noise that can only be a ball in contact with a bat. A mark down for the UDRS and its many detractors will seize on what may be an example of a correct decision being overturned under review in order to call for its removal from the game. As a big supporter of the UDRS, my answer is a simple one – does the UDRS get more decisions right than wrong? Obviously, the only answer to that question can be yes.

The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.




  1. Didn’t see the invisible edge from Bell’s bat I was having a kip in preparation for Newlands, but doesn’t the answer to your question, does the UDRS get more decisions right than wrong? also apply to the umpires without the technology?

    • My question wasn’t ideally phrased. Does the system as a whole (ie umpiring with UDRS) get more decisions right than umpiring without UDRS? It surely does, but it doesn’t get them all right.

  2. If UDRS is wrong it’s wrong, plain and simple, these things must be looked into rather than just falling back on a law of averages or whatever is the justification. The field umpire deserves a little bit more respect than relying on a somewhat dubious piece of technology in hotspot. I’m at the ground and am just so annoyed at this, i’m veritably boiling over so I better type something or I’ll explode, even if I’m not making sense. Not much consequence to this series or test maybe but just wait until the day it is.

  3. The UDRS wasn’t properly applied in the Bell case. It’s a fault of the umpires, not the system.

    • For the benefit of myself and other readers could you explain please David?

      • It is generally known that sometimes there is no Hotspot even though there’s an edge. Therefore, an absence of a Hotspot does not allow you to conclude anything either way – it might have missed the bat, or it might be a fine edge. On its own, a lack of a Hotspot is inconclusive.

        Quoting from the DRS regulations: “A two-way consultation process should begin to investigate whether there is anything that the third umpire can see or hear which would indicate that the on-field umpire should change his decision.”

        So, what happened was: on-field umpire gave it out, third umpire saw inconclusive evidence. There’s nothing there that suggests that the decision should be reversed.

        And furthermore, “The third umpire shall not withhold any factual information which may help in the decision making process, even if the information is not directly prompted by the on-field umpire’s questions.”

        So (and as suggested in the previous excerpt), the third umpire should have listened to the stump mic. Hearing the audible nick would have been evidence in favour of the original decision.

        “The on-field umpire will reverse his decision if the nature of the supplementary information received from the third umpire leads him to conclude that his original decision was incorrect.”

        I have no idea how inconclusive evidence from the third umpire led Dar to change his mind. (I’m only just catching up with the news tonight, so maybe it’s been answered in a press conference or something and I haven’t seen it yet.) It certainly shouldn’t have happened.

        • Thanks Dave much appreciated.

          I thought that was the case because I remember the ruckus when Roach was given out in Perth last year with the Windies were within sight or at least on the horizon of a win.

          So another monumental stuff up. No wonder Bell was booed by the very knowledgeable Sydney crowd. They are usually magnanimous in their gratitude to excellent cricket from touring players.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong but the umpire gave it out which was correct & then upon referral it was overturned.

    Bell would have known if he feathered it – every decent batsman does – so I presume England have learned throughout the series that the thinnest of edges doesn’t show on HotSpot.

    I remember an ODI series in South Africa a few years back when the umps had earphones amplifying the stump mikes and it improved decision making in similar circumstances. Don’t know why that was shelved.

    Contrast to the series in South Africa now sans technology. If a mistake is made, and there haven’t been many, everyone cops it sweet and gets on with it. Smith bottom edging one to Dhoni last night is the perfect example.

    It would appear that the firm and conservative Indian approach towards the DRS has been spot on. The last thing a cricket fan wants to see is the umpire make the right decision and then have it overturned by an irrational belief in the infallibility of a machine.

    This has been brewing for a while and Bell isn’t the first to be caught behind only for the cameras to prove inconclusive. Perhaps, canning referrals for players and allowing the umpires to use it when they see fit ala run outs would be a more sensible approach.

    • Agree. Umpires dont get it right always so what do we replace them with? A different entity which does the same. Do percentages really matter here?
      How do we calculate these percentages? What if more cases like Bell happen in a sample period of data collection? Then, the percentage of UDRS failure will be higher, no?

      • And did you catch Shane Watson referring almost every one of his dismissal speculatively – and lose it all. That annoyed the hell out of me for some reason. I couldnt place my finger exactly but something there tells why Watson is so much a hated figure all around

        • He really does refer them all. If I was batting with him, I would never ask ‘do you think I should refer it?’ He’s bound to say no on the grounds that if the batsman is wrong, it’s one less for him to have a shot at.

  5. What’s your XI Nesta and others?

    Kat? (worth another year for mine to guide Hughes?)

    Hughes or Cosgrove? (Marsh?)


    Huss (D or M! or Clarke to fight his way back after a spell. Looks lost for mine as a bat and has been woeful at 4 to date)

    Ponting (Ferguson to come)


    Paine (harsh but lets just get going)

    O’Keefe? (seems a good prospect – otherwise Beer lower)

    Johnson (sdjghgkjhdkjghkjfdh – more than happy to see dropped but…..bloody


    Pattinson?Hazlewood? Other? l;m a bit over Hilf and Doug.

    • Don’t know at this stage and about to make some dinner but I’ll have a think about it and name an XI for the first Test of next summer a bit later.

      I’m over the lot of them!

      Any idea who is touring?

      • India l think?!

        • It’s not that harsh on Haddin. His flat-footed wafting has annoyed me for just about ever. Paine at least looks as though 1) he has a proper technique and 2) realises he’s playing effing test cricket.

          Unlike 2 out of the 3 recent NSWalers to join the team.

          Watching our no 11 bat for about 2 mins yesterday, I couldn’t help but think ‘he’d get less squared up per ball faced than Hughes.’ He even kept his head over the ball, is it so hard?

    • I give up on Johnson. We don’t have a no 8, he’s barely one himself but he’s better than the other options.

      And somehow he keeps taking wickets.

      Johnson is a deadset scapegoat. He’s expected to have the effect of Warne and McGrath and be handier with the bat than both of them. It’s not his fault his temperament is so under-gunned in comparison to his talent.

      And he is the only one I like watching bat in the team. Though Usman might be added to that if he sticks around.

  6. The sad thing is l could wake up tomorrow and move pretty much every one of those positions/blokes and still feel unsure. In fact yes, every one of them – not sure where Khawaja/Watson should play but almost only certain picks! Haddin unlucky and l guess Siddle is solid at 9 or 10. The rest are all question marks in one way or another with Kat/Huss in terms of age.

  7. Obviously there’s pros and cons to UDRS and I flip flop between the two on a regular basis.

    The most fundamental advantage is that you end up with more correct decision with UDRS than without it. For every decision that is incorrectly over-turned there are without doubt more that are correctly over-turned.

    Surely the ideal for any officiating system is to have 100% of decisions correct because at that point sport becomes purely about the skill of the players. If UDRS moves us closer to that goal then is it not moving towards how cricket should be, 11 vs 11 with no excuses.

    Yes UDRS is not infallible and never will be, but the standard of umpiring at times in this ashes series has been far from sensational, and the course of the series could be very different without the UDRS. Without the last-ball wicket of Clarke in Adelaide, Aus would have had a much better chance to hold on until the rain came the next day. As annoying a Bell’s might have been, the Clarke decision was by far the more significant. Is it right that these things can be allowed go uncorrected when the technology is there to reach the right decision?

    As for the option of allowing umpirs only to use the system, I’m just not sure that would work. If an ump gices a not out on a nick to the ‘keeper I don’t see what would make him refer it apart from the reaction of the players, and that would lead to psychological pressure being put on the decision makers. for me, this is even worse than controlled questioning.

    On the flip side, the cons tend to more on the emotional level. I feel the joy of a wicket has partially been taken from me. Anything other than the most obvious dismissal now has to be tempered with an ‘are they going to review it?’ pause, and that naturally dilutes the joy. The highest of sporting highs come from a moment of brilliance that provokes an unadulterated instant reaction. When that reaction becomes moderated then you lose something from the moment, and the game.

    Speculative referrals like Bell’s do leave a sour taste in the mouth and need to be stamped out in some way (I think Toots idea of just one batting referral is a good start). The sanctity of the umpire has been breached and it is still not an edifying site to see two batsmen having a chat about whether he was right or not.

    There is no doubt that the technology is not perfect, and this will lead to instances like the Bell decision today. I agree that this is more annoying than a simple wrong decision uncorrected, but I’m not sure I see it as a reason to throw out the UDRS altogether. It doesn’t have to be a binary thing, it’s a system that is still in its relative infancy. There are many sports that have some sort of replay, but none of them involves decisions as difficult as those in cricket, so there is no template to follow here.

    For me, the biggest mimnus point is the uneven application of UDRS across series. We have 4 vs 5 playing with the full system and 1 vs 2 playing with nothing. If cricket really does want to have a Test World Championship then it needs to have the same set of rules applied in all matches, and at the moment that is not happening. If the governing body is not prepared to fund it and provide it fior all games then I’m not convinced it should be used. Doing it on the cheap and relying on the tv companies to provide the technology is just not good enough.

    Anyhow, this has ended up as less of a structured set of pros and cons and mroe a bit of a ramble. I currently think that UDRS is a Good Thing for cricket if implemented correctly, but there are still problems in that regard. For my money, he best way to fix them is to make the system available in all series and then gently change things on a yearly basis until it is as close to ideal as possible. the current piecemeal series-by-series approach is pretty much just a bodge.

  8. Good post Perc. The umps don’t need to make a decision before asking for technological assistance. Just like run outs, stumpings, Hughes’ non-catch or Johnson & Beer’s no-balls. They should be in charge of the toolkit and the players should just accept their decision and get on with the game.

    • Good point! I certainly think it’s worth a try and would re-establish both the sanctity of the decision and the moment of celebration; once the finger goes up then that’s it. I guess the main question would be whether or not they’d use it, or just trust their judgement, but that’s as good a reason to trial it as any.

    • I don’t have a problem with them asking for no-balls, if the bowlers are that dumb, they deserve everything they get.

      Bell’s speculation is going to lead to more of that and the thing I least liked about it was a very good umpire over-ruling himself. Shambles. He instinctively made the right decision, which is the way they have to make pretty much all of them.

      Anyway, the umpiring in the SA match has been top notch.

  9. Good post above Percinho.

  10. I’ve only one question regarding hot spot. On a hot day or when the bats are hot does it work well enough? Will we see teams heating up their bats before heading out into the middle on the chance that the heat caused by the friction of ball on bat will be less detectable.

    • That sounds a very reasonable prospect Jim. I’m tweeting that suggestion to Pup immediately!

  11. TT, the question shouldn’t be whether the referral system is more often right than wrong, but whether it is more reliable than the central umpire. For no-balls and lbws that would be an emphatic yes; for edges and low catches the answer is unclear, at least with current technology. David Barry was right above, however, the system was applied poorly in this instance, as there was no conclusive evidence that the umpire had erred, merely that it was too close to call.

    As you know, from our discussion on Clear Cricket last week, I agree with percinho, that the system is cumbersome, and takes some of the spectacle away from a dismissal. But I also think there is some benefit in the idea. It would not be a huge leap forward in technology to use computers to automate the visual processing looking for obvious/clear events, and send those results to the central umpire in the 1-2 seconds he has to deliberate on the decision. A central umpire armed with technology that helps him make no obvious mistakes would be as close to perfect as we could get.

  12. I think Douglas Adams once wrote something akin to

    A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

    Seems apt when describing the DRS and cricket’s impossible quest for umpiring perfection.

  13. Gee India should win this from here and really take on the number 1 mantle with some serious authority. 6 for 131.

    • I’m predicting nothing except that Kallis is tough as teak. Steyn could easily rip the heart out of India with the new ball. Either way this is what Test cricket is all about. Skill, Courage and Consequence.

      • Kallis might finally get his dues after this.

      • Absolutely. Kallis has been magnificient. I am a convert.
        (yes, I havent been really rating him all this long while – my bad)
        If these are not match and series winning knocks, I dont know a match and series winning knock when I see one.

        • There’s a little fellow called Sachin on the other team that may have the last laugh yet!

          • He doesn’t do 4 innings scores…..

  14. Too many easy runs given away to Boucher, and it may come back to bite India later on. I fancy India to chase any thing around 200, but beyond that, extremely difficult.

    Ishant should play a season of county cricket.The poor lad wanted to do it, but the BCCI did not allow him. What stupidity, especially after how Zaheer has resurrected his career after a stint with Worcs.

  15. Alright Jap I’ve had a think about it and I’m ready to name an XI. It’s something I never do but desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Before I begin some background to the philosophy of my 2011/12 Test team. Firstly, and I’m probably influenced by the epic match at Newlands that I cannot take my eyes off, we need blokes who are tough and committed. No nonsense types who like the kangaroo and emu on the cap never, under any circumstances, take a backward step.

    A blend of youth and experience has also been considered. Lastly, batting and bowling styles have been given some thought so players can compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Coach: Greg Shipperd (tactics) supported by Steve Waugh (motivation) & Tom Moody (technique)

    Phil Jaques
    Mike Hussey
    Usman Khawaja
    Pup Clarke
    Ricky Ponting
    Shane Watson
    Brad Haddin
    Jason Krezja
    Peter Siddle
    Mitchell Starc
    James Pattinson

    Johnson would be 12th man and would only play in Perth.

    India would still beat us but this team could restore some pride in the cap so the next batch Tim Paine, George Bailey, Chris Lynn, Nic Maddinson, Mitch Marsh, Alex Keath, James Faulkner and Callum Ferguson, to name a few, can come into a team and understand its philosophy and purpose.

    The quicks are young but Siddle is the man to lead them. Hussey to be the main man in the top order and Punter in the middle. Jaques can play at this level and is hungry for another bite. Krezja has taken Indian wickets and is as hard as nails and a gritty bat when required. Watson can handle the second new ball and attack with Haddin when needed.

    That’s enough or I’ll have to make this comment an article for the front page! If anyone wants to debate I’m happy to comply.

    • You’re welcome to Darren Pattinson if you want him…

      • We’ll stick with his little bro thanks.

        • Good one Nesta. Looks pretty good. If only we could add J Kallis or A Border or S Waugh somewhere in there. You are right, l think those types are the way to go.

  16. I’m with Perc and Dave too. The Bell decision was a misapplication of the system. I saw all of Ind vs Aus and there were more umpiring errors in a day there than there have been in this whole series – thanks to the still imperfect UDRS.

  17. To paraphrase Ali G – Respect Mr Kallis.
    Thank goodness there is something going on to allow us to ignore the SCG.

    • The SCG? Isn’t a charity cricket match being played there at present while the real stuff is on at Newlands.

      I’m astonished Smith hasn’t declared yet at 321/8 and only 15 minutes left. Sehwag factor, memories of when Hayden & Punter chased 290 without raising a sweat or are South Africa content to draw because a loss would see England move narrowly to No.2?

      Whatever the reason it’s disappointing as I was hoping to see Steyn bowl twice with the new ball.

      • He’s always been of the don’t lose first school of captaincy. Might be easier to argue in 24 hours but it’s hard to argue with the rate they are scoring at the moment.

  18. Should be a good fifth day!

  19. Anyone know where to get internet commenary of the game if you’re in the uk?

    • Not sure Perc but Toots works at Test Match Sofa. You could try there. The link is at the bottom of every Toots’ post.

      • Unfortunately (and entirely understandably) tmsofa are only covering the Other Match at the moment. It would be a big ask for them to be broadcasting for the 16 or so hours a day it would take to cover both games, both in terms of manpower and bandwidth. I have the cricinfo desktop scorecard running instead.

  20. I am not following the SCG match anymore. :sigh:

    A bit of anti climax to the Cape town match. ANything in the range of 250-280 could have produced an exciting chase.
    I think now the only possibilities are India knuckling down and trying to bore SA into a draw, which might result in a) Success of the plan or b) Pressure leading to a collapse or capitulation leading to a SA win.
    Nevertheless, a much more watchable series than the one that unfolded down under.

  21. Having said that, I just wanted to note that glad to see Hughes taking his run-out revenge on Watson. About time someone did unto Watson…

  22. If there is one aspect where Dhoni has outdone Smith, it is in the defensive captaincy.Dhoni lost his nerve and wits after just one reverse swept boundary from Kallis, and spread the field out.

    I now tend to agree with Vaughan about the future prospects of SA and India as test teams. Whilst India would hope to find reasonable replacements for its ageing batting stalwarts, the mishandling of the bowling talent, and the stagnation of Dhoni as a captain are urgent issues.

    And if I were a Saffer fan, I would shudder to think about a replacement for Kallis. And right now, if Steyn has an off day or an injury, the SA attack would look as toothless as India’s too.

    Eng may never have expected a 3-1 series win handed on a platter.But they have done it (almost) now, and can look ahead with real confidence. I still do not rate Anderson at the same level as Steyn or Asif (Anderson needs to perform on the subcontinental pitches too !) but they have the best chance to succeed India as the no.1 test nation as per ICC ranking system. The Eng team of the mid to late 80s that won a series in India (under Gower) and Australia (under Gatting), and reached the ODI World Cup finals in India, remains the best I have seen.

    The only remaining interest in the Cape Town test is whether Sehwag will click or fail again. If he does not stay beyond the 1st hour, it will be up to the old stalwarts to salvage a draw – Steyn permitting.

    The No.1 ranking is not very relevant, but what is of significance for an India fan like me, is at least an honest attempt by my team to win this test, and if that doesn’t work out, manage a draw.This team has not lost a test series since 2008, and one can hope the record stays.

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