Friday, 15 January 2010

England fury as umpire misses Smith snick

England are to make an official complaint after a second highly contentious ruling in successive days by Darryl Harper, the third umpire, cost England dearly on the second day of the fourth Test in Johannesburg today.
Harper gave what is accepted by most as an erroneous ruling that Graeme Smith had not edged an attempted cut off Ryan Sidebottom when on 15 early in the morning session. Smith went on to make a century that could well have a major bearing on the outcome of the match. Had the Australian turned up the volume on the stump microphone in his bunker at the Wanderers, he would have heard the noise that Smith's bat made when edging the delivery in question, which would have been sufficient evidence to give the batsman out.
"He has obviously hit it because you can hear the nick on the replays," Andy Flower, the England team director, said. "I don't blame him for standing but certainly with the technology available and everyone can hear the nick on referral, I find it very surprising that he hasn't been given out.
"I am not surprised he didn't hear it because he didn't turn the volume up on his speaker. I find it strange if you are listening for a nick you don't turn the volume up on your speaker."
Smith admitted he could have edged behind but claims he did not know if he touched the ball or not. "I did think there was a noise but I didn't think I had touched the ball," he said. "These things happen I guess. I actually thought it was my bottom hand on my grip that made the noise.
"Sometimes you feel them and sometimes you don't. I could very well have edged it but I didn't feel it at the time, that is why I stood around. There is always going to be controversial moments until you have got all the technology available."
When asked if England would make an official complaint to Roshan Mahanama, the match referee, Flower said: "Yes we will. I have had a couple of discussions with him today.
"The first one, an inquiry into how they didn't hear it when everyone else had. He said they get a different audio feed (to TV).After that meeting we investigated that little further and that isn't the case, they get the same audio feed.
"In a subsequent discussion with Roshan he informed us Daryl simply didn't turn up the volume. It is not the end of the world and it is a Test match, but it was at a crucial time. He (Smith) is one of the most important wickets in their line-up."
Harper’s decision not to call a no-ball when Alastair Cook was leg before on the first day was one of those 50-50 cases that England eventually chose to accept.
Despite writing a statement this afternoon in which they are understood to have criticised Harper, SABC, the host broadcaster, made a late decision not to publish it. The corporation's head of sport, who was sent the statement for approval, has instead agreed with Cricket South Africa (CSA) that the board will now discuss the matter with the match referee, Roshan Mahanama.
Times Online understands that Harper had his volume set at 4/10, the main reason why he did not hear the noise of an edge. The commentators of SABC, the host broadcaster, did not hear the edge either at the time or during immediate replays. That was because their volume was also set at 4/10. Sky TV's commentators did, however, pick up the noise straightaway because their volume was turned up higher by their engineers after taking the SABC feed.

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