Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart, 2nd day December 10, 2011

The pointless finger and Clarke's lost wicket

Plays of the Day from the second day of the second Test between Australia and New Zealand in Hobart

The walk
Occasionally a batsman will walk for an edge behind. But pre-empting an umpire's lbw decision is almost unheard of. That's what Ricky Ponting did when he moved across his stumps and was rapped on the pads by a Tim Southee delivery that stayed a fraction lower than he anticipated. New Zealand went up to appeal, but they hardly needed to: Ponting was walking towards the pavilion a second after being struck. By the time the umpire Nigel Llong raised his finger, Ponting was well on his way. While it is an infrequent occurrence such a reaction has happened before. During the 1998 Boxing Day Test, a Dean Headley ball stayed down and hit Michael Slater on the pad. Slater hesitated a moment and then slunk off, "Slow-Death" Steve Bucknor having not yet raised his finger. On this occasion, Ponting's judgment was shown to be sound: replays suggested the ball would have hit the middle of middle stump.

The stumping
Brad Haddin has been under pressure over the past couple of series but, all along, he has maintained that his glovework is at its peak. That was certainly the case when he stood up to Michael Hussey's medium pace, took a ball down the leg side and whipped off the bails as Jesse Ryder briefly stepped out of his crease. It was a marvellous piece of work and the instant huddle the Australians created around Haddin showed how much they appreciated his effort.

The leave
On the opening day, the New Zealand captain Ross Taylor was given lbw when he failed to offer a shot. Again on the second day, a captain lost his wicket, though this time literally, when he shouldered arms. Michael Clarke chose not to play at a Doug Bracewell delivery that moved back in off the seam and clattered into the off stump, knocking it out of the ground and bringing back memories of a similar mistake Clarke made against Simon Jones at Old Trafford in 2005.

The catch
Martin Guptill took a sharp chance at gully to get rid of Phillip Hughes in the first Test, but this time it was Kane Williamson who filled the same position and snapped up an equally tough opportunity to remove James Pattinson. Williamson moved low to his left and got his fingers underneath the ball to end the resistance of Pattinson, who was so disappointed that he trudged off at the kind of pace that would have done Phil Simmons proud.

The pointless finger
If an umpire gives a batsman out, but nobody is there to see it, is he really out? Well, yes, and that was the scenario as Australia's final wicket fell, the result of a successful New Zealand review. Mitchell Starc was given not out by Asad Rauf off the bowling of Trent Boult, but confident that the innings might end then and there, Taylor asked for a referral. The whole procedure played out on the big screen and the players saw the prediction that the ball would have clattered into leg stump. The batsmen walked off, the fielders jogged towards the boundary, and poor old Rauf was left in the middle all but alone, waiting for the all-clear from the TV producers to signal his reversal.

The retrospective recognition
Ten years after he officiated in a Hobart Test, John Smeaton has been officially recognised as a Test umpire. Smeaton was the third official for the match between Australia and New Zealand in 2001, but he was forced to take over on-field duties after Steve Davis hurt his knee climbing over a low fence after the second day's play. Smeaton stayed on the ground until the end of the match, but was not officially regarded as having stood in a Test because he was not appointed to the role from the start of the game. However, the ICC has decided to retrospectively recognise Smeaton as an official Test umpire for his work in that match, and on the second day at Bellerive Oval he was presented with an umpire's hat by the match referee Andy Pycroft. The hat featured the initials JHS and the number 453 - Smeaton's official Test umpire number.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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