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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 11, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    Dravid_Gravitas........ Have you watched the Hobart game? What inconsistant bounce and "hopeless" lateral movement? The bounce has been fine today, and yesterday there were only a few i.e. maybe three, balls that kept low. None of the batsmen were dismissed off balls keeping low. That lateral movement you noticed is what is referred to as the ball seaming. You know, that type of bowling that Sehwag and the other Indian flat track bullies can't play?

  • Srinivas on December 11, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    All I hope is that the Indian bowlers (and batsmen) were watching this test and learning something from it. Zak/Ishy/Ummy...please man!! Watch how Aus can fold against a decent (may not be great) bowling attack.

  • Dr Athar on December 11, 2011, 1:27 GMT

    @cricketstargazer, You wrote: "Sides like Pakistan have learnt to exploit seam, swing and turn.Their side looks ready to win anywhere right now." Ten bundles of thanks from a Pakistan supporter. Not many have the manners and courage to say positive things about some other team (even if a reality).

  • Srinivas on December 10, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    @Giovaughn Wilson, I have no problem if the bounce is true, steap and consistent aiding fast bowlers as well as the batsmen. A true bounce, which the batsmen can trust and execute their skills. On tracks such as these there is little room for any kind of fight from the batsmen unless you always play as late as you can ala Dravid style. As much as I admire Dravid for implementing that aspect of batsmanship, there is lot more to batsmanship than just playing extremey late with softest hands. Just because it'll need the skills of Dravid or Kallis, doesn't mean you make great batsmen like Ponting/Sachin who have hard hands/grip/wrists to look poor. Coming to 'inflating' averages - if the sporting/spinning tracks in India are 'roads', why not batsmen from other teams 'inflate' their averages in India? It needs a different skill set to score big on Indian 'roads' and sorry to say that only a handful like Bell, KP, Shiv, Trott, Kallis, Amla, Bravo, Clarke, Hussey seem to possess those skills.

  • Martin on December 10, 2011, 22:22 GMT

    @davidpk - nicely put. Yuvraj Singh - for all the yap of the india fans about him and Stuart Broad, and the 6's etc. Yuvraj was Broads bunny in that Test at Trent Bridge 2011, and yes indeed - Yuvraj had that desperation in his eye. Those 6's came back to haunt Yuvraj as he sat in the air ambulance back to india with his "injury". Man of the Series Broad - had the last laugh and Yuvraj played no further part in the Test series. It was lack of technique against good bowling, not the pitch.

  • Srinivas on December 10, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer, I'm not talking about the weather and swing. Please help yourself with some reading glasses. I'm talking of that dodgy 'pitch' - with so much grass left over on the 'pitch' they could as well play the match on the outfield. Secondly, couldn't you see the inconsistent bounce and hopeless lateral movement off the pitch? This is a poor, underprepared pitch. There are no two ways about it. Swing is a different phenomenon and I know about that. Pitches that help spinners/spin from day one are sporting tracks as Dhoni already made it very clear to all those watching him. I hope you understand the difference between such sporting spinning tracks and the dodgy pitch we are seeing in Hobart and other venues in Aus/SA/Eng. I hope ICC is closely watching these dangerous and underprepared grazing fields.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    Love it Dravid_Gravitas, love it. You are seemingly one of the simple minded who believe that a wicket is only 'good' or 'fully prepared' if it is a road. From what I've seen of the game the pitch is fine. Sure, it might not be a batsman paradise but with application and hard work runs can be scored.

    The issue for many seems to be the lack of technique against the moving ball (something Indian batsman are equally clueless against). Test is cricket is meant to be just that, a test. It is not a T20 slog but a place where players who can actually play the game are required.

    pentimulite - its LOSE not LOOSE.

  • david on December 10, 2011, 21:11 GMT

    cricketingstargazer.i think england/new zealand has a augument for having damp wickets. but australia and south africa dont. yes it can rain big time but they also get plenty of sun and they can be covered during the periods on rain. in the uk yes we can have dry periods but we dont get the heat as the 2 other countries mentioned. dpk

  • Mark on December 10, 2011, 20:40 GMT

    Dravid_gravitas, presumably a wicket that turns square on the first morning (as Austalia found on a recent tour of India) is not underprepared? You confuse pitches that are not flat like roads with "underprepared". Similarly, swing is not the fault of the pitch, but rather the atmosphere: should we ban England, Australia and South Africa for having underprepared weather? Sides like Pakistan have learnt to exploit seam, swing and turn.Their side looks eady to win anywhere ight now. India and Sri Lanka will never stay at the top table for long until they accept that "natural conditions" does not just mean those in the sub-continent and start developing a side that can win anywhere in the world on any kind of pitch.

  • david on December 10, 2011, 19:12 GMT

    the last time i saw a batter walk off like ponting, was yuvrah at nottingham in the 2nd test v india . but then he had not hit it and the umpire would not give him out so had to go back to the crease. you could see the fear in his eye he wanted off and a few balls later he got his wish. dpk

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