Australia v West Indies, 3rd Test, Perth, 5th day

Umpire review system still hit and miss

Brydon Coverdale at the WACA

December 20, 2009

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The players wait for the umpire review to finish the game, Australia v West Indies, 3rd Test, Perth, December 20, 2009
Waiting, waiting: The final decision of the match was sent to the third umpire © Getty Images
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Chris Gayle believes the umpire review system is still too complicated and is especially tough to use on caught-behind decisions after a failed West Indies challenge confirmed their 35-run defeat at the hands of Australia. The final wicket fell when Kemar Roach was given out to an edge off Doug Bollinger and the batsman asked for a review of Billy Bowden's call.

It led to strange climax for the Test, as the Australians were standing around thinking they had won, while Roach and his partner Gavin Tonge waited to see if they could bat on. Although there was no mark on Hot Spot, the replays did not conclusively prove that the ball had not hit the bat and the third umpire Asad Rauf upheld Bowden's decision.

"It seems like it will be a difficult one when it comes to caught-behind," Gayle said. "It looked difficult on telly when they do get an edge, so it's a tough call.

"It's still complicated, it's always going to be their call, they can refer all they want but at the end of the day it's the third umpire who has the final call, so it's very complicated. Based on what you saw on the telly, you can share your views."

Australia's captain Ricky Ponting conceded that marginal caught-behinds were not the blatant howlers that the system was introduced to eradicate, but he said in the same situation his players would have also asked for a review. Ponting was happy with the way the final decision was handled.

"They've got two up their sleeve, they're nine wickets down, and they need 30-odd to win, and it was a really faint edge," Ponting said. "Anyone would've used it in that situation.

"If you look back to Adelaide there were probably a couple similar to that that might've snuck through. You can't blame the batsman for doing it. I think that was a really good decision by the on-field umpire and I think it was handled really well back in here as far as the third umpire side of things went as well. I believe nothing showed up on Hot Spot. That's really good umpiring as far as I'm concerned."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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