December 12, 1999

Kallis 'catch': SABC replay shows bugs in the TV system

Port Elizabeth It was far from your average early sleepy afternoon chat between friendly rivals as the "claimed catch" incident and subsequent television replays added a new meaning to the term Sunday roast at St George's Park yesterday.

On a baking, steamy day England's Chris Adams "claimed the catch offered by Jacques Kallis" off Phil Tufnell's bowling as South Africa battled to rebuild their second innings and the tourists tried to strangle the run rate as the dramatic second Test of the series continued to bubble with on-field tension.

And Kallis' waving of the bat at the England fieldsmen was just the sort of lively exchanges which has kept the ebb and flow moving of what has been an absorbing game.

It is not the first incident of what has been a lively outing with several on Saturday and Friday adding the sort of piquant taste synonymous with the Test cauldron.

While Sky TV showed one view with the ultra "slow mo" camera process, a facility not available to SABC, which indicates a fair catch, Dave Orchard, the TV umpire this Test could only see the inconclusive evidence of his SABC monitor. It gave the unfair impression that Adams was "a cheat" while the bowler's umpire, Rudi Koertzen who had been unsighted, was also made to look foolish, as was Orchard.

Unless there is a major improvement in the technology available, perhaps the replays, slow mo and all, has again buried the theory that "dismissal trial by TV" is an option.

No doubt the British tabloids will make a major "we woz robbed" comment and how bad it is for the umpires to be been gagged from commenting by the ICC's regulation code.

As it is Kallis, playing forward may not have been entirely aware he had given a catch and was right to stand his ground. But Adams was certain and at 48 for three, coming before what was Daryll Cullinan's dismissal, would have placed added pressure on a South African side battling to remain in the game.

On Saturday there were a "few thoughts exchanged" between Mike Atherton and West Indies umpire Steve Bucknor over Atherton being irked by Jonty Rhodes' continual chatter to "gee up" the South African players.

There was then further conversation with Bucknor and Hansie Cronje. When asked for a comment Atherton said although "these things happen, and it is not the sort of thing to tell tales out of school" - which is one polite way of dismissing an incident.