England v Pakistan, 2nd npower Test, Edgbaston, 2nd day August 7, 2010

Butt plays down dead-ball row

Cricinfo staff

Salman Butt played down the latest potential flashpoint between England and Pakistan as Kevin Pietersen apologised for his part in a controversial reprieve on the second afternoon at Edgbaston.

Pietersen, who top-scored with 80 but is still waiting for his first Test hundred since March 2009, was on 41 when he backed away as Mohammad Asif ran into bowl, indicating he wasn't ready to face the delivery. But, with Asif in delivery stride, the ball was let go and Pietersen, bizarrely, played a casual drive that lobbed gently into the air to Salman Butt at mid-off.

In an innings in which the tourists dropped six catches, Butt understandably appealed, but the South African umpire Marais Erasmus insisted he had already called dead ball and therefore Pietersen could not be given out.

"That's what I've been told by the umpire, that he called it before the actual shot was played so it becomes not out that way," Butt told reporters. "That's what the umpire told me. We had a point and we made it to him but that was the reply."

Pietersen, for his part, insisted he'd been distracted by his fellow batsman Jonathan Trott, who walked into his eyeline while backing up at the non-striker's end. "Trotty walked in from a widish mid-on position." Pietersen said. "He said he was swatting away flies or bees - there were a lot of them out there today - and he walked in at a brisk pace across the wicket.

"I thought he was going to walk straight across, so I pulled away. The umpire shouted dead ball, but the ball sort of followed me. Instinctively, I played at it - I probably shouldn't have, and I apologise if I caused any issues."

Law 23.3.b (v) states: "Either umpire shall call "dead ball" when he is satisfied that for an adequate reason the striker is not ready for the delivery of the ball and, if the ball is delivered, makes no attempt to play it." Having played his shot, Pietersen conceded he was fortunate not to have been given out on a technicality.

"They obviously appealed. But it was a dead ball call before - and if the shoe was on the other foot we would have got on with the game," he said. "I think everybody moved on pretty quickly."

"I think all the luck was with KP today," said Butt, with a smile, after falling for 0 in Pakistan's second innings. "It's only a one-ball game for us batsmen, and if you get a good one there's not much we can do. If we are lucky it might pass without edging, sometimes it doesn't carry."

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