England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, The Oval June 19, 2012

Gayle return further exposes tourists

West Indies reliance on Chris Gayle was evident in his dismissal creating lasting damage to their chances of setting a competitive total

How much did the dubious decision to give Chris Gayle out cost West Indies? The extended drama over Gayle's lbw is bound to draw another round of fresh debate over the efficacy of the DRS. Gayle and West Indies might even feel deprived of a bigger score and better day at work instead of swallowing a series defeat in the end. At the same time there is another valid question: did West Indies get consumed by the Gayle decision and failed to respond as England did at various moments in the match each time they were under the cosh?

Let's start first with the Gayle episode. Gayle had pushed at delivery from Graeme Swann, which was bowled from wide of the crease from round the wicket and had drifted in nicely before hitting his front pad in line with the stumps. On first look it seemed out, but on second look, it seemed he had managed to get an inside edge just as the ball tried to squeeze between bat and pad. Tony Hill, the New Zealand umpire, was initially uncertain but eventually satisfied Swann's loud and persistent appeal. Gayle did not even consult his batting partner before asking for a referral.

A hush immediately enveloped at the Oval as Kumar Dharmasena, the Sri Lankan third umpire, deliberated on the decision. As the minutes ticked, the intrigue only deepened. Hot Spot displayed two spots but the replays remained inconclusive about whether the ball hit pad first or bat. Some television pundits said that the time taken to arrive at a decision meant Gayle should have been given the benefit of doubt, but in principle the DRS offers the benefit of doubt to the original decision. Eventually what Dharmasena reported to Hill was not strong enough for Hill to change his mind.

"The chasm between Gayle and virtually the rest of West Indies batsmen was exposed once again as the rest of the batsman, barring Bravo, disappointed."

Gayle was surprised as Hill raised his finger for a second time. He raised both his hands unable to understand how he was ruled out. After delaying his exit, he finally started walking back, shaking his head in disapproval. He knew he had positioned himself in a spot from where he could go big. He did raise his bat to acknowledge a standing ovation from a strong crowd. His first international innings on return from exile had lasted one hour.

In those 60 minutes, Gayle batted like the matinee idol he was hyped up to be. He played his initial overs attentively against the bounce and seam available early on. But England were equally aware about what was going to hit them between the eyes after this eerie silence. And it did not take long as Gayle launched a hat-trick of fours against Steve Finn first and then hit five sixes in eleven deliveries including the cloud-kissing missile against Tim Bresnan which sailed into the roof atop the Bedser Stand. That brought back memories of the World Twenty20 in 2009 at the same ground when Gayle had dispatched Brett Lee out of the ground more than once.

There was an edge to Gayle's batting. He had come into England on the back of finishing as the best batsman in the IPL. But his last ODI hundred for his country came on January 13, 2009. Gayle had said recently both him and WICB had fallen out at the very point when he was really hungry and close to make his dreams come true. Today he once again grew hopeful before the abrupt end.

Dwayne Bravo, who scored a resolute fifty, called Gayle's exit as a turning point, saying the decision immediately put West Indies on the back foot. "If the decision had gone a different way, it might have been a different ball game," he said.

Bravo did not stop at that and questioned the accuracy of the referral system. "What confuses us is they use the technology and yet still the decision was given," Bravo said. "It is ok, umpires do mistakes. That's accepted but not when they see it after and they realised they make a wrong decision and stand by it. It was a game-changing moment. Chris had been playing very well. Losing him at that time swing the momentum back England's way."

Unfortunately the chasm between Gayle and virtually the rest of West Indies batsmen was exposed once again today as the rest of the batsman, barring Bravo, disappointed once again. Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard were easily sucked into the short stuff bait while Dwayne Smith, who hit a fifty in the first ODI, proved why he has never been able to secure his spot in the batting order with an erroneous stroke selection. At the other end Bravo was left frustrated.

Bravo admitted he was not able to finish his innings the way he would liked and had to hold back a lot longer as he kept losing partners. If West Indies want to win series overseas, Bravo said they had a lot to learn from England. "They are winning key moments in the game. If we can plan better and think better we can turn out to be a better team," he said.

West Indies were supposed to be favourites to win the ODI series considering they were playing their best team. But like Pollard had said on the eve of the series, there is no point being the best on paper. Unlike England who responded smartly and bravely to bounce back, West Indies get distracted easily.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rick on June 22, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    West Indies need a reliable midle order- chanderpaul,sarwan you cant have a team that is packed with big hitters and a wanna be wicketkeeper batsman. I understand that we want to build a team for the next world cup but we need to start winning more often especially away from home. I suggest that we bring back SARS (both formats) and chanders for the 50 over game so we can start competing and allow the younger ones to grow around them.

  • John on June 21, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    @flop_hat on (June 21 2012, 00:35 AM GMT) Don't think the analogy with the Pac/Bradley fight are at all good. This was a close decision so a better analogy would have been Trinidad/De La Hoya. Gayle's slow walk off didn't bother me personally but I would bet anything that if Cook or Bell etc had stood their ground for a few seconds after being confirmed as out the posters would have been all over it like a swarm of wasps over binful of waste food. As for being bad for the sport- Come on - I mean the decision might have cost the crowd some entertainment but an umpire can't just go against his judgement if he feels it is the incorrect decision

  • John on June 21, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    @denessa on (June 20 2012, 12:26 PM GMT) The technology showed that at best it hit both the bat and pad at the same time. There certainly wasn't any clear evidence to show that it hit the bat before pad. If there was it would have been overturned. @Nampally on (June 20 2012, 13:11 PM GMT) So what if a strong 3rd umpire had agreed with the onfield umpire then what happens - is the 3rd umpire wrong just because you don't agree with the decision.

  • Amar on June 21, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    re: the Gayle decision. The replay is inconclusive for bat or pad first. Whatawicket was concerned re: Gayle's slow departure. I would argue that the game was equally placed in disrepute by a very delayed decision, a prolonged appeal which places undue pressure on the umpire, replay that is inconclusive in slow motion much less real speed. These type decisions certainly spark debate but in more ways (like the Paquia Bradley decision) hurt the sport immensely. Reasonable doubt is reasonable doubt, and a marginal decision (being polite) being maintained because there is not enough evidence to overturn it seems weak. The fact that there is so much disagreement in this forum answrs the question on reasonable doubt. Demon_bowler is right: DRS should stop us from whining. It should also prevent officals from inadvertently changing the course of any game.England played a much better game and deserved the win.

  • bsaint on June 20, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    West Indies Fans will always be pointing fingers. Before this series we went with discipline and application and challenged Australia, there were complaints that we need experience in the team. Now we went with experience (favourites they say, more like fans pick) and threw discipline out the window and Bravo saying we need to plan and think better? Until experience can work with discipline without complaining we will NEVER be successful; no matter who is the coach, captain or board. We have stopped rallying around the West Indies, now we are more divided than anything.

  • Jason on June 20, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    @Rally_Windies, it was one of those was it bat first, or pad first, the umpire and TV umpire thought it was pad first, hence out. Gayle wouldnt have known for certain which was first either hence the look of astonishment on his face as he would have felt the edge. then deflection back onto the pad. From the replays i've seen it was inconclusive so umpires call, but it did look to hit the pad just before the bat. As I said earier he was unlucky, had it not been given, England may have referred and lost thier referal as the TV umpire would have have still gone with the on field umpire.

  • trevor on June 20, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    The WI team seems not to be playing as a unit--They seemed to stand around watching Chris Gayle bat--How can such experience men loose their way? Cgayle is doing his job, please do your part.Even Bravo with his 70+seemed to have lost his concentration, Samuels[-thechosenone] lost his concentration also.Smith is one of my favourite cricketers,but what a personality. Uncertain, at best masterful,at others times--he begs one to ask, Was that really you less than a week ago? Inconsistent. Simmons--How can one who is so masterful look so lost?Easy outs. England was clinical-- they played team balls. WINDIES you have to believe, you can & must win, you have the talent.Rotate the strike, 2+4+1, every ball dont have to be struck out of park-cricket fundamentals-You must still win--the fans are with you,Stand tall, awin is still crucial.Good cricket.

  • Ali on June 20, 2012, 13:38 GMT


    you comment surprises me! You have to be aware that a batsman cannot be given out LBW if he hits the ball right?

    If that wasn't the case, a batsman could hit the ball for 6 and be given out LBW !

    you statement is ridiculous ...

    "What is all this drivel against DRS. The ball would have hit the stumps, therefore he should be out. DRS is there to help eliminate doubt, to try and get rid of the archaic and ridiculous 'benefit of the doubt goes to batsman' nonsense."

    and the benefit of the doubt to the batsman is NOT ridiculous ... the bowler has 60 chances to get the batsman out. The batsman only has 1 chance .. In Tests the Bowler has infinite chances vs 2 chances for the batsman. This is why is we give the benefit to the batsman, because it is VERY bad to give the batsman a wrong decision when he has only 1 chance in an ODI and 2 in a Test.

    The thing about DSR... it is useless if it cannot reduce wrong decisions. It is just an expensive toy.

  • vic tor on June 20, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    One of the WI supporter's stated that WI don't know how to use DRS, and even when they do, they get it wrong, so they should follow BCCI's example and refuse to use it. Sound advice I think. Also, Swann, having noticed Tony Hill deliberating for a long time, kept appealing in the loudest possible fashion, and that probably worked in his favour and Hill made his decision. The Australians were brilliant in their appealing, and I am pleased to note that England, and Swann, have taken a leaf out of their book, and know when and how to appeal. Marginal decisions have been given in England's favour, and it is these decisions sometimes that can change the tone of a match, as it did in this case. Gayle was going bonkers, and England did not know how to stem the tide. This was a stroke of luck that worked in their favour. Remember, if Hill had gone the other way, the DRS would have gone with his decision, or would it?

  • Sandy on June 20, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    I cannot understand why the original decision should be upheld if there is a doubt. If there is a doubt then benefit of doubt should go to the batsman. It is as simple as that. There was plenty of doubt here. That doesnt mean the original out decision stands. It is ridiculous.

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