India v Bangladesh, only Test, Hyderabad February 14, 2017

A question on DRS procedure after last-wicket drama

An unusual incident during the final moments of the Hyderabad Test exposed a possible loophole in the review protocol
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Virat Kohli reviewed for an lbw after an appeal for a catch was turned down by the third umpire once it was established that the ball's impact was pad first © Associated Press

A possibly unforeseen event occurred to end the Hyderabad Test, as far as DRS is concerned. Because it brought India an expected victory, the review to bring about the last dismissal - with almost a session still in India's hand to take that last wicket - didn't become the big controversy it might have been in tighter circumstances. In brief, India were allowed to review a not-out call on lbw after they had possibly seen the replay on the big screen or had at least had the opportunity for signals to be made from the change room.

The details of this play were not as straightforward. A really full ball from R Ashwin hit the pad of Taskin Ahmed and lobbed up. India went up immediately. It cannot be said whether they appealed for lbw or bat-pad catch, but it seemed like one of those plays where only bat can save the batsman from the lbw, in which case he is out caught anyway. Umpire Marais Erasmus, though, gave it another twist by going to the third umpire to check if there had been a bump ball.

The replays showed that the bat didn't even touch the ball. In fact it hit the ground, which might have given Erasmus the impression of an inside edge. However, the replays also showed this was a really good lbw call in this case. As soon as the big screen flashed not out, Kohli hit his left forearm with his right fist, initiating what turned out to be a successful review.

This was in clear contravention of 3.2 (d) of the DRS protocol: "No replays, either at normal speed or slow motion, should be shown on a big screen to spectators until either the next delivery has been bowled or the players have left the field."

Even if there are both an umpire review and a player review for the same delivery, the player review has to be made within "no more than a few seconds" of the ball becoming dead. The umpire preview precedes the player review in such instances but the request for the player review has to be made immediately. However, the DRS protocol as of now covers more for instances such as an lbw appeal and a subsequent run-out where the on-field umpire thinks one appeal should be turned down and is not in position to rule on the second. In such cases the fielding side has to review immediately against the not-out.

However, in this case, even though Kohli wanted to review immediately, even the umpire wanted to rule out as was evident from his going to the third umpire to check for a bump ball and a soft signal of out. So if Kohli was to review immediately, what was the review against?

DRS was first trialled in 2008, and this is quite possibly the first time we have had such a situation. What's important in these unforeseen circumstances is that eventually the correct decision was made. What's more important is that an addition be made to the DRS protocol after discussions at the ICC cricket committee's meeting this May because not always will such a mix-up be so harmless.

The most practical solution for such cases is to check for all dismissals once the umpire review has been initiated. If the secondary mode of dismissal is lbw, as it was in this case, the umpire's call should depend on the original decision. In this case, for example, Erasmus had originally ruled that the batsman had hit the ball, which means that when the review is run for the lbw the original decision should considered to be not out.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Ishtiaque_Khan on February 19, 2017, 6:14 GMT

    For a particular ball, there should either be umpire review or player review. Once umpire review is done, teams should not be allowed to apply for reply.

    However, I do agree that 3rd umpire should check for all scenarios.

  • Indiahindiblog.com on February 18, 2017, 4:45 GMT

    Last ball drama was good. The audience enjoyed that moment.

  • Kapil_Choudhary on February 16, 2017, 9:31 GMT

    @Walkingwicket11 - Completely agreed. The only change I will make is w.r.t run-outs and obstructing the field. These 2 modes are special dismissals which do not occur in the actual act of the batsman playing the ball. Hence, even non-strikers are subjected to them whereas only the batsman on strike can be out in any other way. If the on-field umpire refers to the 3rd umpire for either of these 2, then other modes of dismissal need not be checked. We do not want a situation where even a run-out appeal has to go through the entire gamut of no-ball, lbw, catch etc before we can get to the replay showing the run-out.

  • WalkingWicket11 on February 16, 2017, 5:25 GMT

    Keep the rules simple, and there should be no problem.

    1. When fielding captain appeals, on-field umpire shall either make his decision or make the box signal and let the TV umpire make the decision. Get rid of the so-called "consultation" with the TV umpire. Either you make the decision on the field or leave it to the TV umpire. 2. If on-field umpire calls "not out", let fielding side review it. If he calls "out", let batting side review it. 3. If box signal is made and TV umpire has to make the decision, then referral is pointless, and should not be allowed. Hence it doesn't matter if the TV umpire's decision making is showed on big screen or not. 4. Ask on-field umpires and TV umpires to read the laws of the game. An appeal of "How's that?" covers all forms of dismissal. There is no need to enquire with the captain what he is appealing for.

    This is so simple and easy, but ICC keeps creating artificial problems by making strange rules.

  • 5string on February 15, 2017, 19:53 GMT

    PRANAB708 makes the perfect point. Nicely put.

  • SamRoy on February 15, 2017, 19:03 GMT

    @naman Agarwal Sorry you are wrong mate. There is no law which states a team cannot appeal for two types of dismissal of the same delivery. E.g. A ball hits the pad before catching the bat and then the wicket-keeper catches it which the bowler did not see. The bowler can appeal for LBW and the wicket-keeper for the catch. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  • bvnathan on February 15, 2017, 18:06 GMT

    The contention of the DRS appeal protocol takes a new dimension for the appeal made by the teams at the wicket for scenarios below - 1. Bowled - Check for NO BALL and no other doubt exist here 2. Catches - Bat/Pad, Glove, Bump Ball, fingers under the ball etc., yes the DRS review system with all current supporting technologies used by by 3rd umpire tries to eliminate the nuances before the verdict 3. Stumping - Foot position, Bails removed on time, ball in the gloves etc. - options available for review before the verdict 4. LBW - this is the most contested one for different reasons. (a) Ball pitching in line with the stumps (b) Is there an edge involved (c) Ball tracking (d) half of the ball striking the stumps ??? (e) how far is the batsman in front of stumps and what not

    Ideally the 3rd umpire can consider all the above options available for the appeal made by the fielding teams and guide the on-field umpire to arrive at the best verdict. @JOSE...P valid observations and comments

  • Srikanth_G on February 15, 2017, 17:43 GMT

    It appears none of the umpires were at fault. Law 2.2c of Appendix 1: The third umpire has to determine whether the batsman has been caught, or if it was a bump ball or not. However, in reviewing the television replay(s), the third umpire shall first check the fairness of the delivery for decisions involving a catch and whether the batsman has hit the ball. If the delivery was not a fair delivery or if it is clear to the third umpire that the batsman did not hit the ball he shall indicate to the on-field umpire that the batsman is not out caught, and in the case of an unfair delivery, advise the on-field umpire to signal no ball. Additionally, if it is clear to the third umpire that the batsman is out by another mode of dismissal (excluding LBW), or not out by any mode of dismissal (excluding LBW), he shall notify the on-field umpire so that the correct decision is made. Even though, this law contradicts with a general law in 3.3f - specific law should rule over a general law.

  • Srikanth_G on February 15, 2017, 17:43 GMT

    It appears none of the umpires were at fault. Law 2.2c of Appendix 1: The third umpire has to determine whether the batsman has been caught, or if it was a bump ball or not. However, in reviewing the television replay(s), the third umpire shall first check the fairness of the delivery for decisions involving a catch and whether the batsman has hit the ball. If the delivery was not a fair delivery or if it is clear to the third umpire that the batsman did not hit the ball he shall indicate to the on-field umpire that the batsman is not out caught, and in the case of an unfair delivery, advise the on-field umpire to signal no ball. Additionally, if it is clear to the third umpire that the batsman is out by another mode of dismissal (excluding LBW), or not out by any mode of dismissal (excluding LBW), he shall notify the on-field umpire so that the correct decision is made. Even though, this law contradicts with a general law in 3.3f - specific law should rule over a general law.

  • pranab708 on February 15, 2017, 15:20 GMT

    When the fielding side appeals to the umpire, they don't specifically appeal for only one mode of dismissal. They simply appeal to know 'How is that?', which means they simply want to know whether the batsman concerned is out or not. So, the umpires whether on-field or off-field should always consider all possible modes of dismissal to arrive at their judgement. As has been suggested in the article, the umpires should always consider all modes of dismissal before ruling. Hope this case is highlighted by both the teams, not to dispute the result of the match but to avoid a future unpleasant scenario involving any team.

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