India v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day December 6, 2009

Absence of review system hurt us - Sangakkara

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Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's captain, has lamented the absence of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the Test series against India, which he said cost Sri Lanka "over 500 runs". The UDRS - or lack of it - once again figured prominently at the media conference after India beat Sri Lanka by an innings to become the top-ranked Test team, with Sangakkara saying that the three-match contest was the best advertisement for having the review system.

"Not having the review system cost us over 500 runs and a lot of wickets. It always puts a lot of pressure on the inside," he said. "You've got to accept the fact that we were outbowled and outplayed but not to have the review system when every other side in the world is using it and when the ICC had said yes that all sides will be playing with it, it becomes an extra handicap. It cost us quite a huge amount of runs in this Test and the last one."

India's captain MS Dhoni has yet to play in a series where the UDRS was used and found it difficult to comment too much. "I don't think it is foolproof still. It has its own advantages and disadvantages," he said. "We can try and get it foolproof by at least try and make it give 90 percent correct decisions."

The system is being used in the two other Test series currently under way, between Australia and West Indies and New Zealand and Pakistan. The decision not to use the system in India was made known shortly before the series began and Ratnakar Shetty, the Indian board's chief administrative officer, said at the time there was "nothing to explain" about the BCCI's decision to not use the system for the series. India originally supported the implementation of the UDRS but were reportedly dissuaded by the players, who have reservations about the effectiveness of referrals.

Sangakkara was of the opinion that Sri Lanka were a better side than what the 2-0 series score line indicated. "2-0 is a realistic score line the way the Indians played and the way we played especially in the last two Test matches. But we are a better side than what the score line says," he said. "We got to accept the fact that if we don't play well enough we are going to be placed in situations like these. We need to put big totals on the board but at the same time you've always got to find ways to bowl the opposition out under those totals. In this case in all three Test matches we were unable to do that."

"We were mostly outbowled. We created chances right along but catching at crucial times let us down. We were never able to continuously put pressure on the Indian batsmen. Our fast bowlers sometimes created chances but then onwards it was a tough graft. India was always ahead of the game when it came to their batting."

Sangakkara admitted that Sri Lanka's bowling lacked firepower. "The ability to bowl maiden overs is a huge plus that's the entirety of your bowling plan," he said. "You try and keep the batsman on strike for as long as possible. In the second Test we bowled only five maiden overs in our entire bowling innings.

"That just goes to show that it's always tough when you cannot tie a batsman down for more than an over from one side it becomes very difficult to exert continuous pressure. It's more the singles and stopping the singles and keeping batsmen on strike. If singles are going as well as the boundaries then you are in a bit of trouble. We tried as many fielding options as we could in the Tests but it didn't work."

One of the biggest disappointments for Sri Lanka was the form of Muttiah Muralitharan, who ended the series with five wickets after conceding 591 runs. Sangakkara singled out Murali's inability to bowl with the SG ball as a factor. "That handicapped him with the bounce and the amount of turn that he can expect off the pitch," he said. "That's probably the main factor and [also] India are the best side in the world against spin. That's the two main reasons why he hasn't been successful."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vijit on December 7, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    Maybe some sour grapes. But I think Sanga acknowledged that SL was outplayed in every aspect of the game. That was all the more reason why they did not need bad decisions. In order to even a fighting chance they did not need bad breaks. India could have had some bad decisions and still won. I think that may have been kind of Sanga's message with just a pinch of sour grapes. On another note though the match was played with great spirit. Most of the Sri Lankas walked right away. I think only Angelo Mathews waited for the umpires finger.

  • Vivek on December 7, 2009, 16:26 GMT

    Having watched every ball of the Sydneygate test match, I am very sensitive to errors changing the direction of Test matches, and i sympathize with Lankan sentiments. Still, I think the Lankan fans should help provide some data to back their claims. @sinv, either name your "reliable" source or stop making baseless allegations. @DonSilva, Could you provide us with the exact balls that you believe the errors were made at? I think i should be able to use career (or recent) averages to enumerate the impact that UDRS may have made to the test series. I don't know of a way to see snicko/hotspot data online, so I'll use the crickinfo ball-by-ball commentator's judgement. I'll publish my results online so you can see what the effect was. I just ask that you provide me with the errors made in both directions.

  • Chetan on December 7, 2009, 15:06 GMT

    Sangakarra's comment is as fact-based & blatant as Virender Sehwag pointing to his bat in an India V Australia test match at Bangalore a few years back where Billy Bowden gave him out LBW, incorrectly. ICC's allegedly neutral umpires & match referees promptly hit Sehwag with with dissent to umpiring decision charges & a penalty. Press the world over has reported Sangakarra's comment - almost 2 days after Sangakarra's comment, we are yet to hear what action ICC's allegedly neutral umpires & match referee are going to take against Sangakarra.

  • Gayan on December 7, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    This is a reply to: mrgupta on (December 07 2009, 12:18 PM GMT India made a big fuss about the test match in Sydney, Their commentators, media made a huge shout about it. And understandable so it is fare. So dont tell India didn't complain about it. 2nd of all India lost to SL in 2008 2 - 1 where UDRS was in use for the 1st time. And what a huge different it made to the whole series result ? Count how many times SL benefited from it. Yes score card says sri lanka lost by an innings, but it doesn't show you where the wrong decisions have been made does it ? you just count the ultimate result isn't it ?

  • Gayan on December 7, 2009, 13:41 GMT

    I don't no why people say UDRS wouldn't make any difference to sri lanka 's performance. From test match number 1 decisions went against sri lanka (Mathews wicket). And how many times I have seen indian batsmen been given not out and at the same time sri lankan batsmen been given out. For example during last match dilshan was given out wrongly in both innings. This caused sri lanka 100 odd runs, where at the same time dravid and sachin been given not out. That added minimum 150 runs more on India. If you do the maths sri lanka would have been in a position either to draw the 2nd match or even challenge India on last day.

    Players like sanga and samaraweera walked after edging the ball where Dravid stood still, but eventually India won so I guess there is no justice of been HONEST in cricket. So ICC should have used UDRS on this series.

  • Sanjaya on December 7, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    what sanga says is justifiable. because while both the other series used URDS why didnt they use it here. As I heard Indians didnt want it to be in effect. Had URDS been used the results could have changed. Alot of crucial decisions were made against SLand in favour of india. which ultimately cost them the matches. URDS is a must. Another thing I heard from a reliable source is that the pitch curators sprayed a kind of Alcohol to the pitch to give it an extra toughness when the indians were bowling and hot water too for some other reson .Anyways most of the indian pitches used were worse than even my backyard. Also we saw indian captain MS Dhoni intentionaly damaging the pitch while running. the ICC should take action against these cheap tricks before they take cricket to their hands.

  • Rahul on December 7, 2009, 12:53 GMT

    UDRS is handled by humans, so there is bound to be errors, as witnessed in case of Aus vs WI series. Though there might be an improvement on the quality of decisions, errors will still be made. After all, to err is human :). India were at the receiving end in SCG against Aus, now its SL. The best is do away with the UDRS and rely on the good old umpires to make the decisions. That's how cricket was played till the last decade. Let's leave it that way. Keep the so called comments from the experts out of the media and everything will be good.

  • Mradul on December 7, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    I find it difficult to understand why Sanga and all SL fans are cribbing about the UDRS. Since Jan-2007 SL has won just 1 test match outside their comfort zone (Home, BD and Zim). They fall down to 6th in the list if you count away victories except against BD and Zim. Though I agree SA have performed best and Aus did a little better than India they both lost home series against each other whereas India hasnt lost to either of them at home. We have won test against all top nations while playing away. For record Eng has not beaten us in a Test series since 1996 both Home and Away (they beat Aus twice during that time), SL never won a test in India and Aussies also failed to win a single match on their last tour. If a team is loosing consecutive matches by innings then they should be gracious enough to accept the defeat rather than blame umpiring errors. If Indians complained about bad umpiring in Aus (Sydney) they have not lost a single test to Aus since that match (No UDRS).

  • Kumar on December 7, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    Finally ICC has woken up...UDRS is a must. Simple reason being -- umpires r human & they WILL make mistake.

    Explain to me -- how a dangerous batsman like Dilshan being given out when he is clearly not out -- will not change the game ?? He is of the calibre of Viru. What a shock when he was given out LBW to Harbhajan in 2nd innnings of 3rd test. Even a kid can say it will miss leg stump as the ball was spinnnig too much & the height. I switched off the TV after seeing the replay. I am an Indian, but I want to see a fair game of cricket.

    IMO -- use all the tools of technology OR don't use at all. Why the hell technology is used then to see run outs & stumpings ?? On the line is give out -- what a joke. Going by olden days -- it will be not out. Again IMO use all the tools or take out all the tools of technology.

    All over the world for different sports -- latest technology is being used. So why not cricket ???

    Cheers, Kumar

  • srinath on December 7, 2009, 11:40 GMT

    First of fall,Congratulations to Team India for maintaining consistency over 18-20 months.I hope they will carry on this performance in future. secondly, I fail to understand why some srilankans having problems with Umpiring decisions.Last time during India-SL odi series in srilanka,Sachin Tendulkar was given out 3 times in a row (by J.Silva) in the 4 matches he played,and many umpiring errors took place in the entire ODI's and a t20 match. but still India managed to win ODI and T20 series against all odds. India can win matches with or without Umpire's help and thats why it is far better team than srilanka (as per ICC Rankings)

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