Hazlewood, Smith in umpiring controversy
Josh Hazlewood has pleaded guilty to breaching the ICC's Code of Conduct after showing dissent at the result of a decision review during New Zealand's second innings in Christchurch. Hazlewood, who was fined 15% of his match fee for the incident, along with captain Steven Smith was part of an ugly confrontation with umpire Ranmore Martinesz in the last over before lunch.
The incident occurred after the Australians appealed for lbw from a near yorker that Hazlewood delivered to Kane Williamson, and Martinesz ruled not-out. Smith immediately asked for a review from third umpire Richard Illingworth, who saw a small Hot Spot mark near the bottom of Williamson's inside edge and instructed Martinesz to stay with his not-out decision.
The Australians, who had seen the replays on the big screen at Hagley Oval, appeared to be furious with the review, indicating to Martinesz that they thought the Hot Spot was the result of Williamson's bat hitting his boot. Smith walked towards Martinesz to remonstrate and Hazlewood was heard on the stump microphone to say: "Who the f*** is the third umpire?"
Their reaction drew immediate criticism from the TV commentators on air at the time, Mark Richardson declaring the actions of the Australians as "intolerable" and Ian Smith saying that Martinesz "does not deserve a grilling out there". Hazlewood also appeared to express frustration as the players walked off at the lunch break, speaking to New Zealand batsman Corey Anderson.
"I didn't actually hear anything, I got told that he was saying something to me," Anderson said after play. "But I'm actually deaf in my left ear, so he could have been on my wrong side. Whether he said something or not, I'm not too concerned. You hear a little bit every now and then when you're out there, but you're so focused and consumed by what you do, you end up blocking most of it out."
One factor in the drama appeared to be that the replays shown on the big screen at Hagley Oval, which the players saw at the time, were less clear than those seen by TV viewers at home. Anderson said Williamson had been "unsure" whether he had nicked the ball or not, and that it was sometimes not until the players saw replays in the change-rooms that they understood the process.
"It was one of those ones where it's so close you don't know sometimes whether you've whacked your foot or if you've whacked the ball," Anderson said. "I know from the big screen there's a few bits and pieces that are harder to tell. I know there was one yesterday with Joe Burns that we thought nicked the glove and it was turned down. Once you go back in the sheds and see what has actually happened, it's a lot clearer.
"It's always one of those things. We've been on the end of those where you want a wicket so badly and you want something to happen in the game and it doesn't quite go your way. It's part of it. It's happened before and it'll happen again."
The incident occurred near the end of a session in which Australia had failed to take a wicket, despite a dropped catch, an edge that fell fractionally short of wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, and another lbw review that also showed an inside edge. Jackson Bird, who eventually finished with a five-wicket haul, said frustration had played a part in the response of the Australians.
"We bowled pretty well in the first session and we probably thought it was out," Bird said. "But those 50-50 calls, they either go your way or they don't. So it was probably the frustration of the whole session. We'd bowled pretty well and hadn't got a wicket. We'd been pretty close a couple of times. So you know - it's one of those things. We couldn't quite tell what was going on. It didn't go our way but that's how the game goes sometimes."
However, the Australians were unhappy at the fact that Hazlewood's comment - "who the f*** is the third umpire?" - was broadcast. Stump microphones are not supposed to remain live when players and umpires are conversing.
"Yeah it is a little bit [disappointing]," Bird said. "We're all for having technology in the game, and all the new technology that comes out every year is great and great for the viewers at home. But I don't see why the stump mics need to be broadcast to the whole world. I'm not sure why they were."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale