New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Christchurch, 4th day February 23, 2016

Hazlewood, Smith in umpiring controversy


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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris on February 25, 2016, 8:17 GMT

    This was disgraceful behaviour by the Ozzies. Disregarding all other aspects, remember that the batsman gets the benefit of the doubt, and there clearly was doubt. Secondly, harranguing the on-field umpire (who in any event was not responsible for the replay decision) sets a TERRIBLE example to young players. Please do not let cricket go the way of football with frequent abuse of officials. Smith should have remonstrated with Halewood, not the umpires!

  • Terence on February 25, 2016, 6:03 GMT

    Shockvalue, I notice you failed to mention any other of my points, hence the white mark already on the bottom of the bat( don't tell me you could not see that) & also the fact the ball was hitting middle & leg. If you are going to try & score points bring all your cards to the table.

  • N on February 25, 2016, 0:23 GMT

    The Australians should always be forgiven for any foul language and obscenity, as their Board President once said, they are aggressive and have a different 'culture'. This fine of a percentage of fee is too cruel to the players, and it has never stopped anyone. As a matter of fact the fines level the score and free players for more 'cultural aggression.'

  • Ashok on February 24, 2016, 19:37 GMT

    The Aussie Cricketers are reputed for sledging & bad Language. Hence there is no need to be shocked by Hazelwood's 4-lettered swear! It reflects badly on his upbringing as of many Aussie Cricketers who bully the batsmen all the time with their most obscene sledging. Unless the penalties are more severe than just 15% of match fee, things will not change in the Aussie camp.

  • David on February 24, 2016, 18:50 GMT

    So the fact that the stump mic "shouldn't have been on" makes it acceptable to swear at an umpire does it? 15% fine is an absolute disgrace when you consider players are charged something similar for a slow over rate after a few repeat offences. Hazlewood should've been handed a 50% and a warning - this is where the yellow card/red card thing in cricket would be a great thing. Another offence Josh and you're banned for the next test match. The Australians especially think it is acceptable to completely disrespect the game and those that are involved in it on a regular basis and nothing worth mentioning ever gets done about it. Man up ICC

  •   Arjun Calidas on February 24, 2016, 17:12 GMT

    How about that.. Cricketers (Australian) not respecting the umpire decision despite DRS.. And here we were worried about DRS taking away the relevance of umpires from the game..

  • Bosh on February 24, 2016, 12:08 GMT

    @TAZTIGERS clear air between bat & ball?? You surely must have viewed something else..

  •   Daine Snyders on February 24, 2016, 11:04 GMT

    I think that it is ridiculous that the fine was so low. also, that Smith wasn't fined.

    The complete disregard that they showed for the on field and third umpires is a travesty! They have brought their team into disrepute.

    I understand Bird's comments, but it is unacceptable for anyone to question the decision. put your report in at the end of the game. Like rugby, it won't change the result, but at least the issue is dealt with in the correct manner and not having a show on the field which takes away from the enjoyment of the game. This is being talked about more than Australia's good progress in this match. When anything takes away from the ACTUAL focus of a match, the players should be suspended - even if the player is the captain.

    Can't wait to see how yellow and red cards work in cricket!

  • Richard on February 24, 2016, 9:42 GMT

    Nothing has changed with Australia, then?

  • Terence on February 24, 2016, 9:36 GMT

    I viewed the LBW decision Mark & while Smith & Hazelwood might have gone to far this would not have happened if the 3rd umpire had made the right decision in the first place. The white spot was already on the bottom of the bat before the ball hit & secondly the ball was definitely hitting in line with the leg & if not middle & leg stumps. There was also clear air between bat & ball. I think there is a problem now & getting progressively worse with the 3rd umpire with him being judge & executioner. Maybe there needs to be 2 reviewing each decision, just a suggestion.

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