New Zealand v South Africa, 3rd Test, Wellington, 1st day March 23, 2012

New Zealand 'pretty confident' of Smith dismissal - Bracewell


Doug Bracewell is convinced Graeme Smith's dismissal on day one of the Wellington Test was correct, despite DRS replays casting doubt over whether Smith had edged the ball. Umpire Aleem Dar adjudged that Smith had got an inside edge off Bracewell and was caught behind but Smith reviewed the decision after consultation with his opening partner Alviro Petersen.

Although Hot Spot did not give any indication that contact had been made between bat and ball, with no white mark visible, Billy Doctrove upheld the on-field call. However, ESPNcricinfo understands that a noise heard on the footage of the dismissal came two frames before the ball passed the bat, casting further doubt over the decision.

Despite the uncertainty, South Africa's assistant coach Russell Domingo played down the controversy, saying it was something his camp would "not lose too much sleep over", and will not seek further clarification on.

"The players all know the umpire's decision is final and no matter how much you scream and shout or disagree with it, it is not going to change it," Domingo said. "I think there is a little bit of understanding that the technology is there to eliminate the howler. It wasn't blatantly obvious that he didn't nick the ball."

Smith kept his emotions in check when he was given his marching orders. Although he did shake his head, he did not show any aggressive signs of dissent. "I think he was more disappointed with the stroke he played," Domingo said. "I suppose all batters are unhappy when they get out and will vent some frustration, but it was nothing untoward."

New Zealand remain certain that Smith had edged the ball. "All the boys were pretty confident they heard a noise behind the wicket," Bracewell said. "I saw a little bit of deviation. It was a little bit of a tough one because Hot Spot didn't give much away. It was one of those decisions that was pretty tough to call."

DRS has come under scrutiny twice before in this series. In Dunedin, both Bracewell and Jacques Kallis questioned the legitimacy of ball-tracking. Kallis said "99% of cricketers" were not convinced that ball-tracking was as accurate as officials want them to believe, prompting Virtual Eye inventor Ian Taylor to threaten to withdraw his services from the series.

In Hamilton, Taylor admitted that Virtual Eye had made a mistake in their data capturing with regard to the dismissal of Ross Taylor. The New Zealand captain was struck on the full by a Dale Steyn delivery that Virtual Eye showed would bend back to take out middle and leg. Taylor explained that the predictive path can sometimes be incorrect because of the failure to capture enough data. He urged umpires to overrule the DRS if necessary and make more decisions based on their own discretion.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    see! technology and the third umpire is just a waste in such cases. I think the field umpire(s) should be given a tablet or laptop with the technology to see if they want to clarify the decision rather than have a third person who is not even on the scene to make the decision. I say the same should be done in the case of an lbw. The field umpires should have the chance to review a the replay and change or uphold their decision. For lbws, just have the umpire check for no ball, line, height and its predicted path (if possible) and decide accordingly. No need to have reviews. The video replay in Smith's case was very clear that he did not nick it but I am surprised that he was given out. Change this DRS system please. Give the field umpires a little but more freedom of their opinion and instead of correcting a decision, make a right one by looking at the review like in most other sports.

  • Vikram on March 24, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    gee... a frame before the ball passed the bat? and if it passed, a rocket would have launched that would have sent a satellite into orbit that would prevent all natural disasters? if you want to scrutinise umpires to a hair's breadth, you must be insane! Smith showed the way to other batsmen about what you got to do when these things do not go your way. peace!

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    Maybe it's time Darryl Harper made a comeback. If the umpire can't see a TV monitor under his nose properly, where do they get these people......

  • fhfgdgfg on March 23, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    Mr Aleem Darr needed a coffee and 3rd umpire needed a glasses.

  • Blessing on March 23, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @SafferBob you're right mate, every1 must just allow NZ to enjoy whatever little piece of joy their gonna have. knowing that they are up against it, they need such things to happen in their favor if they want to atleast not loose within three days again. Not much joy is heading the way of NZ in the next few days. Petersen does not look like his going anywhere, JP knows only a big score will do interms of enhancing his chances in the future. SA will post 480, bundle out NZ for a sub 200 score again, ENFORCE the "follow-on" on them, brush them aside for below 200 for the forth time in a row to win by an innings and all of this within the next two days. From a NZ perspective however, they'll be hoping rain continues to hamper the progress of this test match. that way they can be able to drag it to the last day where, even if their chasing a very big second innings score, they can defend for a draw like INDIA did when they visited SA last season. 1-0 won't be that bad for NZ!

  • greig on March 23, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    DRS has been great for the game and needs to stay. The problem is human error in judgement. DRS says Smith was not out, all the New Zealand commentators say Smith was not out. Blake must have been watching another game as he says it's out! There is clear daylight between bat and ball + no ball deviation! noise is before ball passes the bat, but not available to umpires. Pls get ur facts right or watch the highlights

    Anyway DRS has reversed so many poor decisions it has to stay. Interpretation needs to improve.

  • David on March 23, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Here's something interesting: other reports are different to Blake's understanding in that 1. The noise occurred before the ball passed the bat and 2. There was daylight between bat and ball. If wall-eyed NZ commentators can make a comment like that, then I think it likely that it did miss the bat. Just shows how differently it can be seen by different people, so why should the umpires be different...erm. I didn't see it at all so depend on the commentators and the wise comments in these posts, but it doesn't sound good.

  • Salman on March 23, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    DRS = Dar Review System. Case closed. Let's move on and let Kiwis enjoy the wicket. People really need to enjoy the game...can't believe how much attention this stuff gets. There is enough empirical evidence showing how top umpires are very good when compared to DRS. (Even premier league football in UK can't manage goal-line technology due to unknown, influence, etc, or retaining some human interaction necessary... who knows...)

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    Both wickets taken were NOT OUT. Amla's rash shot was off a no-ball - the bowler's foot clearly going over the side crease line. Seems the Kiwis are desperate to win this one. First test match where benefit of the doubt keeps going to the bowling side. Don't worry, when SA bowls, benefit of the doubt will resume back to being with the batsmen. The idea of technology is to prove the batsman is out upon review. If the technology shows this is not the case - it amazes me that a decision can simply be upheld because the bowling side had a good feeling about it. The point of technology being a benefit is mute. Good feelings still rule the roost...

  • Deon on March 23, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    @biggyd - Clearly you don't play cricket yourself. Or maybe you do but bat like Crhis Martin.

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