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Firdose Moonda in Wellington
March 23, 2012
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 correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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