New Zealand v Australia, 1st Test, Wellington, 3rd day March 21, 2010

Big screen referrals and desperate ducks

No ball, no wicket

Ryan Harris was convinced he had Brendon McCullum lbw for a third-ball duck early in the day as New Zealand struggled in their first innings. Ian Gould agreed and gave McCullum out, but an instant challenge came from the batsman. It turned out to be a good one as the replays showed Harris had over-stepped and the delivery became a no-ball. It looked like Martin Guptill, the non-striker, was keeping a close eye on Harris' foot and he had every reason to. On the first day, Harris had picked up his first Test wicket when he had Tim McIntosh caught at gully, and replays suggested that delivery was also a no-ball. That one wasn't picked up.

Reviewing the review

Reviews are often controversial and part of the drama in the past has arisen because the players and umpires aren't shown the replays and therefore don't know what the third umpire has seen. That has changed at the Basin Reserve, where the entire review process is broadcast on the electronic scoreboard just as it is to TV viewers at home. It made for an interesting outcome when Tim Southee was given caught behind to end New Zealand's first innings, challenged the decision, and waited several minutes for the result. The players and umpires watched intently at the big screen as every possible angle was analysed, the fans began a slow hand-clap and although it looked like there might have been daylight between bat and ball, the decision was eventually upheld.

A Tuff match continues

Daryl Tuffey hasn't taken a Test wicket against Australia in ten years and his game became even worse when he was run out without scoring in the first innings. Tuffey took off for a quick single and appeared to have made his ground when Nathan Hauritz managed a direct hit at the bowler's end. Asad Rauf was convinced he was in and even fixed the stumps before belatedly deciding to check with Aleem Dar upstairs. The replay showed that Tuffey might have been over the line but lazily had not grounded his bat, in a piece of running that would have had under-13 coaches fuming. The New Zealand coach agreed. "That's schoolboy stuff, really," Mark Greatbatch said. "He's disappointed and hopefully he'll learn from it. You don't tend to do those things more than once."

A golden debut
Brent Arnel enjoyed the perfect start to his Test career on the first day when he grabbed a wicket in his first over. The notable feats continued on the third day when he edged to slip from his first ball. It is a dubious honour to be added to the list of ducks on debut, especially golden ducks. Arnel was the first New Zealander to score a golden duck in the first innings of his first Test since James Franklin nine years ago. Franklin went one better - he was also out for 0 in the second innings.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on March 22, 2010, 23:57 GMT

    TV coverage later showed the "snickometer" reading, which clearly showed that there was no sound when the ball passed the bat - though there was a muffled sound a short time later (presumably a creaky bat handle). The later sound likely convinced the on-filed umpire that there had been an edge. According to the commentators, this snickometer reading was not available for the referral. Surely if a referral system is to be as foolproof as possible it needs to make use of whatever evidence is available - including things like snicko. It may well have been of immense use in this case.

    Unfortunately, the rules on which a decision can be overturned in favour of a batsman are flawed. Evidence needs to be shown that the batsman did not hit the ball. This is what scientists call trying to prove the null hypothesis, something which is impossible, since no amount of evidence which fails to show the bat making contact with the ball can ever provide conclusive proof that there was no contact.

  • shalal on March 22, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    The whole point of referral should be that it takes away the aspect of interpretation by an umpire. Currently the third umpire 'interprets' it according to some very silly ICC recommendations. It is heavily biased towards the original decision. Yes it has still improved decision making but can be further improved if technology and technology alone is allowed to make the decision. Maybe Hawkeye and technology is not completely accurate but it is a hell of a lot more accurate than the visual assessment of most mortals! When millions around the globe know that Southee was not out but the scorecard suggests he was , whatever method of umpiring we currently have, can be further refined.

  • Michael on March 21, 2010, 23:44 GMT

    Not sure why the referal system is getting bagged out. It has overturned several incorrect decisions in the match for both teams, and has not overturned any correct ones. The Southee one would have still been out without UDRS, but several other wrong decisions would have stood. Can't really see any downside to the system. The accuracy of the decisions has only gone up in this match because of it, why is that a bad thing?

  • param on March 21, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    southee dismissal reminded me of kemar roach's in perth when the aussies won by a margin of 35 runs...funny how the good /higher ranked teams gets the umpires decision in their favour??A definite bias against weaker teams...

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2010, 11:36 GMT

    no balls shud be checked by the 3rd umpire every delivery it doesnt even delay play then...

  • Peter on March 21, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    The Southee referral was a joke. He knew he didn't hit it and referred it before the umpire had even finished raising his finger. Then the replays showed he didn't hit it. Hotspot showed nothing. Yet he was still given out, it wasnt even close and i'm as one eyed Australian as they come. The Kiwis have enough on their plate without having to deal with the umpires too. Luckily McCullum had Gupti therel to play the role of umpire or else he would have suffered a howler also.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    referralas should be widely used in the shorter forms of the game as well which will help the longer form for sure...

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