New Zealand unhappy over 'inconsistent' referrals
New Zealand's tension on a day when they lost 11 wickets spilled into frustration with the umpire decision review system and the captain Daniel Vettori was spotted heading to the match referee's room after Australia enforced the follow-on. Their first innings ended when Tim Southee's caught-behind dismissal was upheld, despite replays failing to confirm if there was an edge.
Southee felt he had not hit the ball but the UDRS is designed only to overturn blatantly wrong calls, and the lack of hard evidence one way or another meant the on-field decision remained. The coach Mark Greatbatch was defensive when asked if Vettori had spoken to the match referee Javagal Srinath, initially denying it before telling a New Zealand journalist who pressed the issue in a heated tete-a-tete that "you obviously knew that he went there, so why did you ask the question?"
"It would be fair to say with the system at the moment it is a little bit inconsistent," Greatbatch said eventually. "We just asked the question whether the system in place at the moment is consistent. The match referee said yes, so [we'll] get on with it."
Earlier in the match, Tim McIntosh had been caught off a no-ball that was not picked up by the on-field umpire and Brendon McCullum was also lbw off an over-step, which was noticed when he asked for a referral. Despite New Zealand's concerns over the review system, Greatbatch was even more displeased with his batsmen.
They lost their last six first-innings wickets for 45 in the morning, including an ugly top-edged pull from McCullum, a lazy run-out in which Daryl Tuffey failed to ground his bat, and four catches behind the stumps. Greatbatch said Tuffey's run-out was "schoolboy stuff" and the general batting effort was disappointing.
"We talked about judging line well and we haven't judged line that well in this game," he said. "We know they hit the deck hard and a lot of the balls aren't actually hitting the stumps. It's just a matter of judging that line well so you soak up that pressure. They've bowled very good areas for a long period of time and we haven't been able to be positive enough to break those shackles."
The only positive to come out of the day for New Zealand was McIntosh's attritional 83 in the second innings, a 273-minute effort that featured excellent concentration. McIntosh fell late in the day when he prodded to short leg off Nathan Hauritz and his departure left them at 187 for 5 at stumps, still trailing by 115 with two days to play.
"He's that type of player, he focuses well, he watches each ball, he relaxes in between," Greatbatch said of McIntosh. "It would be nice to see him keep going but he batted nearly five hours and if two or three other guys did that we'd still be well in the Test match. [He has] great focus and he learns quick. He's battled hard against a bloody good attack."
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo