Pakistan v England, 3rd Test, Dubai, 1st day February 3, 2012

More head-scratching over DRS

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the third Test in Dubai
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Head-scratching of the day
The decision to overturn the ruling of on-field umpire, Simon Taufel, and give Mohammad Hafeez out lbw to Stuart Broad will be used by opponents of the DRS system as an example of its ills. While ball-tracking technology showed the delivery going on to hit the stumps, there was also the suggestion of an inside edge from Hot Spot. The third umpire, Shavir Tarapore, either did not see the spot - and it was tiny - or did not think the evidence was sufficient to warrant incorporating into his decision. But in essence it means Tarapore overruled Taufel - something that should only occur if the on-field umpire has demonstrably made a clear mistake. Taufel, it seems, made the right decision - quite possibly on the basis that Hafeez hit the ball - only for it to be overruled. So is the DRS flawed? Or is the problem with the individuals using it?

Shot of the day
In a low-scoring game, Asad Shafiq once again stood out while his more experienced team-mates struggled. Displaying good judgement about which balls to attack and which to defend, he contributed 45 of Pakistan's 99 and hit three of the seven boundaries they managed. One shot stood out: a flowing pull off James Anderson after the bowler dragged the ball just a little bit short. It was a high-quality stroke from a young man who appears to be growing in stature with every outing.

Catch of the day
Adnan Akmal, diving in front of first slip, clung on to a tough chance offered when Alastair Cook followed one angled across him from Umar Gul. While doubts about the consistency of Akmal's batting remain, he has demonstrated in this series he is a reliable keeper. After a few years in which Pakistan have been plagued by dropped chances, such a quality should not be undervalued.

Mistake of the day
For a man who hates giving his wicket away, Jonathan Trott's failure to call for a review when he was adjudged lbw by umpire Steve Davis was puzzling. Had he reviewed it, Trott would have been reprieved as replays showed the ball missing the stumps down the leg side. Perhaps what the dismissal illustrates more than anything is how far across to the off side Trott had fallen and, once that happens, how poor his balance can become.

Let-off of the day
The score was 77 for four when Andrew Strauss, on 35, aimed a sweep at Abdur Rehman. Pakistan appealed but not with much enthusiasm. They declined the opportunity to call for a review. Had they done so, Strauss would have been given out. The ball struck him in line and the ball-tracking technology showed it would have gone on to hit middle stump. It might yet prove to be a key moment in what appears to be another low-scoring Test.

Stat of the day
Saeed Ajmal has now sent down 32 balls to Ian Bell in this series and dismissed him four times for the cost of just 12 runs. On each occasion, it has been Ajmal's doosra that has inflicted the damage. Bell may count himself a little unfortunate on this occasion: the ball bounced off the gloves of Adnan Akmal onto the stumps. Had it been taken cleanly, it is unlikely that Bell would have been stumped. But the statistics do not lie: Ajmal's dominance of Bell is overwhelming.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BUTT_093 on February 4, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    There is only one problem with the DRS that I can confidently identify: the huge amount of red tape that surrounds the rules governing its use. The rules should be less black and white and the third umpire given more authority to take decisions LOGICALLY based of course on the laws of the game once the decision has been referred to them. Rules stipulating that (a) more than half of the ball needs to be hitting the stumps (b) so-called conclusive evidence needed to overturn a decision (which at times seems to defy all cricketing logic and reason); need to be abolished. The bureaucratic hegemony that is the ICC needs to take logical steps while enforcing the use of the DRS by: GIVING MORE DECISION MAKING POWERS TO THE ON-FIELD (AND OFF-FIELD) UMPIRES AND TAKE POWER AWAY FROM TECHNOLOGY. That would be my solution. Plain and simple.

  • shahbazhussain on February 4, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Well this is a real TEST series I have ever seen in my life. top teams in world cricket are fighting for pride and see this.. how this is coming along. There is no doubt England are good side. They are and Pakistan are also not letting any chance go. This is really a true passion of cricket. I did not like Test matches in last decade coz it was so boring. Now I see the TEST cricket is more exciting than any other format. I suggest ICC to remove T20s from the world cricket to make the TEST cricket live longer.

  • dummy4fb on February 4, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    I like the DRS but i don't like this On Field Call and off field call...

  • Leggie on February 4, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    "will be used by opponents of the DRS system as an example of its ills"... Couldn't help but chuckle reading this. One point worth noting is the amount of discussion within the English ranks on DRS and how it is likely to 'improve" over a period of time. That fundamentally says that those who support DRS still believe that this is a work in progress technology. I wonder what their stance would be "now" if they had not so vehemently opposed countries that do not support DRS.

  • donda on February 4, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    DRS is the winner in this series. Neither pakistan nor england deserve this series win. DRS is ultimate technology, i bet bradman would never have more than 50 average if DRS was used in his time.

    DRS is tragedy for test cricket and it will destroy test cricket for once and all.

    What a tragedy.

    It's so simple, you miss DRS win. What a technology. Even you hit, DRS gives out

  • waterbuffalo on February 4, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    Bring back the Benefit of the doubt to the batsmen, no point if umpires are calling out all the time, so their on field decisions stand, but when an umpire says not out, the third umpire decides to be the "Bigger" Umpire. Either way it is wrong. If Hot spot does not work, use Snickometer.

  • Punters_Mate on February 4, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    A bit of tweaking will fix the DRS usage and confusion issues. my suggestion is to as they say in baseball; tighten the strike zone. KP's LBW is case in point; when referred Hawkeye predicted about a millimetre of the ball in contact with the very top of the leg stump and the commentators commended Taufel on getting it right. What rubbish; all the parties were involved in guesswork. The human eye is incapable of detecting that fine a detail and certainly not at 20 plus metres. I would be far more comfortable with decisions being overturned when the predictive path indicates at least half the ball hitting the stumps not this coat of varnish stuff. Taufel has had a couple of decisions overturned and statistically at least some will judge his performance on the basis of original decisions upheld. Umpires must think DRS is a lottery as do the players.

  • m0se on February 4, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    I don't get why the rules aren't changed so that LBWs can be referred to the 3rd umpire by the on-field umpire. DRS was meant to remove howlers not to give more LBWs. Azhar Ali's nick behind was the perfect use of DRS while all the other use of DRS was used for querying LBWs which shouldn't be tied to DRS.

  • RodStark on February 4, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    How would it be if on-field umpires only ruled "out" if they were sure--i.e., give the traditional doubt in fvor of the batsman, and then DRS only overturned it if it was defintely wrong?

  • RogerC on February 4, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    In spite of all the hate people have on BCCI for their clout on world cricket, I still think their view on DRS is very correct. It is difficult for technology to predict the path of a ball better than on-screen umpire. On the field, conditions change all the time. The heat, the wind direction, the ball shape, the pitch spot where the ball lands - none of these are constant for each delivery. It is much better to trust a trained international umpire who is closest to point of action than a pre-programmed computer technology like DRS.

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