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April 3, 2006
The controversy over catches continued to haunt the third Test between South Africa and Australia after Brett Lee was ruled not out even when Boeta Dippenaar claimed a catch.
Lee, at 45, nicked Shaun Pollock to Dippenaar in the slips, who dived towards the ball, cupped the ball with his fingers, as the television replays later confirmed, and appealed for a catch. Lee, however, didn't budge from the crease and the umpires - Steve Bucknor and Tony Hill - ruled him not out. Lee, who went on to add a valuable 19 runs, was subsequently booed by the crowd.
"It was disappointing. I thought I had a wicket in the bag," said Pollock. "Boeta was convinced he had caught it. Tony [Hill] consulted with Steve [Bucknor], who said he was unsighted, so it was referred back to Tony and he said he heard two noises. "If technology doesn't help with decisions, the batsmen must get the advantage." The rules state that a referral to the third umpire is not allowed unless both umpires are unsighted.
This incident followed another controversial decision on the opening day, involving Matthew Hayden and Jacques Rudolph. Rudolph, on 25, didn't walk after Hayden claimed a catch - television replays were inconclusive, but the umpires ruled Rudolph out. Hayden was involved in another incident in the first Test. Andrew Hall was convinced he had taken the catch cleanly but Hayden stood his crease and the umpires concurred with him.
Ian Bishop, the former West Indies fast bowler and commentator, felt that the issue could be resolved if a player's word is respected. "I think we must trust the players," Bishop told News24.com."If the fielder says he's taken the catch, the batsman must accept his word. The problem is that the present system isn't working. Players, even in the same team, don't react the same. Adam Gilchrist walked in Cape Town [first Test], while Hayden stood."
Geoff Lawson, the former Australian fast bowler, agreed with Bishop and said he believed the players should accept their opponents' word. "Australia tried to take the lead with this type of situation," Lawson said. "The last time the Test captains met, [Ricky] Ponting, suggested that the word of the fielding side's captain should be sufficient, but the other captains disagreed."
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