South Africa v England, 1st Test, Centurion, 3rd day December 18, 2009

England fume at delayed review


The series turned feisty on the third day at Centurion Park, when England's No. 8, Stuart Broad, was involved in an ugly on-field exchange with the umpires after being given out lbw following a delayed review from the South Africans.

England have not enjoyed much benefit from the system's use in this match and Broad's anger stemmed from the length of time it took for JP Duminy, the bowler, and the captain, Graeme Smith, to call for the opinion of the TV umpire. "Because of the amount of time that the decision took, we just asked the umpires," said Graeme Swann, who was Broad's partner at the time. "We didn't know out in the middle how much time was allowed."

ICC guidelines clearly state that the decision has to be made swiftly. "The total time elapsed between the ball becoming dead and the review request being made should be no more than a few seconds," the ruling reads. "If the umpires believe that a request has not been made sufficiently promptly, they may at their discretion decline to review the decision."

About 35 seconds elapsed before the third umpire was called in, and when replays showed the ball hitting the stumps, Broad was given out. Before walking off he marched over to Aleem Dar and Steve Davis to remonstrate and was clearly unhappy as he left the field. An England spokesman confirmed they will be taking up their concerns about the delay with match referee Roshan Mahanama, but do not expect Broad to face censure.

Initially there was some suggestion that the South Africans had received a signal from the dressing room but this was played down by both sides. "They [the umpires] said they hadn't seen any signal from the dressing room, so the decision has to stand - and when you've seen the replay it was out, so perhaps the review system does work sometimes," Swann said.

"With TV cameras all round the ground, someone has probably picked up something somewhere," he added. "But as far as the guys in the middle and the team are concerned, we're certainly not pointing the finger at South Africa, and saying 'you definitely did it'. We're just saying that, with the amount of time, there was certainly ample opportunity for maybe a message to get out."

The ICC's ruling on off-field input is very clear. "If the umpires believe that the captain or batsman has received direct or indirect input emanating other than from the players on the field, then they may at their discretion decline the request for a Player Review. In particular, signals from the dressing room must not be given."

Paul Harris confirmed he hadn't seen anything come from his dressing room during the delay between the appeal and the review being called. "By the time I got there from the boundary I think AB de Villiers had said to Graeme that we might as well take it," he said. "I think at one stage Biff [Graeme Smith] wasn't going to take it and changed his mind. As far as I'm concerned there was no message from the changing room, I don't think our coaching staff would do that, as it isn't in the spirit of the game. It was just a late decision from Graeme."

The UDRS has been the centre of attention during this Test. The most controversial decision was when England were convinced they had AB de Villiers caught-behind in the first innings, but replays were inconclusive, although it has worked well in all the other cases it has been used. Still, England clearly aren't won over just yet.

"Certainly the system has a few irregularities that need ironing out quickly if it's going to be a lasting method for technology to be used in Test cricket," Swann said. "We've seen the issues that need sorting in this game. We hope they'll be sorted ASAP."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • varun on December 19, 2009, 16:31 GMT

    I have NOT been watching the england-sa test on tv...but LBW's are likely to be the most contentious when referred. For lbw referalls the third umpire should be allowed to OVERRULE the decision given as OUT by the onfield umpires ONLY if he spots ANY ONE of the below three occurances 1. the ball was a no-ball (as is the case with all referalls) 2. the ball pitched outside the leg stump 3. the ball hit the bat before hitting the pad During the India test series in Sri Lanka the third umpire had the hawk eye projection only till the batting crease/till the impact point of the ball with the pad - he did not get to see the projection whether it would go on to hit the stumps (not sure if it is still the case in this series). Sachin especially was not convinced with the camera angles when it came to judging LBW referalls. So it would make sense to curtail the 3rd umpire's powers in case of LBW's to just verifying any of the above 3 occurances and nothing more.

  • pubudu on December 19, 2009, 15:04 GMT

    Broad is just complaining that he was given out to a ball when he was really out. and i think it was the correct decision and broad i think don't have point here rather than asking the umpires to forget some bad on-field decision. Usually the cheaters don't like referrals and especially the teams who have over the years enjoyed some soft corner in bad umpiring.

  • andrews on December 19, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    Good to see you are publishing comments that coincide with your view. Broad was plumb. He was sent rightly on his way. End of story. The previous day he had complained and gesticulated about not being given an lbw that was just a stupid appeal. Spoilt brat. Daddy needs to sort him out.

  • M on December 19, 2009, 13:12 GMT

    There are going to be a lot of LBW decisions going in favor of the bowling team with the review system and that is the reason most batsmen are not in favor of it. Now with Stuart Broad remonstrating, I wonder if Chris Broad had been match referee for this game, would he have charged his son for failing to live up to the spirit of the game.

  • Sam on December 19, 2009, 11:21 GMT

    It constantly boggles my mind that so many people were content for so long with the state of adjudication in cricket when so much technology was readily available, let alone those who want to go back to that sorry state of affairs. The simple fact of the matter is that it is beyond human capability to make correct umpiring decisions a reasonable percentage of the time. We figured this out long ago with run out decisions, and I don't see anyone suggesting we remove the third umpire from the game for those.

  • Arvind on December 19, 2009, 10:17 GMT

    @ The_Wog: ... and don't forget players paying scant respect to the law or the spirit of the game in that Sydney Test. Ponting's "I SAID OUT" gesture to the umpire, Michael Clarke claiming a grassed catch, Symonds openly declaring that the umpire declaring him not out was wrong. Back to the point, the umpires do act like morons sometimes. Remember the last session of the final Ashes Test of 2005, or the final of the 2007 World Cup. I wonder why they behave as if somebody is going to kill them if they use their common sense.

  • Jon on December 19, 2009, 10:08 GMT

    If I was an umpire (and that goes for everyone of us here on this blog), and I was under the scrutiny of super slow motions, heat whatevers and so forth, I would want to be able to defend myself with the same technology I am being judged by! That is only fair, don't you think? I would hate to slammed in the press and on blogs like this for making bad decisions when the public and critics are using technology, and I am only using the naked eye in a split second. You can't have it both ways. I say, if you don't like umpires using the technology, then do away with it completely during the test. Don't show the replays to the public, don't use super slow camera's and then let's all judge from the same page. Come on guys, 30 seconds in a days play is nothing. In a few tests this will all be sorted out. Give it a chance to come right. All sport is successfully using technology, or do you think we should still be playing cricket in coats and ties?

  • Daniel on December 19, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    I've never heard Graeme Swann that reserved in an interview! Very careful about what he said, but it's clear the England team think there was a signal. I can't believe not one camera has picked up the SA dressing room. The fact it happened 35 seconds later, when the rules clearly state a few seconds, shows that no-one - including umpires - truly understand the review system

  • The on December 19, 2009, 7:39 GMT

    It's a terrible system - it just happens to be the best one we've got. Remember what happened before? We had the ill-tempered Sydney test, culminating in umpires being "rested" and players attacking each other racially. Does anyone seriously suggest we want to go back to that??

  • Ronald on December 19, 2009, 7:08 GMT

    There is ambiguity and NO clarity on this one with the ICC. The ICC chose the wording of a "few seconds" and this is where the dilemma lays. Stipulate clearly the timeframe and do not remain vague with the "few seconds" terminology as this is left open to own interpretation. An example is the rule where umpires have 30 seconds to make a decision, simple and clearly stated.

    So sorry Mr. Swann but the rules are definitely NOT clear on this one!

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