South Africa v England, 4th Test, Johannesburg January 16, 2010

ECB ask for reinstatement of lost review

The ECB has asked the ICC to reinstate the review that was used up for the controversial appeal against Graeme Smith on the second day at the Wanderers. Daryl Harper, the TV umpire, upheld the on-field decision of 'not out' made by Tony Hill, but England were furious when it emerged he hadn't had the volume turned up to hear the nick.

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, said the board would continue to pursue the matter: "We have grave concerns about how this process was implemented and I will be addressing the issue at the highest levels within ICC during this match.

"The technology wasn't applied as it was meant to be in the pre-series discussions. We were told the volume would be turned up for reviews. Consequently we lost a referral and our other play is impacted by having one less. I think it's thoroughly unsatisfactory and I'm not happy."

England were the only country to vote against the UDRS and Clarke remains especially angry that the same levels of technology, specifically Hotspot, aren't applied globally. "My concern is that this system has to be applied correctly and with the right technology for there to be a worthwhile exercise in attacking the oldest principle of the game that the umpires' decision is final," he said.

"Until the technology is applied correctly we are better off with our oldest method. If the umpire is as deaf as a post and as blind as a bat at least it's the same for both sides. "

Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, wrote to Roshan Mahanama, the ICC match referee in charge of this series, after the second day's play and expressed England's concerns over the review system.

"The ECB has sought further clarification from ICC that there is nothing in the regulations to prevent the ICC chief executive and/or match referee from re-instating the referral to correct the gross error in process," the statement said. "The ECB would like to make clear that the England team management had registered concerns regarding the absence of hotspot for use in the DRS system at a pre-series meeting attended by ICC officials and the match referee.

"The England team management were advised that the protocol for this series would be that the sound on the stump microphone would be turned up on decision review to check for disputed catches.

"In ECB and the England team management's view, the agreed protocol was not implemented and the sound was not turned up on review. As a result a TV replay which indicated that bat had made contact with ball was heard by millions of television viewers but not by the match control team."

The ICC said they would launch a "full and comprehensive investigation" into the incident with Haroon Lorgat adding that the review system was still in a development stagfe. "There is a large amount of controversy, speculation and potentially unfair criticism circulating at present so it is important to establish the exact facts before reaching any final conclusions," he said.

"This is early days for the DRS and so far we are pleased with its effectiveness and the value it can add to the game in support of umpires. However, we have always acknowledged there is room for further improvement in the available technology and this investigation will be conducted in that light so the system becomes even more reliable."

Earlier in the day the ICC came out in defence of Harper saying all the correct protocols had been followed in coming to the decision, and also questioned Andy Flower's version of events after the England coach said he'd been told Harper had forgotten to turn up the volume.

The third day included further controversy for Harper when he overturned a decision against AB de Villiers after Tony Hill had given him out caught at leg slip sweeping at Graeme Swann. The ICC playing conditions state that the third umpire must have "a high degree of confidence" to change an on-field call, but replays didn't appear to confirm one way or the other so, by the ICC's own wording, Hill's decision should have stood.

To make England even more agitated they then used up their final review with an appeal against Mark Boucher. He had been not out lbw and the Hawkeye replays confirmed it should remain an on-field call with the graphics showing the point of impact being marginal. Then, however, moments before lunch, de Villiers got an inside edge off Ryan Sidebottom that was given not out, but England had no reviews left to challenge the call.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo