Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 1st day December 9, 2007

Vaughan critical of Pietersen decision

Cricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen watches the big screen after being given out caught in the slips © AFP

Michael Vaughan says the third umpire should have been consulted over the controversial catch that ended Kevin Pietersen's innings on the opening day of the second Test in Colombo.

Pietersen edged his fifth delivery low to slip where Chamara Silva dived to his left and parried the ball up behind him allowing Kumar Sangakkara to hold the rebound. There was no doubt about Sangakkara's catch, but the problems arose around Silva's initial take with replays showing the ball may have been grounded.

When the catch was completed Pietersen stood his ground as Daryl Harper and Aleem Dar, the umpires, conferred before Harper, at the bowler's end, gave the decision. Pietersen was halfway off the field when he saw the dismissal on the big screen and halted, but the decision couldn't be overturned.

"I just think common sense has to prevail in those instances when you're not 100% sure," said Vaughan. "The technology's available and you really should use it. It's disappointing and I think the replays have proven it did touch the ground, but let's move on. We're five-down and we've got to get as many runs as possible tomorrow to put them under pressure."

Pietersen was involved in a similar incident earlier this year during the opening Test against India at Lord's. On that occasion he edged Zaheer Khan low to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who claimed the catch, and Pietersen was given out. However, when the replay came up on the big screen Pietersen waited as the square-leg umpire intervened. The decision was overturned and Pietersen continued his innings.

"We had a similar instance of that at Lord's when Kevin was given out, they saw the screen and they [the umpires] changed their opinion," added Vaughan. "It always seems to be Kev out there. Common sense should have prevailed and I'm sure the umpires will feel exactly that way now."

The difference between the two incidents is that at Lord's there wasn't an original agreement between the umpires on Dhoni's catch, it was given immediately by Simon Taufel. However, in Colombo the umpires conferred before deciding Pietersen was out and the laws state that the third official can only be used if the view of the on-field umpires is obstructed.

What is more, criticism has been levelled at the manner in which Pietersen stood his ground, and then even began making his way back to the crease in clear dispute with the umpire's decision. "It doesn't look good, but what would you do?" said Vaughan. "We're talking about high-level sport here. The guy was given out but he says he clearly saw the ball touch the ground, and I guess he's been proven correct. The non-striker thought it had to, and they are within their rights to ask. The technology's there to make sure, so why not use it?"

It was not the only rough decision that derailed England's progress. The mainstay of their innings, Alastair Cook, was given out lbw late in the day for 81, despite replays showing that Lasith Malinga's delivery would have missed the stumps. Vaughan, however, felt that decision was an entirely separate issue, because there is no provision for lbws to be referred to the third umpire. "Those decisions happen, and I don't have any problem with them," he said. "What I'm saying is let common sense prevail, if the technology's there to use. It's pretty simple."

Sri Lanka's coach, Trevor Bayliss, admitted that his side might have got lucky with the decision, but believed that such things even themselves out over time. "In cricket that's the way it goes," he said. "By the eye the umpire gave it out, but if it [had gone] to the TV, it's probably one of those dismissals that's not out. It was too close to tell. But everyone gets luck - the good players are those who take advantage of their luck.

"It's not as if it's a real clear picture," said Bayliss. "Chamara was adamant he got a hard hit on the fingers, and from his point of view that whack left his fingers squashed between the ground and the ball. On the replays there's obviously a little bit of grass involved, but does that mean it's five or six pieces of grass? The umpire gave it out, and he thought it was out."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sairam on December 10, 2007, 7:08 GMT

    These things have been happening for Donkeys years and really nothing has been done about it. If a decision has been given as out and in fact it is not out,then there must naturally have been a doubt in the umpires mind. The umpire can be termed as biased if he is sure in the above circumstance. It is all too easy for some one to say it evens out in the end, but it is not so. The morale of the team often gets affected and it changes the course of the game and series. It should be understood that the umpires are not beyond reproach,two or three crazy decisions can change the course of the match. If players can involve in match fixing so can the umpires. I beleive there should be a fool proof technology for LBW, No Balls,dubious catches and every other aspect of the game so that the spirit and fairness of the game is not mortgaged to human errors wantonly or otherwise.

  • Gavin on December 10, 2007, 5:47 GMT

    Its not the fact it was that one decision, it was the fact that we have not had any decisions go in our favour e.g. Alsitair Cooks LBW, Sidebottom at Kandy lbw, Kevin Pietersen 'caught' by silva and sangakkara. Its not Sri Lankas fault the ICC have appointed inept umpires that are not really up to international standards, the majority of good umpires in England do not want to be away from their families e.g. Jeremy Lloyds and Peter Willey. I am not sure whehter the better umpires in othr countries are the same?

  • masum on December 10, 2007, 4:55 GMT

    Vauhgan is correct when he suggests the umpires should take advantage of technology when it is available. When the 1st umpires needs to consult the 2nd umpire it is obvious he is in doubts. Why don't go to the 3rd umpire to dispel the doubts ?

  • Upali on December 10, 2007, 4:48 GMT

    Standard of umpiring deteriorating fast. The Technology,a strong tool, widely used in many crucial applications with high accuracy, could have been used by the umpires in this instance too. Otherwise benefit of the doubt should have been given to the batsman. Umpires, please don't be shy to call for technology when in doubts.

  • Dishan on December 10, 2007, 3:28 GMT

    Yes voughan could be right but the law say that "if the umpires are not sure they should confir with the third umpire", may be they were sure that chamara took a clean catch in the first instence.besides as professional cricketers I don't understant why they(English)can't take as a part of the game further when Kumar Sangakara was given out at Hobart on 192 and having the oppetunity to take his team to a series leveling win under tough circumstances both Sangakara and Mahela never complained why can't the English take a leaf out of the srilankans book and keep their mouths shut.

  • Debashish on December 10, 2007, 3:28 GMT

    Poms do seem to make a fuss about everything. While Vaughan brazenly quoted from the Dhoni incident, did he count how many times Tendulkar was given out when he clearly wasnt. Understood that not all decisions are challengable under ICC rules (wonder why?) but umpires make decisions and players have to take it - right or wrong. Stop whining and move on.

  • Chanaka on December 10, 2007, 3:22 GMT

    The manner in which Kevin Peitersen was given out was bad.It is time the ICC gave each team a limited number of challenges similar to what is done at some Tennis tournaments. This will help to prevent a lot of heartburn amongst players and also reduce the number of bad decisions.

  • Anand on December 10, 2007, 2:08 GMT

    Feel for Kevin Pietersen and that he was probably undone by a wrong call. Clearly technology should be used and the law that the umpires can only call for the 3rd umpire if their view is obstructed makes no sense.

    However, TOTALLY DISAGREE with Kevin Pietersen standing his ground after an umpire decision asking him to march back and getting away without a reprimand. Rules need to apply uniformly to everyone. Recently, in one of the India-Pak ODIs, Yuvraj Singh was given caught behind even though the ball came off his shoulder, a very crucial juncture of the game, Yuvraj expressed his frustration by standing his ground gazing at the umpire and got fined by the match refree.

    There are many other instances where Indian players have been fined because they looked at the giant screen after a decision against them. Can't believe Vaughan comments baout players having the rights to ask (SINCE WHEN?)and cricket being a high level sport. What're you on skipper?

  • Wipula on December 10, 2007, 1:14 GMT

    Sometimes umpires make poor decisions too. You got to accept them all. Sanga was on 192 but he respected the umpire's wrong judgment. Match referee should fine on him for arguing for an out, if Cricket is a gentlemen's game then he should fine. Is it only for white players can ask, argue or comment on outs? Cricket should be equal to every nation and the rules are for every one. Fortunately the decision was made by DJ Harper, otherwise if it would have been a Sri Lankan umpire then the scenario would have been different issue.

  • arun on December 10, 2007, 0:42 GMT

    The Poms have made an art form of complaining about umpire's decisions. Especially contesting close catches. The technology and camera angles invariably create doubt and 95% of such catches are given Not Out on the principle that the benefit of doubt always goes to the batsman. To avoid this you need everal cameras close to the ground.

    Sunil Gavaskar when comentating has always railed aginst Indian batsmen for accepting the fielder's word instead of standing their ground. This is in sharp contrast to their English counterpart who now want to come back after being out. Why hasn't Pietersen been fined for showing dissent? And what about action against Vaughan for brining the game into disrepute by his comments.

    Vaughan would earn a little sympathy if he were to recall a batsman after watching a live replay instead of applauding his batsmen for walking back to the crease. Thing Ganguly and Tendulkar on the last tour.

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