Referrals cut out the romance

Talk of "a game of inches" has littered sport for years, but with the Super Series expansion to the almost-all-seeing eye of technology the measurement has become as dated as in countries using the metric system. Millimetres must now be the length of choice as cricket's romantic judgment notions of benefit and doubt disappear.

Umpires have been given extended powers to refer any contentious decision to the television official during the tournament, but until today it was like owning a laptop without a power cable. The technology was needed only once in the opening two games, when Simon Katich swiped on Wednesday night and was ruled not to have got an edge. During the Australian innings today it was called on five times for one raised finger and four not outs.

The technology allowed correct answers each time with decisions of precision from handfuls of replays. So far the television umpire's picks have not caused any controversy - Simon Taufel was the spotless official who had an uninterrupted second innings as the World XI fell over - but the process is similar to businesses dumping staff because of bottom lines and not considering loyalty, productivity or contributions to morale.

Logic does not factor in feelings. It was easy to sympathise with Makhaya Ntini when he was denied Mike Hussey's wicket on 65 after his delivery was belted about 80 metres into the hands of Shahid Afridi. As Ntini was celebrating Taufel was asked to check whether it was a no-ball. It was. Ntini's foot was on the line instead of behind it, which was a strictly correct decision by less than a few millimetres.

Cricket's microscopes don't need to look this closely or germs will be found in every corner. Increased camera angles and the enclosed venue have given the series a Big Brother quality of both the Orwell and modern television versions. However, the greater knowledge is giving the on-field umpires less power.

The four other decisions were more technical than mathematical and were easier to accept. Damien Martyn was twice given not out, first to an lbw appeal from Shaun Pollock that was looked at from the bowler's end, side-on and with split screens to decide it was going too high, and then when his bat missed a ball that hit his pad and arm on the way to Kumar Sangakkara. What remained unknown for these calls was which way the umpire was leaning.

Aleem Dar nodded when Daniel Vettori troubled Martyn for a second time before asking Taufel for confirmation of an lbw with the ball angling in and pitching in line with off stump. Shane Watson and Hussey then gained a reprieve each in a 155-run partnership that lifted Australia from the trouble of 148 for 5 to a dominant total. The pair's high-speed, broad-handed display again ruined the World XI's bowlers before Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath brilliantly shut down an under-fire top order.

Backed by the confidence gained from a stint at Hampshire, Watson has shown the quality of an international-style allrounder. He may not be the new Flintoff, but it was appropriate that he received his second Man-of-the-Match award from Simon O'Donnell, a big-hitting one-day allrounder Australia have been wanting to replace for almost 15 years.

After collecting a run-a-ball 66, Watson picked up four wickets, bowled fast enough to strike Shaun Pollock on the helmet and smiled as widely as the roads to his Queensland hometown of Ipswich. The athletic run-out of Virender Sehwag for 37, which was decided by Taufel with what has become a traditional dismissal for referral, effectively ensured a sweat-free victory for Australia and a satisfying 3-0 success.

The most errors came from the World XI this week and they require rebooting before the start of the Super Test in Sydney on Friday. No mistakes came from the technology, but the perfection, like many aspects of this contest, felt artificial.