Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 2nd day January 4, 2011

No-balls hurt Australia


Mitchell Johnson wants umpires to call no-balls immediately after Australia were the victims for the second consecutive Test when a front-foot decision was referred by an official. Michael Beer was celebrating Alastair Cook as his first Test wicket when Billy Bowden asked for - and then received - confirmation that the debutant spinner had over-stepped.

"If the umpires know it's a no-ball I think they should call it, instead of waiting to call it," Johnson said. Bowden had a hunch Beer had gone over but he waited for the catch to be taken at mid-on before requesting a replay.

"Everyone's going to have different opinions on it," Johnson said. "I suppose it's not a bad thing, but it can be frustrating. I suppose you've just got to get your foot behind the line."

Johnson was the one who transgressed last week when Matt Prior edged on 5 at the MCG before making the hosts pay by finishing with 85. Cook was 46 when he miscued today and was unbeaten on 61 at stumps.

It was a tough entry to the elite level for Beer, who bowled steadily during his nine overs, and his team-mates made an effort to cheer him up. What it shows is that Beer has learned one of the attack's bad habits very quickly. The Australians have always struggled with no-balls and it is common practice for them to go over the line by a long way at training.

"We always have this argument between batters and bowlers," Johnson said. "We always try to find a way to get behind the line. We all try and do it. Whether you feel enclosed with the nets being there, I don't know what it is. I still bowl half a foot over in the nets but I don't know how we're going to fix that."

James Anderson said the no-ball referrals represented "good cricket" because the right decision was made. "I think they should do it more often, I don't think they use it enough," he said. "A no-ball is a no-ball. You should get the correct decision when he's bowled one."

England's approach to over-stepping with David Saker, the bowling coach, is much more meticulous than Australia's sloppy method under Troy Cooley. "We think it's a very important part of our job to stay behind the line - even more so in one-day cricket," Anderson said."We try and practise it in the nets, and I hope we can replicate that out there."

The practice certainly seems to be working, as England have bowled just seven no-balls in the series, while Australia's tally stands at 19.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    Instead of Field umpire or the fielding captain or the batsman to review the umpire decision, the third umpire should watch all the balls and the decision made by the field umpire if the decision is wrong third umpire should over rule it automaticaly then only 100% correct decision will be made.

  • coln on January 5, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    It's like the speeding driver complaining how unlucky he was to be caught. Don't do it and there is no chance of being caught. If you think Cook should have been given out of an illegitimate delivery because the umpire asked for confirmation, then we had best scrap the referral system altogether.

  • Chris on January 4, 2011, 23:40 GMT

    I think the cyclops idea was dismissed in the comments on another article. There must surely be an easy way to do it with technology though - even if that is as low tech as the 3rd umpire watching the screen for no-balls live and then passing the info to the on-field umpire. Anything to remove the need for the on-field to have to switch their focus during the course of a 90mph delivery - it's always seemed a ridiculous thing to have to do when aiming to get correct umpiring decisions.

  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    I thought I saw that Ricky Ponting was out to a no-ball in the 1st Innings in Melbourne. I only saw the replay once but it was extremely close. I would have liked to have seen it again. I don't recall seeing any of the bowler's foot behind the line. Why then aren't all wicket taking deliveries referred for no-balls? No commentators mentioned the Ponting dismissal when they showed the side-on shot - I think it was Anderson bowling. As long as it is consistent and the right decision is made. Anyway I don't like the idea of Umpires relying on the technology. The Umpires should be penalised if they do this - it's their job! Why not just put a sensor in the ground like used to happen with Cyclops in the tennis? In the end as long as the right decision is made and it is evenly applied who can complain.

  • Grant on January 4, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    Johnsons last words sum it up- keep your foot behind the line! So what if it only 2cms over- cricket is a game of small numbers of cms- the difference between an edge and a miss for a start. To get a wicket a bowler has to get a lot of things right- and delivering a legal delivery is one of themThe alternative to not allowing reviews is to have a batsman feeling unjustly dismissed. Australia have suffered this time- because it has been Australians who have overstepped- it won't always be so.

  • Pete on January 4, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    I really dont see what all the fuss is, it was a no ball, simple, as. If you dont bowl no balls then you have nothing to moan about. There are 2 chaps on here who I would say are club cricketers, and never bowled a no ball. Johnson and Beer are both pros and get paid to bowl thousands of deliveries in the nets and still bowl them, should try just that little bit harder then boys! And Arsh, if bowling was like smoking the Govt would want to tax it so lets not give them any ideas eh?

  • Martin on January 4, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    @Simon Smith'; "the fact the Aussies took a couple of wickets with illegitimate deliveries is just down to bad luck." Mmmm - your comment is open to wide mis-interpretation there mate. If you have a rule - like the front foot rule, which is pretty easy to understand, then it's a RULE and rules need to be enforced - if it isn't enforced then it's not a rule, just a free-for-all. Don't care how it's enforced so long as the rule is enforced. The technology is there and the proceedure agreed. It's there to protect both sides interests. It's no good whinging about the rule if it is enforced against you. No sympathy here and I don't agree with Warne either. It's just bad cricket. It was a no-ball. Not sure why we're even talking about it to be honest.

  • Maulik on January 4, 2011, 18:44 GMT

    The reason the umpire called for reference is because Beer's foot/heal never touched the ground so the umpire didn't know exactly where the foot actually was.. Good reference.. I am all for UDRS as well.

  • Steve on January 4, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    So Mitch has figured " you've got to get your foot behind the line" eh? and someone said fast bowlers weren't smart..... the guy's a genuis!!! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2011, 17:37 GMT

    the fielding side now needs to assume on any appeal being given out that that does not mean the ball is dead - that they need to play for any run out possibility too - as they would have done if a signal of no-ball had been given - imagine the mess of a decision in which player skies the delivery and is caught in the outfield - given out, walking off, sees that review is called for looks to make their ground - bails knocked off - another review for run out as well as review for no ball. This does not make sense - umpire is there to make decision - and their decision of no ball or not impacts on how the game is played when the ball is live.

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