England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 2nd day July 11, 2013

Hot Spot under the spotlight

George Dobell, Dan Brettig and Jarrod Kimber
ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from an historic day at Trent Bridge
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Bet of the day

If you had placed a bet on Steve Smith being the first player to score a fifty in these Ashes, you would now be counting many dollar bills. The official announcement that Smith was in the squad came after he was in the team. No one really expected him to play. Fewer expected him to be successful. Instead, other than one barely talked about partnership, Smith made his fifty. And he did it by smashing Graeme Swann through cover in such an authoritative way that you would have bet your house, kids and pets on the fact he would top score in the innings. Or at least outscore the number 11.

Defining moment of the day

A flowing drive for four from Phil Hughes off the bowling of Stuart Broad gave Australia a first innings lead and brought up the 100 stand for the 10th wicket. It was a scenario that seemed highly unlikely 90 minutes earlier when Australia lost five wickets for the addition of nine runs in 32 deliveries and their final pair came together with England still 98 ahead. Hughes was not the dominant partner in the stand, though: Ashton Agar scored 67 of the first 100 runs the pair added, becoming the first Australian No.11 to score a half-century in his debut innings and going on to make 98, the highest score ever by a No. 11 in Test cricket. In all the pair added 163 - another record for the 10th wicket - to turn the game on its head.

Review of the day

Aleem Dar, the on field umpire, originally gave Jonathan Trott not out when he attempted to play across his first delivery - his only delivery, as it transpired - from Mitchell Starc. While there was little doubt the ball was straight enough to win a leg before appeal, there was a suspicion of an inside edge. Australia were quick to utilise the DRS, though, and delighted when the TV umpire, Marais Erasmus, decided to overrule Dar and see Trott given out. Bearing in mind the evidence available to Erasmus, it was a brave decision: there was no side-on Hot Spot available - it had been utilised for the previous delivery; the wicket of Joe Root and did not record the ball to Trott - while slow motion replays also suggested a deviation - possibly natural, possibly off an inside edge. It also felt a somewhat inconsistent decision bearing in mind the earlier episode where Agar, on 6, was given the benefit of the doubt after a very tight stumping appeal.

Throw of the day

It was hard to work out what Stuart Broad was actually doing out on the field. His external blow from James Pattinson in his innings meant that he didn't need to spend time out on the field in order to bowl. Yet there he was. Fielding, and not bowling, for hours. Even as Agar and Hughes started hinting at records, Broad stayed unmoved. It made little sense, either he wasn't fit enough to be out there, and should have been getting more treatment. Or he was fit enough and should have bowled earlier. Instead, all his arm did before Australia took the lead was a limp side arm throw that made it look like he'd never played before. Agar probably would have preferred that was all his arm was used for.

Tight call of the day

Agar had made all of six runs and Australia were 131 for 9 when Swann spun an off break past the debutant's groping bat. A utility appeal by Matt Prior for both the catch and the stumping had Kumar Dharmasena calling for the assistance of television, which showed a desperately tight call over whether or not Agar had any part of his foot behind the crease line. A combination of fortunately a placed shadow, and camera angles that were not quite optimal, left Erasmus puzzling over numerous replays. The longer he deliberated, the greater chance Agar's chance of survival, and eventually the not out verdict was relayed. At the time it did not seem to matter much, but as Agar's innings grew, so too did English scepticism.

Reaction of the day

With most of Australia - if not the world - cheering him on, Agar reached the cusp of a century. On 98, confronted by a creative field setting and Broad committed to bowling short, he swung hopefully towards the midwicket boundary, only to pick out Swann, who claimed a neat catch as he dived forward. Agar's response to the end of his fairytale was as graceful as his innings, a wistful smile and a gentle shrug. But Swann's fist-pumping celebration of the catch seemed more intent on stealing the scene than acknowledging the piece of Test match history he had been part of.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • H_Z_O on July 12, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    @Rowayton Heh, excellent point.

    @JG2704 This has been a brilliant start to the Ashes. I'm glad the Aussies are right in amongst it, a one-sided series would have been boring. At this rate England will have a tough fight on their hands, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    Don't think the umpiring decisions change the one crucial thing; we're not playing as well as Australia are. If we lose (as looks likely) that's why.

  • H_Z_O on July 12, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    @ScottStevo I think both teams have had some harsh calls (e.g.Rogers lbw) there's just more ill-feeling about it on our side because ours have hurt us more. But that's as much to do with how poorly we've played and how well you have.

    @Mitty2 Thank God for that! Actually, based on your previous posts, I knew I could expect a reasonable comment from you. Good on you mate!

    My take on the Trott dismissal was slightly different (I think he did hit it, but based only on the replay; in real-time I thought it was plumb). However I think the lack of a crucial piece of tech shouldn't have harmed either side, and agree that when the same situation arises in future, the correct course would be to "ignore" the review, let the fielding team keep their review and the on-field decision (whichever way it was given, out or not-out) should stand.

    I thought Agar was out, but the real issue for me is the lack of consistency. Either they're both out, or they're both not-out. They were almost identical.

  • kallis57 on July 12, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    cnksnk - Are you joking? The third umpire should overule if there is clear incontovertible evidence that the on-field decision is wrong. Aleem Dah ruled 'not out' because he either saw or heard an inside edge. Erasmus had no evidence that the ball had not hit the inside edge because the requisite camera angle was not avalailable - so his overule was a complete guess! His role as 3rd umpire is not to guess, he needs evidence to overturn which he simply did not have. His decision was utterly indefenceable. He should have umpired his last game at any level!

  • Match-winner on July 12, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    Agreed with @Stevros3 - 3rd umpire over turns a decision when there is clear proof, yet there was none here! There was enough deviation to make everyone think that there was an inside edge....So mind boggling how these umpires work at times...

  • dummy4fb on July 12, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    People are getting hot under the collar about some very marginal decisions. Have we forgotten that this is just the nature of sport? Hasn't it always been this way? The idea that using technology has to be 100% perfect or binned seems to miss the point that this is still a game of small margins. Both decisions were a question of the smallest of differences. Referred LBWs are no different. I appreciate the written terms of DRS and we'd all like maximum consistency but we should remember that it was never intended to be used for these kinds of intensely close calls. When it comes down to it, when it gets that close, there will simply always be this kind of controversy. Decisions will always be made and it will always be at least partially subjective. That's just life, it's just sport. DRS hasn't changed that, so in the end this is like any other decision that goes for or against a team in the heat of the moment. Those on the receiving end don't like it, but is it really worth this fuss?

  • dummy4fb on July 12, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Have Aleem Dar made any mistake ? No. Have Eramus made any mistake ? No Have Clarke made any mistake ? No. But everybody is saying there is a mistake. It has to be the technology. Technology should be 100% accurate. To err is human. But To err is NOT machine. PS:- I am not advocating for BCCI.

  • dummy4fb on July 12, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    Snicko is not part of any DRS in any series - it takes too long to process and present the data for it to be available to the DRS umpire. However, the umpire can listen to the onfield mikes for any evidence of a nick. The problem is that there is no infallible technology to confirm that the ball was not nicked unless the video shows a clear gap between ball and bat. A nick can be so fine that it does not show on Hotspot (the big weakness with Hotspot) or make much of a noise. So the difficulty Erasmus was facing was that the best he could hope for from the technology was confirmation that the ball was nicked and hence the on field umpire was correct. My personal opinion having seen the TV coverage is that he should have let Aleen Dar's decision stand. However, this does raise the issue that appeals against similar not out decisions are statistically unlikely to succeed - something for captains to consider perhaps?

  • theamazinggem on July 12, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    In fairness to Swann, I thought it was more relief when he took the catch - particularly after he in particular had been knocked all over the place by Agar. He obviously instantly noted/regretted it, because of the way he ran over.

    Besides, he's supposed to want to get the guy out isn't he?

  • dummy4fb on July 12, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Re the Trott dismissal, should a referral to the third umpire be allowed if the on field umpire thinks the batsmen has hit the ball. In my opinion the straight on camera view shows trott got an inside edge albeit only an inch or so before the ball struck the pad. Root maybe should have reviewed his dismissal, if he was batting with anyone other than Cook maybe he would have. Hopefully things will even themselves out today.

  • rahulkmc on July 12, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    @Bishop: Mate, so if I were go to with you, and just because snicko is not being used for this series, I should ignore that there was NO SOUND as the ball passed the bat? Ain't this double standards? Its same as nicking a ball and saying umpire didn't pick it up, so its ok to carry on. Whether you want it or not thats not fair play. I personally dont like Erasmus and some of his controversial decisions, but I would totally agree on this one. Can't say the same about the Agar decision though.