England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 1st day August 1, 2013

DRS under review

Plays of the day from the first day at Old Trafford

The review I
Graeme Swann did not even appeal when he drew Usman Khawaja into a drive and saw the ball turn past the outside edge. Matt Prior and the rest of the England fielders did though and, after some deliberation, umpire Tony Hill gave Khawaja out. The batsman called for a review and, while replays suggested no contact between bat and ball, there was no sign on Hot Spot and both audio and visual replays suggested the only noise came from the bat brushing the pad, the TV umpire, Kumar Dharmasena, upheld the decision and Khawaja had to go. It was a decision that will renew scrutiny on the value of the DRS and, more pertinently, some of the officials charged with using it. Dharmasena, it should be noted, is currently ICC umpire of the year. Reaction to the decision was swift and damning: Tom Moody described it as "farcical", Shane Warne as "horrific" and Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, wrote on Twitter that it was "one of the worst cricket umpiring decisions I have ever seen".

The review II
England were convinced that Steven Smith had been caught behind off James Anderson when he had 18. Umpire Marais Erasmus did not agree and England were quick to utilise the DRS. But while there was evidence of a noise as the ball passed the bat, there was no sign of an edge on Hot Spot and no obvious deviation. Dharmasena therefore upheld the on-field umpire's decision, Smith survived and England were left with no more reviews. They had also used their other one on Smith before he had scored when he played back to a sharply turning delivery from Swann and, though the ball struck him in line, Hawk-Eye upheld the on-field umpire's not-out decision by the tiniest of margin by showing that less than half the ball would have clipped the leg stump.

The let off
At first glance it appeared it was Michael Clarke who had enjoyed a let off when, on 23, Ian Bell at leg slip juggled with a ball from Swann that had turned past the batsman's inside edge and the ball ran down to fine leg for a single. On closer inspection, however, it seemed that umpire Hill had enjoyed the let off as replays showed clearly that Clarke had not hit the ball and the only impact came from his thigh pad. Had Bell held on to the 'catch', it would have proved another embarrassing moment for the umpires and another test of the DRS. In light of such moments, it is hardly surprising that the ICC are using this match to test new TV umpire protocols. The present system is clearly far from perfect.

The distraction
Chris Rogers was distracted by a ghost: the ghost of bad crowd management. So many deliveries were stopped because someone was moving behind the bowler's arm. During one over from Swann, members on the balcony were upsetting Rogers. Play was stopped more than once, and many arms were waved, including those of two Australian domestic cricketers, Jon Wells and Daniel Salpietro, who were among those on the balcony. But Rogers seemed to handle them. What he couldn't handle was an elderly man standing behind the glass door in about the most menacing way possible, swaying from side to side from behind the darkened glass, which made him look like an otherworldly figure. Rogers missed his next ball and was given out. The old man was clearly the ghost of wickets future.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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