England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 5th day August 4, 2013

Review it again, Kumar

Plays of the day as England retained the Ashes with a watery draw
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Surprise of the day
The 11.30am start took just about everyone by surprise. While more than 17,000 tickets had been pre-sold for the final day, there were fewer than half that number of spectators in the ground when play began. Heavy overnight rain and an uncompromisingly awful weather forecast led most people to believe there would be little if any play and some England players delayed their arrival at the ground until just before 11am. But, somehow, while rain fell all around the north of England, there was a gap in the clouds that allowed play to begin after only a short delay at Old Trafford.

Review of the day I
Another day, another DRS drama. This time it was Kevin Pietersen who was at the centre when he was given out caught behind off Peter Siddle. Pietersen looked unconvinced at Tony Hill's decision and signalled for a referral and while nothing showed on Hot Spot and there was no clear deviation off the bat, there was a noise. Kumar Dharmasena upheld Hill's call and Pietersen was unhappy, but Snicko - which is not available to the TV official - later suggested that he had in fact tickled the ball.

Review of the day II
Alastair Cook made a bid for 'worst review of the series' after he was adjudged leg-before to Ryan Harris in the third over of the day. Replays suggested the delivery, a fine ball that drew Cook forward and nipped in to beat a nervous forward prod, was going to hit the middle of middle and off and the TV umpire had little hesitation in upholding the on-field decision. To be fair to Cook, replays did show that he brushed his front pad with his bat in playing the stroke, which he may have mistaken for a thin edge on the ball. He also consulted with his opening partner, Joe Root, before asking for the review.

Close call of the day
Jonathan Trott, his head falling to the off side as he played across a straight one, was on 9 when umpire Hill turned down a strong leg-before appeal off the bowling of Harris. Australia called for a review, which showed that there was no bat on the ball and it had hit in line. But the ball tracking technology also suggested that, although the ball was likely to go on and hit leg stump, it was only going to do so by less than half a ball's width, so Trott survived on the basis of umpire's call. It made little difference, though, Trott was caught behind down the leg side just minutes later.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 8, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    @cookster20 on (August 7, 2013, 1:53 GMT) "Cyril - A howler is an obvious mistake - Broad's edge to slip is a classic example."

    Really, when did that happen? Perhaps you're thinking of when the ball bounced off the keeper's pad to slip? You know like happened to Warner in the 3rd Test, except he was given out and appealed it to DRS.

  • dummy4fb on August 8, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    @Moppa on (August 7, 2013, 7:07 GMT) "I also think the "half the ball hitting half the stump" lbw rule is arbitrary and silly. In particular, it fails to distinguish between balls that hit a batsman a long way from the stumps and those that hit relatively close."

    I suggest you read the Standard Playing Conditions where that distinction is made.

  • Moppa on August 7, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    I think the rules of applying DRS can be made clearer, especially with regard to Hot Spot. Specifically, Hot Spot should be used as positive evidence of a nick, e.g. to overturn an lbw, but should not be relied on as negative proof of the absence of a nick, e.g. to overturn a caught behind. If that was known, KP could have saved his rage... and the review for a true howler. (Alternatively, we could get Snicko involved in the DRS system, time permitting). I also think the "half the ball hitting half the stump" lbw rule is arbitrary and silly. In particular, it fails to distinguish between balls that hit a batsman a long way from the stumps and those that hit relatively close. E.g., for mine, Root off Starc at Trent Bridge, Smith off Swann at Old Trafford and Trott off Harris at Old Trafford were all howlers by the on field umpire, despite less than half the ball hitting half the stump. @D.V.C's idea of a zone of uncertainty could address this inconsistency.

  • D.V.C. on August 7, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    @jmcilhinney: As a physicist I have to put errors on all my measurements. Error statistics are very well defined, and a simple matter of calculation in this instance; something it wouldn't take the hawk/eagle-eye software significantly longer to do. They should just put the real errors on the screen at the end. A circle for where the ball is predicted to strike, and an oval for the 95% certainty area. It's not hard.

  • cookster20 on August 7, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    Cyril - A howler is an obvious mistake - Broad's edge to slip is a classic example. For what it is worth I have heard the term used by Cricket Australia, players and the media so it is widely known and defined. You can use DRS whenever you like as far as i am concerned , all I'm saying is that DRS was never meant to overturn very marginal decisions (hence reverting to umpire's call) and that I for one do not want it used in LBW's to determine whether the ball would hit the stumps or not. It is just too contentious and on occasion batsmen are either in or out by a few millimeters , I say leave that to the umpires otherwise we soon will have no need for them.

  • Cyril_Knight on August 6, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    It is impossible to write a law where DRS can only eliminate the "howler." First off, what is a "howler?" Who will define that? As far as I can tell, it is a term used by Sky Sports presenters not umpires. What makes a "howler" is down to opinion, therefore it cannot be defined.

    In their appraisal of umpire performance, the ICC give stats about right or wrong decisions to support the use of DRS. It seems that they don't recognise marginal decisions here.

    The whole DRS system is flawed. The technology cannot be trusted, the umpires believe this (like BCCI), otherwise they wouldn't ignore Hot-Spot. And it now seems that the decision making process of the on-field umpire is affected by the chance of reviews. It is human nature to avoid making a tough decision when someone else can make it for you. Why would an umpire give a batsmen out when the fielders can do it for him? We will see more poor decisions, more decisions overturned, if DRS continues in it's current state.

  • Devmanus on August 6, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    again.. difficult to understand that the ashes "Plays of the day as England retained the Ashes" article is full of decision making issues rather than who played well kind of news...after 150 years of cricket we still lack decision making in cricket, this fact is actually very diffucult to digest.

  • Devmanus on August 6, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    I am really tired of all these decision review news and comments and all.. why dont we just concentrate on the players performance, why on the earth now fans and article writers concentrating on the Umpires decisions? please write more about Clarkes' batting or Harris bowling. please dont say because of faulty decisions the ashes is decided. long ago in 2008 we heard same arguments from Indian Captain in Australia. now even after 5 years the same story with all so called improvements...humble request, pelase concentrate on pure cricketing articles.

  • RedDirt on August 6, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    Why do Poms have to say "To be fair" when they are about to let someone have it? Strauss does it every interview. From a country that produced The Stones it's evident English men have lost theirs and grew a row of Pansy's. Just because one is educated it doesn't mean one has to be a sook.

  • dummy4fb on August 6, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    There are only two ways of resolving this issue. The first is drop everything and let life continue as it had for 135 years before technology was introduced. The second is let all the technology be available, make it available to the onfield umpires, and let a specialist in technology sit in the pavilion who can advise the umpires. The umpires have always been respected in the game and their decision was, and should continue to be final.