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

  • cookster20 on August 6, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    If we can agree that the DRS was meant to stop the howler ( We can't stop a 3rd umpire howler but thankfully they are rare, sorry Usman) and not adjudicate on marginal LBW decisions then perhaps we can get somewhere. I say in regards LBW decisions DRS can only be used to show if a batsmen hit the ball or not if given out. Don't show whether the ball would hit the stumps or not, or whether it was a no-ball, the umpire has already made this call and it should stand with no replays to show if he was right or not. Just tell us if the batsmen hit it if he asks for review and if there is conclusive proof he did, he stays, if not he goes. I don't have a big problem with the rest of it i.e. did the ball carry? catches, did the batsmen hit it?, run outs , stumpings etc and there does need to be definitive evidence to overturn an umpire's call, not just a best guess.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jagger 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.

  • cookster20 on August 6, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    If we can agree that the DRS was meant to stop the howler ( We can't stop a 3rd umpire howler but thankfully they are rare, sorry Usman) and not adjudicate on marginal LBW decisions then perhaps we can get somewhere. I say in regards LBW decisions DRS can only be used to show if a batsmen hit the ball or not if given out. Don't show whether the ball would hit the stumps or not, or whether it was a no-ball, the umpire has already made this call and it should stand with no replays to show if he was right or not. Just tell us if the batsmen hit it if he asks for review and if there is conclusive proof he did, he stays, if not he goes. I don't have a big problem with the rest of it i.e. did the ball carry? catches, did the batsmen hit it?, run outs , stumpings etc and there does need to be definitive evidence to overturn an umpire's call, not just a best guess.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jagger 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.

  • 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.

  • jmcilhinney on August 6, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    @cookster20 on (August 6, 2013, 3:54 GMT), like many suggestions regarding changes to DRS, that solves some problems and creates others. I can't agree with not checking for a no-ball on a dismissal because umpires miss no-balls all the time. If you don't use DRS to check where the ball pitched, where it struck the pad and whether it was likely to hit the stumps then still allow for a howler to go uncorrected. The problem is that DRS is being used to spit hairs when that was never its intent. The "umpire's call" on LBWs is a way to say that the on-field umpire was right enough that their decision should be accepted but it's hard to build a similar margin for error into every aspect of DRS. My idea of requiring both HotSpot and sound/Snicko to overturn is an attempt to do that but you'll never satisfy everyone no matter what you do.

  • drkrish on August 6, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Regarding Kevin Pietersen's dismissal- The umpire has given him out and according to DRS system the batsman can never get an overruling unless the fielder has caught the ball after the ball hitting the ground otherwise there is no point in reviewing ie the worst review of the day was KP's. If you look at the overruling of DRS closely , the only way the third umpire can overrule the on-field umpire's decision is when there is compelling evidence to prove the on-field umpire was wrong. It is possible that captain Cook might have touched the ball so there is a reason why the third umpire's involved, but in KP's case its a no win situation for KP since the hotspot showed no hotspot(which is available to the third umpire) and the snicko is not available to third umpire. So the only way Kumar Darmasena would have ruled in favour of KP is when the fielder ie Haddin has grounded the ball to overrule Tony Hill's decision.

  • jmcilhinney on August 6, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    @Someguy on (August 5, 2013, 22:41 GMT), the half a ball threshold is undoubtedly a nominal margin for error but I guess there's no simple alternative. Consider that Steve Smith escaped an LBW due to that margin in the first innings when playing well back. As such, the predicted path was very short so the actual likelihood that the ball would miss the stumps was pretty much zero. A player pushing well forward creates a much longer predicted path and therefore greater doubt but has the same margin for error in the decision. That's not really fair but to use variable probabilities based on distance would be complex and given how difficult the currently simple rules of DRS are for some to understand, probably wouldn't be accepted. The other issue is when the predicted path shows the ball missing. There's no margin for error given there but a ball that is shown to be just missing could actually be hitting. There is no perfect option so I think what we have is good enough.

  • jmcilhinney on August 6, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    @cricket_ahan on (August 5, 2013, 23:24 GMT), it's like you've never listened to or read anything about DRS ever. It has been said many, many times that the reason Snicko is not used is that it takes time to prepare. It is not immediately available the way HotSpot is, which is why we only ever see Snicko several minutes after the decision has been made. A real-time version of Snicko is already in development and, as far as I'm aware, the intention is to make it part of DRS when it's been sufficiently tested.

    Even then, I don't think that Snicko on its own should be enough to overturn an on-field decision. If both HotSpot and Snicko disagree with the original decision then that should be considered sufficient to overturn but if one agrees and one disagrees then it should stay umpire's call. We know that no technology is 100% definitive and never will be so we should require at least two pieces of evidence to overturn.

  • on August 6, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    No problems with DRS. Perhaps with how the third umpire uses it. Interesting if Broad, Pietersen and Warner have to front the match referee for dissent. When Warner was given not out, Broad flew first to one umpire then the other, like watching a player chasing a soccer referee. Will anything happen? Of course not. Broad is a favourite.

  • brisCricFan on August 6, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    On the "Umpires Call" for LBW calls, what I can't understand is that they can say it was a millimetre off being half the ball, so the decision stays with the on-field call and recognise that this allows for that margin for error - but then when the umpire gives an out decision and the ball is only just clipping the very edge of the stump - where is the same margin for error??

    If we are saying it has to be more than half a ball, then it should go both ways. If the batsmen review and it is only just clipping - the same decision should be made... we should say more than half the ball should be hitting. Personally, I would rather go the other way... if the ball is hitting, then its hitting and you can read about it on the back page tomorrow.

    As for Pietersen, I thought on one of the slow-mo replays, just as the ball passes the bat, you see the bat twist ever so slightly... perhaps the smallest hint that there was impact.

  • jmcilhinney on August 6, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    I'd be interested to know what Root said to Cook before that review. Root's not an umpire and is not in as good a position as the umpire but I wonder whether he thought that there might have been an edge or not.

  • jmcilhinney on August 6, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    @harmske on (August 5, 2013, 19:34 GMT), "umpire's call" is not nonsense. It retains the relevance of the on-field umpire. If you aren't going to give any weight to the on-field umpire's decision then you may as well not have on-field umpires and just let every decision be made off the field.

    As for half the ball not being enough to overturn the decision, it's an allowance for the fact that the predicted path can never be trusted 100%. It's a bit ridiculous when you've got some people complaining that technology is unreliable and then others insisting that we trust 100% to the predicted path, which is something that didn't even happen.

    It seems to me that many people just assume that the ICC has spent no time thinking about DRS at all and yet offer solutions without themselves considering the wider implications. The ICC would have spent lots of time on the pros and cons of various options and if they are going to make changes then they need to be considered well too.

  • Johnny_129 on August 6, 2013, 1:52 GMT

    I have not been following the ashes closely this year but what is going on with Hot Spot - why are the edges not showing?? Is it the weather. Seemed to be working fine earlier. Perhaps BCCI was right, after all!!

  • richardpt on August 6, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    Saw the Kevin Pietersen dismissal and been thinking about why there may have been no "hot spot" on the bat. I reckon it was the seam of the ball that nicked the bat and that this did not provide enough friction (and therefore heat) to leave a noticeable mark. Perhaps this is why hot spot is not 100% reliable???

  • JimboK on August 5, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    I agree whole-heartedly with harmske. Second-guessing the accuracy of the ball-tracking technology by limiting how much of the ball has to be hitting the stumps just calls into question the whole use of the technology in the first place. If you're going to use it, back it and use it fully. If the ball is going to hit the stumps, even by the slimmest margin, you're out. Otherwise, why have it in the first place?

  • on August 5, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    England Retain the ashes, Australia only have pride to play for. A good showing from Australia but how long can they sustain this when they were outplayed in the first two tests.

  • cricket_ahan on August 5, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    I think Snicko needs to be introduced. My understanding is the reason it wasn't initially was because it wasn't deemed as accurate, using the argument that "the noise could be anything". That said, with seemingly reduced confidence in Hotspot, the umpires are now resorting to listening for a noise anyway. Surely validating that a noise has occurred is better than just listening for it. If we pull back and try and remember why this system was introduced - to prevent 'howlers' - it makes sense to introduce Snicko as a tool to prove that a noise occurred. Where the noise occurs when a ball passes the bat, and it is clear that nothing else could have made the noise, then that's evidence for the batsman to be given out. However inaccurate it might be, it currently seems a hell of a lot more accurate than Hotspot.

  • Someguy on August 5, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @harmske - the "umpires call" is because there is a margin of error with hawkeye. Which means if a ball is shown to be just hitting, it could also be just missing... so they stick with the umpires call. Half a ball is probably a lot more than the margin of error, but it's a logical line to draw. It's certainly a lot easier to judge than 1/4 or 1/3 of the ball.

  • whatawicket on August 5, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    as soon as bob willis gave his weather forecast which was loose all the morning play the the rain would head of to the east coast. what actually happened,was ok morning, rain heads up to gods county Cumbria and on to Scotland.well done bob

  • harmske on August 5, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    the more i see of the current DRS, the more i dislike it. and why is 'less than half the ball hitting' not enough to overturn a decision? the batsman either gets the benefit of the doubt all the time, or none of the time. this "umpire's call" rule is nonsense.

  • pulkit10 on August 5, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    Pity such a good game was lost to the rain. This test, in spite of England battling hard, was Australia's to lose and kind of unfortunate that they didn't get the deserved win from it.

    Hopefully, Durham will be as exciting and a little less unfortunate.

  • on August 5, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    this would of been a cracker of a game had to rain not intervened.

  • on August 5, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    this would of been a cracker of a game had to rain not intervened.

  • pulkit10 on August 5, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    Pity such a good game was lost to the rain. This test, in spite of England battling hard, was Australia's to lose and kind of unfortunate that they didn't get the deserved win from it.

    Hopefully, Durham will be as exciting and a little less unfortunate.

  • harmske on August 5, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    the more i see of the current DRS, the more i dislike it. and why is 'less than half the ball hitting' not enough to overturn a decision? the batsman either gets the benefit of the doubt all the time, or none of the time. this "umpire's call" rule is nonsense.

  • whatawicket on August 5, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    as soon as bob willis gave his weather forecast which was loose all the morning play the the rain would head of to the east coast. what actually happened,was ok morning, rain heads up to gods county Cumbria and on to Scotland.well done bob

  • Someguy on August 5, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @harmske - the "umpires call" is because there is a margin of error with hawkeye. Which means if a ball is shown to be just hitting, it could also be just missing... so they stick with the umpires call. Half a ball is probably a lot more than the margin of error, but it's a logical line to draw. It's certainly a lot easier to judge than 1/4 or 1/3 of the ball.

  • cricket_ahan on August 5, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    I think Snicko needs to be introduced. My understanding is the reason it wasn't initially was because it wasn't deemed as accurate, using the argument that "the noise could be anything". That said, with seemingly reduced confidence in Hotspot, the umpires are now resorting to listening for a noise anyway. Surely validating that a noise has occurred is better than just listening for it. If we pull back and try and remember why this system was introduced - to prevent 'howlers' - it makes sense to introduce Snicko as a tool to prove that a noise occurred. Where the noise occurs when a ball passes the bat, and it is clear that nothing else could have made the noise, then that's evidence for the batsman to be given out. However inaccurate it might be, it currently seems a hell of a lot more accurate than Hotspot.

  • on August 5, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    England Retain the ashes, Australia only have pride to play for. A good showing from Australia but how long can they sustain this when they were outplayed in the first two tests.

  • JimboK on August 5, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    I agree whole-heartedly with harmske. Second-guessing the accuracy of the ball-tracking technology by limiting how much of the ball has to be hitting the stumps just calls into question the whole use of the technology in the first place. If you're going to use it, back it and use it fully. If the ball is going to hit the stumps, even by the slimmest margin, you're out. Otherwise, why have it in the first place?

  • richardpt on August 6, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    Saw the Kevin Pietersen dismissal and been thinking about why there may have been no "hot spot" on the bat. I reckon it was the seam of the ball that nicked the bat and that this did not provide enough friction (and therefore heat) to leave a noticeable mark. Perhaps this is why hot spot is not 100% reliable???

  • Johnny_129 on August 6, 2013, 1:52 GMT

    I have not been following the ashes closely this year but what is going on with Hot Spot - why are the edges not showing?? Is it the weather. Seemed to be working fine earlier. Perhaps BCCI was right, after all!!