Ian Bell has conceded that he was as baffled as anyone when he benefited from a controversial decision review in England's tie with India on Sunday. Bell was given not out by umpire Billy Bowden but the bowler Yuvraj Singh was certain he had trapped the batsman lbw, and convinced the captain MS Dhoni to ask for a review.
The process was played out on the big screen at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and when the fans saw the ball had struck Bell in line and was going on to hit the stumps, a roar went around and Bell began to walk off. However, Bell was turned back by the fourth umpire Aleem Dar, who was sitting on the sidelines and knew that Bowden was sticking to his decision.
Bell was more than 2.5 metres down the pitch when he was struck, and from that distance the Hawkeye tracking technology is considered to be less reliable, so the on-field umpire can decide to trust the computer or stick to his own eye. The spectators had no idea why the decision was upheld, and began chanting "cheating", while Dhoni said after the game it was an adulteration of human decision-making and technology.
"When a decision gets reviewed, you can see everything as it unfolds on the big screen," Bell said the next morning. "When I saw it pitch in line and hit the stumps, I thought that was it. I wasn't aware of the rule of how far you had to be down the wicket. I got waved back on by the fourth official and I moved on from there. I wasn't aware that the distance down the wicket was a factor.
"I didn't even know that rule existed. As soon as I saw it pitch in line and hit, I thought that was enough. It's strange, to be honest with you, if you see Hawkeye saying it's going to hit the stumps. It's a little bit strange. But that's the rule, I guess, and we're not going to be able to change that for this World Cup."
Although the rule was news to Bell, it had been seen during England's recent ODI series against Australia. In the seventh and final match at the WACA, the Australian batsman Tim Paine was adjudged not out to Liam Plunkett, and England reviewed the umpire Paul Reiffel's on-field decision.
The replays showed Paine was hit more than 2.5 metres from the stumps, but Hawkeye suggested the ball would have crashed into the stumps halfway up, and on that occasion Reiffel decided not to argue with the technology, even though he would have been within his rights to stay with his not-out call.
Bowden didn't feel the same way on Sunday, and the decision contributed to an epic tie that came down to the final ball of the 50th over, as England nearly pulled off a mammoth chase. Despite not taking full points from the game, Bell said England could take plenty of confidence from their efforts against a strong Indian side.
"I think we can take a hell of a lot from it," Bell said. "Going in halfway chasing 338, I don't think too many England teams in the past over here would have done that. I've certainly played in a fair share myself where we wouldn't have got 250 runs chasing that.
"To do that and to be involved in this one-day side showed me the strides forward we've made as a team. If we can keep doing that, we've got the quality in bowling that when we get our bowling and fielding 100% right we're going to be a good team in this competition."