5 January 1999

England frustrated by Slater's good luck

By Richard Bright in Sydney

MICHAEL SLATER, the Australian opening batsman, admitted he was fortunate to survive television evidence in a close run-out call during his century against England in the fifth Test at Sydney yesterday.

Slater played perhaps his greatest innings, hitting 123 out of Australia's second-innings total of 184, but England were angry over the life given to Slater on 35, when he was surprised by Dean Headley's throw from long-on, a direct hit at the bowler's end.

Repeated television replays on the giant video screen made it seem Slater had failed to make his ground by an inch or so, but he was given the benefit of the doubt by the third umpire, Simon Taufel.

Slater said: "I think the umpire, from the camera angles he had, made the best decision he could from what he saw, and fortunately I knew it was close. All direct hits are close, but I got the benefit of the doubt because of the camera angles."

To rub in his good luck, Slater went on to defy England by making the second highest proportion of runs by an individual in a completed innings in Test history.

Slater's contribution, which saved Australia from complete collapse, was 66.85 per cent of the total, second to Charles Bannerman's 67.34 per cent for Australia in the inaugural Ashes Test in 1877.

Despite the questions raised by the Slater incident, the International Cricket Council, the umpiring organisers at this level, said they did not intend to put money into improving the third-umpire system.

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)