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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Only 21 balls but still controversy

Australia 520/7d & 150 defeatedWest Indies 312 & 323 (94.3 ov) by 35 runs: T3 D5 at Perth. Australia win series 2-0.

21 balls and a lengthy though fruitless review of the umpire's decision was all it took to decide the match this morning. The result was not unexpected though the slender margin was, at least after the first two days.

Had video umpire Asad Rauf interpreted the guidelines anywhere near as liberally as he did in Adelaide with Shiv Chanderpaul he might have overruled Billy Bowden's decision that Kemar Roach nicked Doug Bollinger to the keeper. Certainly the replays I saw on TV were inconclusive. The

I've been flooded by emails saying that Roach should not have been given out because replays didn't show an edge. I don't think that's how it works. Bowden gave him out on the field and since replays did not prove that he didn't nick it, the on-field decision should stay. The irony is that, if Bowden had given him not out, and the Australians had asked for a review, Roach might well have been given not out after the review because replays didn't prove that he was out. It's complicated, this UDRS. I couldn't tell whether he nicked it or not. Hot Spot didn't show much, but it often doesn't pick up faint edges. This debate will rage on and on ...

They are showing Snicko now and there's a faint indication of an edge. Ever so faint, it could have been an edge, it could have been something else. I guess only Roach will really know.

The Cricinfo commentator (access via summary scorecard) agreed with me yet thought that the decision should stay:

I've been flooded by emails saying that Roach should not have been given out because replays didn't show an edge. I don't think that's how it works. Bowden gave him out on the field and since replays did not prove that he didn't nick it, the on-field decision should stay. The irony is that, if Bowden had given him not out, and the Australians had asked for a review, Roach might well have been given not out after the review because replays didn't prove that he was out. It's complicated, this UDRS. I couldn't tell whether he nicked it or not. Hot Spot didn't show much, but it often doesn't pick up faint edges. This debate will rage on and on ...

They are showing Snicko now and there's a faint indication of an edge. Ever so faint, it could have been an edge, it could have been something else. I guess only Roach will really know.

Did Roach know? He called for the review at least as, if not more, quickly than I can recall any player doing so in the brief time the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) system has been in place. If anything his rapid response suggests that he didn't believe that he'd hit the ball. In any case the video umpire should have looked at the objective evidence before his eyes. If it was inconclusive then IMO Roach should have been given the benefit of the doubt, a core principle of umpiring decision making.

This aside Australia were the better side in this match, though less emphatically than they would have expected after the first two days. A 2-0 series victory doesn't accurately reflect the differences between the teams, particularly the improvement which the West Indies made in the last two matches. Australia might claim that they were unlucky with injuries, yet this is a feeble excuse for their underperformance when many commentators predicted three emphatic victories.


Scorecard


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