Amongst all the drama of one of New Zealand’s proudest test victories yesterday was the incident when Nathan Lyon’s lbw decision off Southee was reversed as a result of a UDS referral. Finally.
And it’s fair to say finally, because that decision took a mighty long time.
But Lyon, after a delayed process that showed no replay of the original footage, was given not out. Tony Greig so knowingly told us this was because it pitched outside leg, even though Heals was yapping that it was going to end up down leg.
But look at this; the inline picture is taken from the original delivery, the outline ball is what Hawkeye told us had happened. The Hawkeye version is what determines the decision.
Clearly something had happened.
Video coverage is a science judged in millimetres. A calibration of less than one degree would produce the effect above. It would probably take 30 seconds to alter that? That’s about how long it took hawkeye to get going yesterday.
In case you were wondering, this footage is controlled by the host broadcaster; in this case Channel 9.
Of course no-one is suggesting the people responsible for playing back this footage would be so desperate to create a miracle test win for Australia on which they could sell memorabilia photos during the Indian series.
No, far from it. It must have been some technical malfunction. But it does make you think that if such powerful technology is to be introduced it not only must be beyond tampering hands, but be seen to be beyond tampering hands.
Remember there is a precedent. A perfectly legitimate LBW appeal against Tendulkar was overturned this year. In a World Cup. In India. In a semi-final against Pakistan.
UDS / UDRS (see; people can’t even agree on a name) is the way of the future, but over 100 years of cricket history will tell you that if any part of adjudicating is left in control of an authority that is perceived to be parochial then doubts will remain.
Looks like the ICC needs a fifth umpire to sit in the editing caravan. Not the best junket; but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Incidentally, that was NZ’s best test match in Australia since that test in 1987 when Greg Dyer caught Jones down the leg side after the ball had well and truly bounced, and Danny Morrison was denied the plumbest of LBWs you’ll ever see in the final 10 minutes of the match.
That match was before neutral umpires.