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ICC defend DRS and umpires in Ashes opener

July 17, 2013
Australia's players appeal in vain for the dismissal of England's Stuart Broad to umpire Aleem Dar. -Photo by Reuters
Australia's players appeal in vain for the dismissal of England's Stuart Broad to umpire Aleem Dar. -Photo by Reuters

LONDON: The International Cricket Council (ICC) took the unusual step Tuesday of publicly defending the performances of its officials and the Decision Review System (DRS) in a specific match following the controversial first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

England's thrilling 14-run win was beset by rows over a series of on-field umpiring decisions, above all the not out decision given by Aleem Dar when England's Stuart Broad, then on 37, edged debutant spinner Ashton Agar to Australia captain Michael Clarke at slip – a decision the tourists could not challenge as by then they had used up all their innings reviews.

Broad went on to make 65 and share a key second-innings stand of 138 with Ian Bell (109).

Of the 72 decisions made by Pakistan's Dar, his on-field colleague Kumar Dharmasena and third umpire Marais Erasmus, the ICC highlighted seven errors.

Three were uncorrected decisions - the first of which was where the technology was at fault in England's second innings for Jonathan Trott being given lbw when he was originally given not out and two against Broad when Australia had no reviews available -- while four decisions were corrected by DRS.

Therefore, the ICC said, the use of technology improved the correct decision percentage rose from 90.3 per cent to 95.8 per cent.

“The umpires did a good job under difficult conditions. This reflects the calibre of umpires Dar, Dharmasena and Erasmus who have consistently performed at a high level,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said in a statement.

“However, like the players, umpires can also have good and bad days but we all know that the umpire's decision, right or wrong, is final and must be accepted.

“While the ICC has complete faith in the ability of its umpires, our confidence in technology is also strengthened by the fact that there was an increase in the number of correct decisions in the Trent Bridge Test through the use of the DRS.”

“Technology was introduced with the objective of eradicating the obvious umpiring errors and to get as many correct decisions as possible. If it can help increase the correct decisions by 5.5 per cent, then it is a good outcome, but we must continue to strive to improve umpiring and the performance of the DRS.” The ICC did not say whether Agar should have been given out early on in his first innings.

With Australia on 131 for nine, Agar was on six when England wicketkeeper Matt Prior appealed for a stumping. Erasmus gave him the benefit of the doubt, however, and Agar went on to make 98 – the highest score by a Test No 11.

The first Test also highlighted how England and Australia between them provide eight members of the ICC's 12-strong panel of elite umpires.

That means only four men – Dar, Dharmasena, Erasmus and New Zealand's Tony Hill – are currently eligible to officiate in Ashes Tests, leaving the ICC with little room for manoeuvre should any of them lose form.