Replays A Hit

The current test series between England and West Indies is the first in which the England team have had experience of the trial instant replay system. As in tennis, the teams have a number of appeals that they can use, and they keep the appeal if it is upheld, but lose it if it is not. How is the system working?

While I have been having dinner, three referrals were made. The first was a dreadful decision by the umpire. Freddie’s ball pitched in line, hit Devon Smith plumb in front, and according to Hawkeye would have taken out middle stump about half way up. The field umpire game Smith not out, a decision that was very quickly reversed on appeal. Freddie, gentleman that he is, immediately went to commiserate with the umpire.

The second appeal was again an LBW for Freddie, this time against Sarwan. It was close, but the replay showed that the ball was probably going to miss the stumps, confirming the decision of the field umpire.

Appeal three was much more interesting. Harmison hit Sarwan above the knee roll on his pads. The umpire gave the LBW, Sarwan appealed, and on replay it looked like the ball might just have gone over the top. It was really hard to say, and in such circumstances the batsman should be given the benefit of the doubt, which is what happened.

So from what I have seen, we’ve had three referrals and three correct decisions, which should be good for the game. The Sky commentators seem happy. Agnew, on the other hand, is continuing to predict doom and disaster, and is busily trawling through the TMS email to find people who support him. Thankfully Sir Geoffrey is giving him an ear full.