TV umpire Rauf adds to confusion over referrals

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> TV umpire Asad Rauf added to the confusion over referral system when he over-ruled a decision by on-field umpire Billy Bowden during SA-Australia 4th Test.

Updated: March 01, 2009 17:25 IST
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Television umpire Asad Rauf on Sunday added to the confusion over Test cricket's referral system when he over-ruled a decision by on-field umpire Billy Bowden during the fourth day of the first Test between South Africa and Australia.

Bowden gave Australian batsman Brad Haddin out leg before wicket to left-arm spinner Paul Harris. Haddin asked for the decision to be reviewed and Rauf decided he was not out - although television pictures showed the ball would have hit his off stump.

South Africa, meanwhile, failed for the second time to refer a not out decision in favour of Australian batsman Phil Hughes despite clear television evidence that the batsman had gloved a delivery from fast bowler Morne Morkel to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Three previous referrals by the South Africans had been rejected by Rauf, who upheld decisions by the on-field umpires, who had given Australia's Ricky Ponting not out in the first innings and then given South African batsmen Neil McKenzie and Mark Boucher out.

In all three cases, Rauf could not find enough reason to overturn the decisions of his colleagues.

Because teams are only allowed two unsuccessful referrals in an innings, South Africa had no more referrals available when tailender Paul Harris was given out leg before when he was struck outside the line by a ball from Marcus North which would clearly have missed the stumps.

Hughes was given not out by umpire Billy Bowden when he was on 21 and 36. With referrals needing to be made within a few seconds, the South Africans opted not to ask Rauf to review the decisions, presumably not realising the evidence was so strongly in their favour. Hughes went on to make 75.

Australia's Brad Haddin was given out when he missed a sweep against Harris when he had scored 15.

It would have been the eighth wicket to fall but Australia had not previously referred any decisions during the innings. Haddin asked for a review and after viewing the television replays Rauf ruled that the batsman was not out. He went on to make 37.

Although television umpires can make use of Haweye ball-tracking technology they do not see the predictive part of the ball's path after it strikes the pad.

The ball from Harris pitched on the off stump and went straight on. When the predictive path was shown to television viewers after Rauf's decision, it showed the ball would probably have hit off stump.

Doug Cowie, the International Cricket Council's umpires and referees manager, explained during the lunch interval that the referrals were intended to eliminate obviously incorrect decisions.

Discussing the Haddin decision, Cowie, who is attending the Johannesburg Test, explained that it was a condition of the playing conditions that the television umpire did not see the predictive path. "Cricket people tell us that it is not accurate information," he said.

South Africa had another referral turned down when last batsman Ben Hilfenhaus was given not out by umpire Steve Bucknor after Makhaya Ntini appealed for lbw.

Rauf upheld Bucknor's decision, with replays suggesting the ball would have gone over the stumps.

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