Trailing Australia by 65 runs, England's middle order mainstay Jonathan Trott was adjudged lbw for a first-ball duck to Mitchell Starc on Thursday.
The England and Wales Cricket Board received an apology from the International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson and the inventor of Hot Spot over the technology's inability to determine whether Jonathan Trott was out LBW or not.
Story first published on: Friday, 12 July 2013 14:02
The lack of a square Hot Spot camera made it inconclusive to show whether Trott did get an inside edge before the ball hit his front pad off Mitchell Starc. Trott was originally given not out by on-field umpire Aleem Dar, but the decision was over-ruled by the third umpire Marais Erasmus despite the side on Hotspot image of the dismissal was not available.
England coach Andy Flower, furious with this outcome, demanded an explanation from senior ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle. The hosts wanted to find out why their number three batsman was adjudged leg before wicket once the on-field umpires followed the proper rules.
Sky Sports gave an explanation, saying that the Hot Spot missed Trott dismissal as it was showing replay of Joe Root's dismissal a ball earlier. Hot Spot images cannot be replayed and played at the same time, the host broadcasters said.
"He was given not out on the field and it is frustrating it got overruled," James Anderson said. "He has hit the ball and he has been given not out. We are all for technology. Since it has come in, more decisions get given out correctly than wrongly. From our point of view we want it."
The inventor of the Hotspot system was also sorry and blamed the malfunction on an "operator error".
"Here is the absolute truth from our perspective in regard to the Trott incident," said Warren Brennan.
"It was operator error. My operator did not trigger the system in order to cater for the Trott delivery. Instead the operator sat on the Root delivery in order to offer a replay from the previous ball and did not realise until it was too late that he should have triggered the system for the Trott delivery as the priority. Simple mistake, something that anyone could have made but my Hot Spot operator has worked on the system since 2007 and to my knowledge this is the first serious mistake he has made," Brennan said.
Hot Spot is provided by an independent company for both Sky and the ICC. Sky commentator and ex-England captain David Gower, said on air that the Hot Spot team were reviewing their protocols after the incident.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph (Hyperlink), Richardson spoke to ECB chief Gliles Clarke to explain the situation. Trott was convinced he had hit the ball and a close-up slow-motion replay depicted the ball deviating as it passed the bat. The 'Snickometer', which is not part of the official review system, also detected a faint edge. The replay taken from the side on Hot Spot thermal imaging could have proved whether Trott had struck the ball but Erasmus had only the cameras behind the bowler's arm to bank on for his ruling, which showed no mark on the bat.
Normally the third umpire overturns a decision only if there is conclusive evidence of an error, but Erasmus gave Trott out. An seemingly puzzled Dar shook his head as he sent a shocked Trott on his way.
It was not the only controversial moment on the second day of the first Ashes Test as Flower also queried the earlier decision to rule Australia's hero of the day, Ashton Agar, not out after England thought they had him stumped on six.
Matt Prior was convinced Agar was out and asked to view the Sky footage at the end of the Australia innings.
"I thought it was out. I saw it on the big screen, and it is hard to tell sometimes on that but Prior was pretty confident," Anderson said.
England's new opener Root should also have been given not out as Hot Spot showed he made no contact with the ball before it was caught down the leg side by Brad Haddin, but the England opener chose not to review the decision.
Thursday was not the first time Flower visited the match referee's room before after being angered by umpiring howlers. In South Africa four years ago he was angered when third umpire Daryl Harper did not give opposing skipper Graeme Smith out caught behind amid claims that he failed to hear an edge because he did not turn up the volume on his monitor. The ICC launched an investigation which concluded the sound feed was faulty.
Flower also demanded a clarification from Indian match referee Javagal Srinath in Dubai in January 2012 when Andrew Strauss was given out caught behind.