|The Ashes, Second Test
- Austrailians Walking to Victory
ISM's Vaughan stands his ground
|England's capitulation in the Second Test
did more than highlight the gulf between themselves and Australia.
It also served to prove that the third umpire might not be as reliable
an arbiter as many thought.
I refer to the first innings 'dismissal' of my ISM colleague
|Michael Vaughan. The Aussies
believed he was out, the crowd and those watching on television were
just as certain and the batsman probably thought he was on his way
back to the pavilion rather than heading towards a record 177.
Vaughan Stands His Ground
Michael was right to stand his ground if he thought there was an element
of doubt and the longer it took the third umpire to deliberate, the
the feeling that he too was not convinced Justin Langer had taken
Langer had no doubt and the way the Australians celebrated was a fairly
clear indication that they thought Michael's innings had ended when
just 19 on the board.
But there have been quite a few instances in the last year where what
been captured on video has not necessarily concurred with the belief
naked eye. Such was the case in Adelaide and Vaughan was given 'not
As you can imagine, the Australians were so overjoyed with the decision
that they decided to talk to Michael about it for quite some time
afterwards. It is a testimony to the Yorkshireman's attitude and class
that he remained unperturbed by the taunts, particularly from Langer,
throughout a long day.
And, of course, the Australians would have walked, wouldn't they?
a point I am sure Michael made to them as they sledged their way through
blizzard of verbals.
When a batsman receives a reprieve of that order, it is important
that they go on to make a score. But there is a difference in making
a decent figure and making 177, especially when it is against the
world's best bowling attack. Michael's innings was a masterpiece,
packed with aggressive intent and one that prompted several of the
Aussies to go into the England dressing room afterwards to offer their
congratulations. I don't think Langer was one of them.
The Use of Modern Technology
The only thing that was proved conclusively on that first day was
that modern technology is still not sufficiently advanced to be relied
on in those circumstances. Just how many cameras would be necessary
to cover every angle I'm not sure, but one thing is certain, if a
batsman thinks there is a doubt, he's not going to walk. Gone are
the days when that happened and today, throughout the world of cricket,
nobody leaves until given out.
When I first started in cricket, 75 per cent of all cricketers walked
when out caught behind. Not any more, batsman wait for the dreaded
finger to be raised before leaving the middle.
Michael was right to stay and the third umpire agreed with him so
the Aussies can have no cause for complaint. Getting Michael out on
the last ball of the day, however, gave them cause for celebration
and no wonder. His eventual dismissal was probably the game's turning
point. Had Michael been not out overnight, I'm sure the positive psychological
effect to the dressing room would have been enormous, he would probably
have added more the following day and England might not have collapsed
as quickly as they did. Unfortunately they were skittled out and once
Australia amassed a first innings lead of more than 200, there was
only ever going to be one winner.
So where do we go from here?
Unfortunately, Perth. If there is a pitch in the world which suits
Australia more than any other, then it's the one this week's Test
will be played on. It's hard, it's fast and it's bouncy and Australia
are used to it. The way things are shaping up, England will do well
to get a draw there.
Skipper Nasser Hussain must be wondering what on earth he has to
do to get a result because the only thing that's gone his way so
far is the toss. and the first time he won that, he opted to bowl
and paid the consequences. It's going to be any thing but easy.
even with the third umpire on his side.