Hard-of-hearing Harper never heard
GRAEME SMITH was determined to play the big innings, the defining one of this match and ultimately the series and in doing so yesterday he displayed patience and determination.
Unfortunately it was an innings marred by a controversial review. England were adamant Smith had hit that ball when he threw his bat at a wide delivery from Ryan Sidebottom when he was on 15.
The third umpire – Daryl Harper – after viewing replays found there was nothing he could see or hear to make him change Tony Hill – the on-field official’s – decision.
It’s clear a mistake was made. Subsequent views of the decision indicated a noise, a snick. Was it human error or technical?
That’s for Inter national Cricket Council to ascertain.
Interestingly, before this series started, in the meeting the two sides had with the match referee, England’s coach Andy Flower, asked that because “hotspot” and “snicko” would not be used during the series, would the volume be turned up for the third umpire to enable him to hear any nicks, and was told by the match referee that would in fact be the case.
I understand Daryl Harper did not have the volume turned up sufficiently to enable him to hear the nick and therefore he missed a very audible sound from the effects microphone.
You could clearly hear it with the volume turned up.
Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, made a lovely analogy, saying that if you’re driving on the motorway and you can’t hear the music on the radio, don’t you turn up the volume?
Why then did Harper not turn up the volume to hear the effects?
That incident has papered over England’s troubled position in this match.
They are well behind the eight-ball, a bit like they were in Cape Town, and naturally they and everyone else will be wondering whether they can extricate themselves from another troubled position.
In that match they required a miraculous last wicket stand and an ice cold approach from Graham Onions to save the match in the last over. Onions is not playing here.
The problem for England in this Test though is that this pitch still has enough in it to produce a result even though the match has lost so many overs.
Today will be another examination of their character, thus far they have shown themselves to be resilient, do they have it in them do it one more time?