Hard-of-hear­ing Harper never heard

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MATTHEW HOG­GARD re­views yes­ter­day’s sec­ond day of the fourth Test at the Wan­der­ers

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?

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