For the DRS (Decision Review System) supporters, the Motera Test is a case in point, for the umpires had a forgettable day, often turning down close leg before appeals, some of them blatantly incorrect, while upholding the ones that would have missed the stumps.
For instance, Pragyan Ojha’s last ball of England’s 33rd over in the first innings to Alistair Cook. The ball pitched on middle and turned away slightly. Though the tall Cook was well forward, the ball hit him low on the pad and would have crashed into the leg. So nodded the Hawk Eye. But despite vociferous, and somewhat frantic, appeals, umpire Aleem Dar turned it down.
Nine overs later, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had Samit Patel almost plumb in front. The ball pitched in line and spun into Patel, whose cross-bat swipe wholly missed the ball. Since he wasn’t full forward, the height wasn’t an issue either. But Tony Hill deemed it otherwise.
But just when it seemed the umpires were staunchly averse to obliging lbw exhortations, Dar, among the best in the business came up with a howler. Umesh Yadav reverse swung the ball, often alarmingly, to both Tim Bresnan and Samit Patel, who fortuitously urvived. But the ball which ejected Patel was heading down the leg-side with the angle and had stuck him in front of the leg stump.
Dar again seemed to get it wrong when he adjudged a counter-attacking Stuart Broad lbw off Zaheer Khan, when the ball seemed like darting down the leg.
Later or the day, perhaps the most vital of refusals, Dar disapproved of Ojha’s plead when Cook (then on 41) missed a sweep. Replays showed it was heading to knock the middle and leg, and the Indians were visibly livid, and for the umpteenth time since its inception, sparked the protracted debate over standardizing DRS, which the BCCI are dead against.
But DRS has a sympathiser in Matt Prior. “If there is technology out there which helps and aids in making split-second decisions, then why wouldn’t you use it? We have seen a number of series in which it has worked very well. It’s not about trying to sneak wickets using technology but about eradicating major errors.
“Some decisions went against us, some against India whatever. If there is a technology available and available in every series, I personally think you should have it,” he opined.