Matt Prior hinted yesterday that England had started to lose faith in the use of technology in an Ashes series that has contained plenty of umpiring controversy.
Players from both teams have been perplexed at different times in the three Tests, during which umpires’ decisions have sometimes seemed to contradict the evidence of the Decision Review System.
On other occasions, Hot Spot, the heat-seeking device that should show when a batsman has edged the ball, seems to have failed in its job of detecting these slight nicks. Prior and his team-mates thought they had David Warner caught behind yesterday but the batsman was given not out and Hot Spot supported umpire Tony Hill’s decision.
“There was disbelief because he hit it, and that’s why we referred it,” said the England wicketkeeper. “We were adamant he had hit it and Snicko [which isn’t used as part of DRS because it takes too long to prepare] showed he had hit it. The decision didn’t go our way.
“It’s pretty frustrating for everyone at the moment. At no time will I ever be critical of an umpire on the field for making a wrong decision. Everyone makes mistakes in a day and things happen quickly.
“I’m a big fan of DRS, it works and it’s the way forward. But once you use a review, you have to get the decision right. Once it is passed to the third umpire, the decision that comes out has to be the right decision.
“Whether the technology needs to be looked at, or how they use it, I don’t know. For the players at the moment, that is the biggest frustration.”
The International Cricket Council will allow only neutral umpires to stand in Tests but Prior would back a return for home officials. He added: “I don’t care where the umpires come from as long as the right decision is made. That is the most important thing. The decisions have to be correct and that is the opinion of any player. Whether you play for England, Australia or any team, all you want is the right outcome.”
Umpires Hill and Marais Erasmus also came under fire from the Australia captain, Michael Clarke, for taking the players off for bad light at 4.25pm, even though the floodlights were on.
Spectators booed the decision before rain at 5pm prevented further awkwardness. Warner said: “Michael was a little bit annoyed because he felt it hadn’t changed in the previous half-hour but the umpires said it had.”