England furious as Harper's blunder costs crucial wicket

Official complaint will follow astonishing failure to turn on volume for referral of Smith catch

England intend to vent their fury at being denied a key wicket yesterday by making an official complaint to the match referee. The focus of their ire will be the Umpire Review System in general but elite umpire Daryl Harper in particular.

The tourists want the International Cricket Council and the world to know that they are extremely angry at a decision that may have undermined their chances of winning their Test series against South Africa. It could easily bring an adjournment or a termination to Harper's career at the top.

Harper, the third umpire in the fourth Test who is responsible for reviewing verdicts on TV replays, decided that South Africa's opening batsman, Graeme Smith, had not edged the ball when he was on 15.

Smith, who would go on to make a thunderous 105 to put his side in total command of the match, had already been given not out caught behind by the on-field umpire, Tony Hill. But so convinced were England that the noise they heard was the ball shaving Smith's bat that they immediately asked for a review.

It was to transpire that Harper had not turned up the volume on his stump microphone, presumably having neither properly taken in the protocol that was agreed for this series with regard to stump microphones nor seen This is Spinal Tap where the significance of turning up the volume to 11 was first outlined.

The England coach, Andy Flower, confirmed that he had twice been to see the match referee, Roshan Mahanama, about the incident. ''I first asked for clarification on the process and he explained that the match referee gets a different audio feed to Sky television,'' he said.

''We found out that wasn't correct and one audio feed is used for everyone, and the second time he said that Daryl Harper had not switched up the volume on his mic and that is why we have heard the nick but the third umpire hasn't. If it wasn't such a serious match for us I would have found it amusing, I think it's very disappointing. They said they did not deem it necessary to turn up the volume. It does not reflect well on the ICC.''

Smith meanwhile simply denied that he had hit it. ''There definitely was a noise but I didn't feel that I touched the ball,'' he said. It can happen, maybe I did, maybe I didn't. I thought it was my thumb on the handle.''

Flower had no argument with the original decision by one field umpire, Tony Hill, which allowed Smith his initial reprieve, saying: ''The umpire makes an honest decision based on what he sees and hears.''

But he found it difficult to understand the actions of Harper, who has made mistakes before both with and without technology. He is on the ICC's elite list but his status must be under threat if he loses the faith of the players.

''I have seen it and it is very clearly an edge,'' said Flower. ''There are a couple of things we find illogical. Number one is that we don't use the technology for no balls and there have been a couple of incidents when Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Smith have been out to no balls in this series.

''Number two is that Dave Richardson, the ICC cricket manager, and Roshan Mahanama before the series explained to us in the absence of a snickometer or hot spot they would use an increased volume on stump mic for catches behind, they would turn up the volume for referrals, and we find it very disappointing they deemed this unnecessary.''

Part of the problem, apart from Harper's apparent poor interpretation of the incident, is the lack of standardised technology. In the series between England and South Africa, the only aid for possible edged catches is the stump microphone, hardly conclusive evidence. But in the current series between Australia and Pakistan, officials have the use of Hot Spot, a gadget based on heat technology which shows whether ball did indeed make contact with bat.

Unfortunately, there are only four Hot Spot cameras in the world and the cost of using them in a series is in the region of £5m, well out of the reach of the impecunious South African Broadcasting Corporation, the rights holder in this series.

The only way to avoid embarrassments and to create a level playing field is for the ICC to pay the bills. Otherwise cricket will look dafter on many more occasions. Hot Spot is not foolproof – nothing is – but it would have done the trick yesterday.

England meanwhile have a match to save as well as technology to worry about.

Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing