Swann admits messing up use of reviews
Thursday 17 December 2009
By their own admission – they had little choice since the evidence was incontrovertible – England made a botch of using the review system on the first day of the first Test. It may be an instructive lesson and it may also be too late.
Graeme Swann, the off-spin bowler whose request for a review for a catch behind was the second and last of England's permitted requests, said: "We could have used the review system differently. We messed it up again. We keep messing it up. It's one of those things but we have got to get better."
On a day which made it clear that the Decision Review System will have a profound effect on the way Test cricket is played, England initially adopted a cautious approach. They might have asked for three shouts for lbw to be looked at again but sensibly decided to keep their powder dry.
Then in the afternoon, fast bowler Jimmy Anderson asked for an lbw appeal against eventual centurion Kallis to be re-examined and Swann and wicketkeeper Matt Prior were convinced that AB de Villiers had edged an attempted slog sweep to the keeper.
In justifying England's actions, Swann said: "We all thought the lbw was out, had a quick conflab and it wasn't. Then came the caught behind. We all knew it was out but it wasn't because the system said it wasn't. We said that we weren't going to call for catches behind unless we were certain and everyone round the bat was certain. The system as it is proved inconclusive. If we'd had Snicko and Hot Spot it might have been different. Once again we have wasted our appeals."
England could consider themselves unlucky with the second appeal although they knew of the limited technology available. It is also the case that lbws, odd as it may seem, are easier to determine than faintly-edged catches close to the wicket. De Villiers might have got a touch, he might not.
Swann insisted that England had not made a mistake in bowling first although they took only four South Africa wickets in 90 overs as the pitch eased under the sun.
"We were well within our rights to bowl, the way the pitch looked yesterday and this morning and the stats back up the fact that bowling first can be very lucrative," he said. "Had a couple of the balls that kept low cannoned into the stumps we could have been in a much different situation."
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