Umpiring again a hot topic as Australia wins first Ashes Test

Radio Sport,,
Publish Date
Tue, 6 Aug 2019, 6:28PM
Umpire Joel Wilson rules Jonny Bairstow out after the ball hits his glove. (Photo / Getty)

Umpiring again a hot topic as Australia wins first Ashes Test

Radio Sport,,
Publish Date
Tue, 6 Aug 2019, 6:28PM

The umpiring farce that plagued the first Ashes Test — which Australia won by 251 runs — reached a historic low on day five as the officials continued their calamitous run of decision-making.

Each of the first four days had seen umpires Aleem Dar and Joel Wilson come under fire for incorrect calls and it didn't take long on the final day for them to give critics even more ammunition.

England captain Joe Root was at the centre of it all.

Firstly, Wilson raised his finger when James Pattinson appealed for LBW after striking Root on the pad with a full delivery. To the naked eye it looked to be sliding down the leg side and that was shown to be the case when the England skipper reviewed the decision.

Hawkeye showed the Dukes was comfortably missing leg stump and Root survived, before he was called into action again to review another Wilson blunder.

Later in the session Peter Siddle thought he had Root LBW and the umpire agreed. This time the Poms' best batsman openly laughed as he signalled for a review straight away.

He got a thick inside edge and again Wilson was forced to overturn his decision.

In commentary for Sky Sports, Aussie legend Shane Warne said: "He's put his finger up twice this morning, Joel Wilson, and both times you would say they weren't the best decisions. AKA, a shocker."

Iconic cricket commentator Jim Maxwell told the BBC: "He (Wilson) is not up to Test match standard, no doubt about it. Some of these decisions haven't even been good guesses."

The second Root decision meant Wilson made history for all the wrong reasons. He had eight decisions overturned upon review for the Test match, equalling the record for most decisions overruled by one umpire in a Test.

Dar was also criticised for saying Root played a shot when struck on the pad by a Nathan Lyon delivery that would have gone on to hit the stumps. Root was struck outside the line of off stump — and if you're playing a shot in that instance you should not be given out — but he hid his bat behind his pad and few believed the captain was genuinely trying to hit the ball.

The Aussies thought about reviewing but when Dar gestured that Root was playing a shot, they thought they would not be able to reverse the call and so left it alone.

"My goodness Aleem that is NOT a shot," former Australian seamer Trent Copeland wrote on Twitter as others in the Twittersphere piled on.

Even the series' official sponsor Specsavers sledged the officials, saying there were free eye tests available near the ground.

Adding another layer to the embarrassment is Wilson is scheduled to be the third umpire for the second Test at Lord's while Dar will be the on-field official. Wilson is then scheduled to be back on the field for the third Test.

Speaking after play, Root said it was unfair to be too harsh on the umpires because everyone in cricket makes mistakes.

"Players make bad decisions sometimes and as a result lose their wicket or get smacked out of the attack," Root said. "I think it's very easy to over-criticise and to point the finger.

"I think sometimes you've got to respect and understand they're under as much pressure as the players.

"They might have got a fair few decisions wrong this game but that's all part and parcel of cricket. That's why DRS is there, to overturn those wrong ones.

"Thankfully it was there in this game."

Earlier in the Test match former Australian captain Ricky Ponting suggested one way to improve the standard of officiating was to get rid of the rule saying only neutral umpires are able to take control of Test matches.

It means Australian and English umpires are ineligible to stand in Ashes Tests but Ponting said that's an outdated notion that should be changed.

"I would like to think the game has come far enough now for the game to not have neutral umpires," Ponting told

"People might say that with all the technology we've got now, it doesn't matter that much. But it's not a good spectacle when pretty obviously wrong decisions are made.

"There's been a lot a negativity about the DRS over the years, but we're pretty lucky that we had it last night.

"It's already been spoken about a lot among the players. If it's not brought up (at that next MCC meeting), I'll make sure it's added to the agenda.

"Surely (English umpire) Richard Kettleborough and the like would want to be umpiring the best series. The best umpires can end up missing out on all the big tournaments.

"It could force umpires into retirement a bit early as well when someone like (former Australian umpire) Simon Taufel is spending most of his life (abroad), which is a bit harder than spending your time in Australia."


Radio Sport Mornings

Radio Sport Mornings

9AM - 12PM