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Umpires need to take time over decisions

Jonathan Agnew | 14:06 UK time, Wednesday, 5 December 2007

This was a tremendous Test match, with both teams having their share of control and pressure, but it was won by the more consistent of the two over the five days.

England so nearly hung on thanks to Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara (who played really well in only his second test innings and was unfortunate to be given out lbw) and Matt Prior. The last five wickets using 68 overs compared to the 26 overs of the first five top order batsmen.

It was a great shame that umpire Asad Rauf’s poor decision to see off Ryan Sidebottom with about half an hour of light left should add a touch of controversy to the climax...

All umpires make mistakes, but Mr Rauf made more than he should in this game, and he needs to take more time in reaching his decisions. His finger is up in a flash, and a little more consideration might have prevented him from dismissing Sidebottom lbw when the ball deflected off his bat into his pad.

But that was not why England lost the test: for that they need to look closely at their attack – as we discussed yesterday – and get more runs on the board.

The question of the bowling will probably take care of itself because Matthew Hoggard looks most unlikely to be fit for Sunday’s second Test.

He was unable to bowl or field, and had to bat with a runner.

Michael Vaughan has conceded that he is struggling to make it, so there will have to be one change among the pacemen.

This can only be a choice between Steve Harmison and Stuart Broad – one experienced, but fallible, the other has not played a Test match.

At least both have some pace and height because England must find something to knock Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene off their strides.

If they can, there is definitely an air of fallibility about Sri Lanka’s batting line up, which will be without Sanath Jayasuriya from now on.

The disappointing aspect of England’s batting in the second innings was that they allowed the seam bowlers to take the first five wickets in conditions that offered them nothing apart from a nasty shooter which disposed of Kevin Pietersen.

On the plus side, Muttiah Muralitharan was made to bowl 31 overs before taking a wicket.

Whether that suggests England have worked out how to play him, or if it was merely a hangover from his record-breaking feat earlier in the game, we will discover in Colombo.

Roll on Sunday!

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 02:48 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • seasgaich wrote:

Well done again, Jonathan. Once the dust has settled on these matches, you consistently avoid being consumed by the blame culture or lured into over-egging the excuses.
I myself am a qualified umpire, and, albeit a far cry from test match level, I know just how hard it can be to adjudge a decision when confronted by screaming cricketers.
As for the debates over Murali and Sangakkara, I am amazed that aficionados of this wonderful game cannot simply accept that these boys are terrific players, capable of replicating the basics of the game on a highly consistent level, and occasionally managing sparks of utter brilliance that lifts them above others.
England played well, but probably did not get the first of these right consistently enough in this game, but well played both teams, and, as you say, roll on the next match!

  • 2.
  • At 02:50 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • david wrote:

I feel that the bowling attack minus Hoggard is to inexperienced in these conditions for England to do any damage.Also over recent times it never seems that 3 batsman get in and score heavily at one time.So although being pessismistic i do feel that we will lose another series.

Two on the trot now!

However on a more postive side they did show alot of fight on the last day.

  • 3.
  • At 02:52 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • SM wrote:

Umpire Rauf just made the one bad decision and that was Sidey.

England didn't lose the match because of that and realistically they lost the match the moment Murali got rid of both the set batters in Belly and Prior.

Umpires do make mistakes every now and then and these things always even out. Prior edged one to the keeper Jayawardena earlier on in his innings off Murali (TV replays confirmed this) and was not given by umpire Dar. Overall both umpires had a decent game!

In my opinion the difference between the two teams was one man and that man was Kumar Sangakkara. Had England dismissed him early on in the first morning things would have been very different.

So there is no need to cry about umpiring decisions as to win against Sri Lanka England need to do two things well and that is find a way to get Sangakkara out early and also play Murali succefully!

  • 4.
  • At 02:53 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Mark Peile wrote:

Agree with you Aggers on the Sidebottom issue. I hope that we take a view over the 5 days why we didnt win rather than just blame Upmire Rauf for what was a poor decision in all honesty (but they do give what thhey see and Im not blaming him, whilst it is still disappointing).

So where did we lose it and how can we chamnge things....

Cook - walking wicket for Vaas but need to show faith in him.

Will Pieterson be fit becuase of his broken finger - hope so...

Bopara justified his selection in my view and was unlucky to be snapped up in the 1st innings and a dubious decision in the 2nd...

Do we play Swann instead of Hoggard - Id say yes and have Swann at 8, Sidebottom and Anderson, 9, 10, with Monty 11.

Still have the bowling of Collingwood and Bopara to ease the burden on the seamers. Just think Swann is the better all round option of scoring runs and looks as capable of taking wickets as Broad or Harmison does...

Lets hope the gane is half as good as this one has been...but this time an England win.

Keep the faith boys!

  • 5.
  • At 02:59 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • GWH wrote:

Pretty fair analysis although more should be made of Bopara's dismissal than Sidebottom's, Bopara was more likely to bat for longer!!

Jayasuriya with a side arm from round the wicket to a right hander needs to turn it square to have any hope of getting a decision!!

Still, England had 2 dimensions, swing and spin and desperately need a Broad or Harmison to extract any kind of bounce! They weren't good enough, Sri Lanka were the better team - Bell made up for his dropped catched but the openers proving weak. Long gone are the Strauss/Tresco days where 50 would come up for none on a regular basis!!!!

  • 6.
  • At 03:04 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Ken Cooper wrote:

Isn't it time we had a similar system as in tennis to allow batsmen a limited right of appeal to Video evidence, (eg one an innings and if correct, still available)- a bad decision spoilt a good rearguard defence.

  • 7.
  • At 03:19 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • James Adam wrote:

I agree with SM, the umpires had a decent game and there were also decisions in England's favour. I hate this mentality in English sport, each time we fail in any sport we always seem to find some sort of silly excuse. I blame the media for this mentality.

  • 8.
  • At 03:20 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Chadders wrote:

To be fair to Aggers, I don't think he is blaming the umpire for the loss of the game, but for simply making decisions he shouldn't have. They can have an impact, but by far the bigger impact in this match were the low contributions of senior batsmen to the score.

Sri Lanka were deserved winners, fair play to them.

Is Tremlett not an option over Broad or Harmy? I thought he didn't have a bad summer. Or perhaps Swann, as they say it may be more spin-friendly in Colombo?

Why they didn't pick Owais to start the series I won't know... but now they've picked Ravi, I say they should stick with him for the remainder of the series.

  • 9.
  • At 03:22 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Paul Grunill - BBC Sport wrote:

Ken (message 3) - I'm with you 100%. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A29854696

  • 10.
  • At 03:26 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Englands top order have got to really take a long hard look at themseleves. Apart from bell none of them have gone past 50 after getting themseleves set. Some poor shot selection today from englands batters. IMO there will be at 2 changes for the next test, 1 enforced hoggard out for either harminson or broad and i also think that anderson will be dropped. When we desperately needed to keep it tight yesterday he was going at over 5 runs an over, so expect swann to come in for him or broad or harminson.

  • 11.
  • At 03:34 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Beamer wrote:

We just need to go back to Ind-Eng test series where Tendulkar was wrongly given out couple of times by some of the best umpires in the world and Aggers was quick to defend them. But when Eng are on the receiving end he is quick to point out umpiring fault.... I guess its time for introspection for Eng team not about decisions

  • 12.
  • At 03:45 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Mark Woodward wrote:

Depending on the pitch obviously, I would bring Swann in for Hoggy and Harmison (if fit enough)/ Broad (if Harmy's not fit) in for Anderson. Unfortunately Anderson has once again proved he is not a quality enough operator at test match level. I'm not knocking his effort but in test match cricket, where the batsmen don't have to play, he is simply not quick or canny enough to do any damage, especially following Sidebottom and Hoggy. So if the pitch looks like it will turn I'd bring in Swann as he adds another option lower down the order as well (would we have made it if he was batting 8?).

  • 13.
  • At 03:53 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • No1samuk wrote:

Dear Seasgaish

Sir Weldone for your mail.Dear Jonathan pls do not take this beautiful game away because of that LBW. Tell me if Srilanla face same situation you may called is sorry thats cricket. We need to keep this game up. England you have fight like a 3 Lions in another Lions country. Best wins

  • 14.
  • At 04:03 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • johnstevens wrote:

No doubt England threw away a golden opportunity here and there are many "what ifs" and "if onlys", but the person I feel really sorry for is Owais Shah. A couple of years ago he played brilliantly on debut and helped England to a memorable win in Mumbai. He looked confident, composed and stylish, and made for Test cricket. His reward? Just one further opportunity, through a period where England's batting against any decent opposition has been flaky in the extreme (if I'm less kind, it's been awful). It's a huge contrast from the treatment of players like Cook and Bell, who regularly fail then score a relatively meaningless half century yet seem to be given chance after chance (for me, the hundreds they scored against the West Indies last summer just papered over the cracks in their games). What makes me really sad is that this seems to have got to Shah, as reflected in his nervy performance and Lord's earlier in the year - a total contrast to the player we saw in Mumbai. It would be lovely to see him given a run in the side, and told as much, so he's not paralysed by fear of failure. But I fear it might already be too late. What a waste.

  • 15.
  • At 04:10 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Ian S wrote:

With so much for the umpires to think about with an LBW in only a split-second, some form of third-umpire referral should be allowed.

The bat-pad area is the busiest area for consideration, and also the farthest point from the umpire. TV replays can very quickly show whether the bat has struck the ball first or not and so I feel that if in the mind of the umpire all other LBW criteria are satisfied, he should be able to ask upstairs whether the bat has made contact with the ball.

If a player knows he hasn't hit it, he can walk off and so the game will not be delayed any more than necessary to obtain the correct decision.

This probably would not have saved England (Sidebottom is a tailender after all and liable to get out at any time) but would save any controversy.

  • 16.
  • At 04:12 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Mark Fletcher wrote:

The choice between Broad and Harmison is an interesting one. I feel that Broad is the one to go with as he bowled well in the ODI series and is an excellent bat. The other option is to go with Swann, who also bowled and batted well in the ODI's. Anderson always looks better when given the responsibility of taking the new ball and, unless the pitch looks particularly seem friendly one could make a case for Collingwood/Bopara/Vaughan sharing the 5th bowler role.

  • 17.
  • At 04:17 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Mark Fletcher wrote:

The choice between Broad and Harmison is an interesting one. I feel that Broad is the one to go with as he bowled well in the ODI series and is an excellent bat. The other option is to go with Swann, who also bowled and batted well in the ODI's. Anderson always looks better when given the responsibility of taking the new ball and, unless the pitch looks particularly seem friendly one could make a case for Collingwood/Bopara/Vaughan sharing the 5th bowler role.

  • 18.
  • At 04:20 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Suresh Lalvani wrote:

Ryan Sidebottom got a howler today from Umpire Asad Rauf, and Bopara was also unlucky.

Both Rudi Koertzen and Billy Doctrove made crucial umpiring errors on Monday 3rd December
with India suffering against Pakistan.

ICC should come clean on Umpiring errors. Otherwise Umpiring won't improve.

The 95% Umpiring success rate which ICC promotes is distorted. It takes into account frivolous appeals. As a qualified satistician I would suggest the correct Umpiring success rate figure is 75% for 'real' decisions.

  • 19.
  • At 04:20 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Gary wrote:

I think that they should go for swann at 8 and maybe take out anderson for harmison but only if he is 100% fit as jimmy went for 24 and had bad figures at the end of the 2nd innings bopara good selection but think we rely too heavily on flitoff

  • 20.
  • At 04:21 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Paul Andrews wrote:

Well done to the Sri Lankans and particularly their batsmen whose second innings performance was the key difference.

It is a pity that so often in match saving situations for England the top order batsmen disappoint. OK they didn't at the Oval but in general they should do better.

All in all I feel it is still a sad sad day for cricket when the leader wicker taker in test matches is a player who cannot bowl according to the rules of the game. Cricket is defined by the principle of bowling with a straight arm, birth 'defect' or not, if a bowler cannot bowl according to this law they should not play the game. Already at my cricket club young Asian bowlers are mimicking Murali's bowling action.

I will cheer the bowler who one day overtakes Murali, wherever he hails from.

  • 21.
  • At 04:22 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

I agree with the last correspondent in that Anderson has to go as he is simply not good enough. I would have picked Harmison for this Test anyway as for all his problems he is a wicket taker unlike Anderson. So its both Harmison and Broad for me in the next Test with Shah back for Bopara. It would also help if our top order started making some runs

  • 22.
  • At 04:26 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Paul Andrews wrote:

Well done to the Sri Lankans and particularly their batsmen whose second innings performance was the key difference.

It is a pity that so often in match saving situations for England the top order batsmen disappoint. OK they didn't at the Oval but in general they should do better.

All in all I feel it is still a sad sad day for cricket when the leader wicker taker in test matches is a player who cannot bowl according to the rules of the game. Cricket is defined by the principle of bowling with a straight arm, birth 'defect' or not, if a bowler cannot bowl according to this law they should not play the game. Already at my cricket club young Asian bowlers are mimicking Murali's bowling action.

I will cheer the bowler who one day overtakes Murali, wherever he hails from.

  • 23.
  • At 04:30 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Shridhar wrote:

Well done Asad for it has finally made someone like Agnews - who is a old fashioned man and believes that umpires are right even if they are wrong - think otherwise.

Doesnt it hurt when your country ends up in the wrong side ? What happened to all that Gospel on Umpires are part and parcel of the game and that it all evens out or that its charming (sic) ?

About time we realize that the odds of getting all LBW's right are as good as someone hitting the bullseye in a shooting competition everytime.

BTW a certain Dickie Bird used to have the same draw as Asad
Rauf (if not faster) and used to be adored . Has that changed ?

Right again Aggers...

Umpires at all levels are called upon to make split second decisions and get some wrong - from the dizzy heights of Village Cricket right the way down to the murky depths of Tests.
Huge pressure is put on the officials, particularly when frankly ridiculous appeals are screamed at them and so few batsmen walk when they are out... I have never bought the old cliche that you should stay and things even up in the end - equally as a bowler (well, of sorts) I never ask unless I am very sure it is out. A few less bat-pad appeals would not hurt...
It is not only the players who watch the VT, the Umpires do too, and the good ones learn from their errors. I hope Rauf looks at the replay and the more balanced comments and learns from them. That way he will continue to improve and earn the respect of the players. Even Shep and Dickie Bird made the odd howler. Rauf did not lose the game for England - they did that all by themselves when they lost their top order inside 25 overs..

  • 25.
  • At 04:39 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Charles Douthit wrote:

Apart from the umpires giving more thought to their decisions I think that,having watched the Sri Lankan bowlers, umpires should watch the bowlers.
In two cases, there is apparent evidence of them throwing the ball, especially in the last clip played on the BBC news 24. Also in that clip, the bowlers back leg was well out of the bowling crease and a "no ball" should have been called and the bowler warned off for "pitching" the ball. Rujn it through in slow motion and you will see what I mean. Failing to take action makes one wonder if political correctness is at play and whether the performance of the Pakistani players on their UK tour have instilled trepidation into the umpires.

  • 26.
  • At 04:46 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Ed Whyatt wrote:

I would be tempted to shake up the team some way. The top order is entitled to have a bad day from time to time, all of the top 5 having proved themselves quality performers before.

Although disappointed we couldn't hold out, I was very pleased for Prior. He was beginning to look shot of all batting confidence. No doubt another failure would have had the vultures circling him, but he showed real grit in his stand with Bell. He had a point to prove to the media and to himself, and he almost saw the team home.

As far as the bowling goes, I would be inclined to drop Anderson as well as replacing the injured Hoggard. He is no more reliable or consistent than Harmison, but does not get the criticism that he (Harmy) receives due to a lack of expectation. Trying not to disrespect the man, we (the public and media) just don't expect Jimmy Anderson to take 5-fors, like we do with Harmy so relative failures go unnoticed.

I would therefore play both Harmy and Broad in the next game - a little bit of variation with the confidence of youth that Broad brings (plus being able to hold a bat) will wake up this team a bit. My final place would come down to a 3-way between Bopara, Shah and Swann depending on the wicket. Shah did excellently in India the other year, Bopara has the place and did not "fail" but if it spins, Swann could provide more support to Panesar than Vaughan or KP do.

And if someone could roll a cricket ball under Murali's feet that would help a bit to.

  • 27.
  • At 04:47 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Charles Douthit wrote:

Apart from the umpires giving more thought to their decisions I think that,having watched the Sri Lankan bowlers, umpires should watch the bowlers.
In two cases, there is apparent evidence of them throwing the ball, especially in the last clip played on the BBC news 24. Also in that clip, the bowlers back leg was well out of the bowling crease and a "no ball" should have been called and the bowler warned off for "pitching" the ball. Rujn it through in slow motion and you will see what I mean. Failing to take action makes one wonder if political correctness is at play and whether the performance of the Pakistani players on their UK tour have instilled trepidation into the umpires.

  • 28.
  • At 04:49 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • No1samuk wrote:

Dear Paul
If you are waiting to cheer another bowler who psss Muralis record I do not think thats going to happen so soon You may have to long wait

  • 29.
  • At 05:02 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • paul wrote:

meh, umpiring decisions even out.

as to the bowling selection, should we not look at 2 spinners for colombo? the seamers got nothing out of the pitch and are likely to find even less of assistance for them in the next match.

attack of:

swann
broad
sidebottom
monty

anderson showed no control and relies too much on swing, harmison will be all over the place again and on a pitch where the sri lankans typically notch up 700 he'd see them do it in a day.

sidebottom while not dangerous showed good control and broad offers something different with his height and may get some uneven bounce ala fernando in this match.

this also means our first no.11 comes in at no.11 for a change.

  • 30.
  • At 05:06 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

I cannot see the need for another summariser on TMS. Why do we need Simon Hughes.

He is the only person I have ever had to switch off in all the years listening to TMS. Ughh.

  • 31.
  • At 05:20 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Abdullah wrote:

i think to blame england lose on umpire rauf is totally pre mature of Jonathan

i think he must review that england played not that well
they batsmen cant apply themselves in the last innings

we saw Pakistan save a test match...
and they were in the same position as england
but still they manged because senior players came to the rescue

england senior players such as pietersen Vaughan and collingwood should had decided that they will stay at crease and save the match

ohk the decision came at the wrong time for england but still england need to learn from their mistakes and all

good luck england in the next match

hope asad rauf isn't there
so england would win

  • 32.
  • At 05:26 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Shane Kissoon wrote:

The post mortem of England's loss must be punctuated,even slighlty, that umpiring decisions went against England. What about the India and West Indies series last year when the "Rub of the Green" definitely went with England, especially against the WI.

Let's face it, England are a shadow of the team that regained the ashes and they may never hit those heoghts again given their lack of quality bowling options.

If you ask me, technology should have been brought into the game 10 years ago. It is the countries on top the world rankings who do not see the need for technology so that the status quo can be maintained.

  • 33.
  • At 05:29 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • RT wrote:

Aggers happily justified all the ridiculous decisions that went against India in the series against England, but when one goes against England, he is the first to raise his finger. Typical hypocrisy...

  • 34.
  • At 05:55 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Wayne Gillespie wrote:

johnstevens: Cook and Bell must be delighted to 'regularly fail' with test averages of 44 and 42 respectively. Just think what they could achieve when they finally learn how to bat.

  • 35.
  • At 06:12 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • david young wrote:

Please don't pick the awful Harmison for the second test! Why so many complaints about our attack?Not many sides including Australia,have bowled out Sri Lanka so cheaply as we did in the first innings.It's the batting we should really be worried about.

  • 36.
  • At 06:53 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Tayyab wrote:

"Umpires need to take time over decisions"
Well time is not the factor here , they[umpires] only have one shot and even if they are allowed to have a whole day for making decision they may still get it wrong.
What an irony : viewers watching tv have all the angles and replays where as the poor folks who are responsible for making a decision only have one go and that too with naked eye.
With all the media madness around ICC should seriously think about adopting some mechanism like that being used in tennis. May be 3 appeals per side per inning, or something like that.
"Both Rudi Koertzen and Billy Doctrove made crucial umpiring errors on Monday 3rd December
with India suffering against Pakistan."
And ganguly also got a couple of life lines by umpires, and in the previous test with india 5 down dhoni got away with a plumb LBW shout .
My point here s simple. How can we blame umpires if we don't provide them with suitable technology. Otherwise ....well .... remember Mr ponting Aus/SL 2nd test! [that was funny]

  • 37.
  • At 06:56 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • ghouse wrote:

Jonathan I had some regard for you but when it comes to defeat you seem to cry foul.You have to admit that umpires make mistakes and some are poor on the uptake so a delay in deciding while some others make quick decisions.Just because its a quick decision doesnt mean its not a good decision.Jonathan you should also understand it works both ways remember when Koertzen gave a dubious decision to send back Sangakkara back to the pavilion when SL played the Aussies in the recent test?It was taken in the correct spirit.
Please try an analysis of what went wrong with the Englishman than to post a headline criticising the umpires.
No doubt you have every right to find fault with the umpires if you feel they have not done justice,but please make it as a comment in the article, but kindly avoid using it as a "heading"because if you do it will imply that you are finding lame
excuses for England's defeat.

Cheer up Cheer up my friend England could make a comeback in Colombo so all not lost.

  • 38.
  • At 07:10 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Tom Robertson wrote:

A debate on the difficulties of umpiring masks the unpalatable fact that yet again the England batting order failed to deliver, despite several decent starts. You would have thought that watching Sangakkara for a few hours would have given them all the clues to succeed they needed. I bet that if he were English he would now be in Owais Shah's position. Shah looked a real class act to me before the selectors started messing about.

  • 39.
  • At 07:10 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

Good article Aggers.
I agree that all umpires make mistakes and this should not distract from what was a great test match. My point is, however, that all the close fielders would have been completely aware of the fact that Ryan edged the ball but still all appealed. Surely that is wrong and they should take the blame. All teams do it but it is inexcusable. Some people say its good to pressurise the umpires. I'd rather be a honest loser thanks.

  • 40.
  • At 07:33 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Micheal Donald wrote:

Aggers have never heard you credit other countries when they are at the short end of the stick by English umpires.

Mate either speak up every time injustice occurs or stay quite every time. Just remember everybody deserves justice, we aren't the only ones entitled to it.

  • 41.
  • At 07:36 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Mo Husen wrote:

To discuss bad umpiring decisions look no further than Tendulkar & Ganguly's dismissals on the last England tour.
We in England are very partisan when it comes to discussing umpiring decisions.
"He can only give what he sees", "it evens out over the series", "you just have to accept & get on with it" are normally the comments one hears from commentators when it is against the opposition but not when it is against the England team.

  • 42.
  • At 07:45 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • darren wrote:

After watching this test match .I think a few changes need to made for the second test .Anderson he went for something like 128 off 23 overs over 5.50 an over .

cook
vaughan
bell
pietersen
collingwood
bopara
prior
broad
harmison
sidebottom
monty .

Your thoughts??

  • 43.
  • At 08:06 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • JimDavis wrote:

Can Warwickshire lay any claim to part of Sanga's recent success?

He has been a joy to watch these last 2 tests.

  • 44.
  • At 08:10 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • ivantheterrible wrote:

..so i read that matt prior is now as good as adam gilchrist after one decent innings...let him do it consistently before we start raving..he may be no1 with the mouth but has long way to go before he can be compared with gilchrist..even boucher

  • 45.
  • At 08:14 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Manju wrote:

Hello Paul,

Here's the definition of bowling action:

"A ball is fairly delivered in respect of the arm if, once the bowler's arm has reached the level of the shoulder in the delivery swing, the elbow joint is not straightened partially or completely from that point until the ball has left the hand. This definition shall not debar a bowler from flexing or rotating the wrist in the delivery swing."

The ICC tested all bowlers using video footage during Champions Trophy in 2004. They found that 99.9% of bowlers flex their elbow to some degree. Therefore they decided to allow a 15 degree flex for all bowlers.

I think you should read the laws of cricket and familiarise yourself with the situation before commenting on the issue. Laws of Cricket does not say that you have to bowl with a straight arm, all it says is that you cannot extend the elbow joint by more than 15 degrees after the arm reaches shoulder level during delivery swing.

It has been proven that it is nearly impossible to deliver a ball without extending your elbow at least by a small (invisible) bit. You may be doing more harm than good by trying to get young kids to bowl according to the rules as you understand them. Please don’t wreck their futures!

  • 46.
  • At 08:26 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

It's very strange Aggers, but I spent some time this morning listening to you and your colleagues saying how both umpires had had excellent matches. Now you are judging one of them by one - that's right, one - dodgy decision. Oh well I suppose "both umpires done well" doesn't make for good BBC copy these days.

  • 47.
  • At 08:32 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • neil wrote:

You guys are such sore losers. You had an advantage and then blew it by letting Lanka off in the second innings and failing to take a big big lead after the first innings. You got what you deserve, no point complaining about one umpiring mistake in the dark, If we were to do that then England's only achievement in cricket this decade (the ashes) must surely be called into question for poor umpiring as well.

  • 48.
  • At 08:37 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Big L wrote:

Did England deserve to draw the Test Match? Were they the better or equal team?

The answer to both questions are no! There should be no sour grapes that they lost this test match.

I so would have loved Vaughan to be Hoggard's runner, it would have been such a strong message, the captain there with the last soldiers on the battlefield. What a source of inspiration it could have been.

Umpires do make mistakes is anyone in England complaining that Vaughan wasn't given out lbw in the 1st innings to Malinga? The TMS boys were saying that it was plumb! Or that Prior snicked Murali behind but Dar ruled not out. What I do agree is that Rauf's decision was the most obvious of the erroneous decisions.

My England XI for the SSC

Cook
Vaughan
Bell
Pietersen
Collingwood
Bopara
Prior
Swann
Sidebottom
Broad
Panesar

Credit to Prior he did well for a man under such pressure.

I am immensly sad that Jayasuriya is retiring, I would have hoped that he could have (at least) retired after this series, he is a legend and a man who genuinely shaped the game amongst his peers I'd argue that only Warne, Tendulkar, Ambrose, Wasim, Gilchrist, Lara and Muralitharan have had a similar influence, in the one day game only Afridi comes close.

  • 49.
  • At 09:03 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • cricket wrote:

agree because asad stuck his finger up withouth thinking what the ball might have done.

  • 50.
  • At 09:15 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • clive jone wrote:

no surpise blaming the umpire when england should have done better in there 1st innings but that want all england teams like to do blame someone apart from themselves

  • 51.
  • At 09:18 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • omar nawaz wrote:

Sangakkara suffered a poor decision in Australia by Rudi when he was closing on his double century but for all that Sri Lanka did not make it an excuse for losing. Jayasuriya's decision on replay showed that the ball was pitching outside the line of the leg stump (in the mood that he was in, one shudders to think of what mayhem he could have caused!). These are imponderables. It was simply a fantastic match and we look forward to another in Colombo. Both teams are rebuilding and consolidating so this time around there should be no excuses whatsoever!

  • 52.
  • At 09:25 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • ben wrote:

Its not whining if the ref gets it wrong, its just poor sport to watch.
The tennis idea is great. The RWC final was pretty much decided by a correct video ref decision.(unfortunately!!!)
Footy and cricket really need to grow up and optimise their decision making.

  • 53.
  • At 09:26 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I agree (Big L - 48) with your team selection, but if that's battening order Broad ahead of Sidebottom.

Tough call between Bopara and Shah, but if they've picked Ravi, I think they should stick with Ravi. Shah is a great player though.

I think Broad and Sidey to open, maybe Bopara or Collingwood at first change, then bring in spin from both ends with Panesar and Swann.

Didn't get to see any of the match, unfortunately, but Anderson's figures aren't looking good. Not sure about Harmison's fitness, and I'd give Broad a go, just because he has been great in ODIs (India at home, SL away.)

  • 54.
  • At 09:47 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Naomal De Silva wrote:

Watching the match from down under it was a gripping finale. As for the umpiring it can go both way. I felt Sanath Jayasooriya’s LBW in the second innings was very marginal ( as commented by many). Imagine if he stayed and got stuck in to the bowlers , England could have been chasing even a bigger target. When S/L played last month in Australia, Sanath again got a poor decision in Brisbane caught behind by Rudy Koertzen, and of course Rudy did it again ( which he apologised to Sangakkara) in the second test in Hobart which could have also been a decisive factors in the match outcome. I guess we have to move on and there will always be mistakes more than once made by umpires. The only way you can minimise these would be to refer to the third umpire if in doubt and use technology to its best potential. Hope ICC will have the guts to implement such measures and change the rule books for the betterment of the gentleman’s game which we have enjoyed all along.

  • 55.
  • At 09:50 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Viren wrote:

When Tendulkar gets a bad decision, its the nature of the game, but when sidebottom gets the bad decision, its a controversy. I was supporting England, but hate it when we always blame refereeing for losing, but skill every time for winning. It works both ways

  • 56.
  • At 09:59 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Chris Marshall wrote:

Excellent article again Jonathan, but I would have liked to see a little more praise for Matt Prior's innings. The guy has been criticed roundly (and rightly) recently for too much talking and not enough action. If anyone apart from Bell typified the response Vaughan asked for this morning then it was Prior, particularly because he played an innings totally different to his normal style of play. I'm not a Prior fan in particular, but I do believe England need a wicketkeeper who can contribute with the bat, and without giving the likes of Ambrose a shot in a one day series at the expense of Prior or Mustard I don't see England picking a novice at test match level. New Zealand away in the new year would possibly be an opportunity, but has Prior not secured his place with his most mature innings yet?

  • 57.
  • At 10:26 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • jagbal wrote:

I am a big fan of Vaughn, England team fought so hard against so many odds,my heart goes out for them "security concerns, weather, food,playing against 13 players and not complaining @ the end of the day.This team is very talented,once Fredie is back they will be in same category as Australia.

  • 58.
  • At 10:34 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Ratbadger wrote:

Today saw the better team win (albeit, as always, with huge assistance of the dubious actioned leading test wicket taker).

The decisions which went against England today were significant but the laws in their present guise accept that these as part of the game. It goes without saying that victory was squandered by England's top order failings, but Hoggie's absence from the second test provides perfect opportunity to add strength at no. 8 in the form of Broad. Quite apart from the variation he will add to the attack he has proved himself in the shorter format of the game with resolute batting performances (lest we forget he began his career as an opening batsmen).

I can see an argument against throwing him into possibly the toughest natural conditions for an Englishman to be faced with in world cricket but the mere fact that he is part of the touring party should indicate a willingness on the selectors part to play him if required and in my opinion, required he most certainly is. James Anderson, for all his heart and toil could not penetrate the defences of world class batsmen in these conditions and the pitch at Columbo will provide him even less help.

The most difficult decision facing selectors should be whether to play a yet to prove form and fitness Harmison or whether to gamble with only two seamers in Sidebottom and Broad and go with a second spinner. The latter option would rely heavily on Bopara taking a significant work load and require Vaughan to be far less reluctant to throw him the ball.

  • 59.
  • At 11:08 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • matty wrote:

re SM post no.3. There were actually two decisions that went against england today. Sidebottoms AND boparas. That's two! The ball that got bopara was clearly outside the line of off stump. Regarding prior off murali replays on sky sports were inconclusive and it was said that there probably would have been a bigger line on the snicko had there been any sort of edge no matter how big or small. therefore inconclusive so the umpire was right to give not out.

  • 60.
  • At 11:22 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • JoeySomething wrote:

While it was disappointing to see England lose so close to the end, it was the right result. I am astounded that everyone's making so much of Sidebottom's dismissal - what goes round, comes round - and, as Ian Bell quite rightly pointed out after the match, if they'd got rid of Sangakkara on 98, England would have been in the driver's seat.

Thought Prior played an excellent innings, again disappointed to be out to a brilliant bit of bowling so close to the end. It shouldn't have come down to the likes of Sidebottom, and THAT'S why we lost.

  • 61.
  • At 11:30 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

Personally, I will remember this test match for 2 reasons. Firstly, Muralitharan's record breaking moment, and secondly, the retirement of a cricketing genius in Jayasuria. It is a shame that neither get a mention in Jon's post match summary. He is right though, England's performance on the 3rd and 4th days cost them the match.

  • 62.
  • At 11:46 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Mano RatKandyanBoy wrote:

Well said some of you!. When English, South African and Aussie White Umps give atrocious decision your folks say "oh get over it, it is part of cricket, they cant judge it as fast as replays and a host of nauseating patronizing comments about the horrid decisions even Shepard makes to favour the local team when it is England.

Look at the horrid decisions against India. And look at the Rudi Koertzen Boy Scout decision against KUMAR SANGAKKARA that really may have made the difference between SL making history chasing a big total to win. He had to apologise for it. . unbelievable. and in t his game Prior got a free pass. So to sum up here is thre problem. You folks still think you are better at cricket when resoundingly you have been proven not to be better than Sri Lanka in the recent past. You make subtle and not so subtle excuses when you lose, but when you win it is all because of superlative cricket. What our classy Caption said about this trivial nonesense.

Jayawardene said: "We copped some bad decisions in Australia not so long ago. That's how the game goes. It was unfortunate at that kind of moment. It was a great Test match. I thought the umpires had a pretty tough Test match [and] they made some really good decisions throughout."

  • 63.
  • At 12:06 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Alex D wrote:

What a good advert for cricket. Fair play to Murali for his record. Aggers, another brilliant write up great work. Irrelevant of any slightly dodgy umpiring decisions Sri Lanka were the better side. It's all academic now. It was a good effort by England's bowlers but it seemed a little more experience was needed, and I am worried how much they will miss Hoggard if he is out. Although it could be a great oppurtunity for Stewy Broad to continue his rise or for the return for Big Steve. One thing England also lacked in this match was an opening partnership of any weight. They were on the backfoot from the first over in both innings and this needs to change in Columbo.
All in all a great game and lets hope the rest of the series is this good!

  • 64.
  • At 12:25 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • ciderguzzler wrote:

I've just read Sam Lyon's article in which Alec Stewart and Jack Russell big up Prior. Talk about backing the incumbent!

How can anyone, particularly someone who has kept wicket at international level, believe that a keeper who has let through 124 byes in his first 8 Tests can POSSIBLY be good enough to keep for England? Unless byes, and the general sloppiness and lack of technique that such a huge number of byes implies, are now considered totally unimportant in the selection decision.

In comparison, Chris Read : 15 Tests, 40 Byes.

Prior's effort in the second innings has quite rightly been praised. But it's one innings, for heaven's sake - previously he'd done nothing for England since making some cheap runs against the West Indian pie throwers last summer. Perhaps he'll get 30+ Tests with diminishing batting results, and lamentable keeping, just like one GO Jones did after some easy runs against New Zealand.

The last time England played a Test at Kandy a certain Chris Read batted for 90 odd balls with Gareth Batty, was not out, and England actually SAVED the game.

His reward?

Either Russell or Stewart says that Prior had a good game behind the stumps. Didn't he miss a simple stumping off Panesar? How can he have had a "good" game if he missed a simple stumping?

  • 65.
  • At 12:52 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Alfie wrote:

Could we ease up a bit on the Jimmy-bashing please? Yes Anderson went for runs in the 2nd innings (his 1st innings figures were fine) but that was exaggarated a bit by one wild over of hitting in which he might well have had the vital wicket.In fact he probably conceded a number of runs by trying too much variety in order to make something happen - that is the way he bowls in tests and it can be expensive on wickets as dead as this one.Granted it was not a great performance but he bowled very well in the India series and I don't think he should be immediately dumped on one poor innings any more than we would drop Cook for two failures with the bat.
Especially as Hoggard is almost certainly out and we will need a swing bowler for the (vital) new ball period.
One useful lesson from the Fletcher reign is that it pays not to over-react to a loss by making wholesale changes. Continuity in selection (within reason!)brings results.
Broad or Harmison for Hoggard and leave the rest as is for now.
Hope for another great Test but a different result maybe....

  • 66.
  • At 01:09 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Gamini Haluwana wrote:

Hey Jonathan,

For some extent you are right especially on some decisions made by umpires.But,this ( bad decision) has been happening since the beginning of cricket.That is because they are HUMANS. In other words, those are human errors.Sri lanka might encounter those bad decisions in the next match, who knows.However, my point is that so called batsmen didn't do their part well.Upto fifth batsman, no body took a RESPONSIBILITY to save the game.Shot selection was very poor.However, Ian and Prior understood the importance of a sustainable partnership and they were very selective and always chose the loose ball to get runs.They made this game very exicited one.England bowling attack was superb.That's why sri lankan got out for 185 in the first innings.And then, England batsmen fell below 300, and sri lankan got the psychological advantage of it.So, What I want to suggest for England team;if they want to win the next game,is that they MUST concentrate on batting.Especially. first order batsmen MUST do their part with a great responibility.

  • 67.
  • At 01:49 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Frank wrote:

England are bunch of loosers ... look at the English Football team ... Cricket team is no different. Blaming umpires won't solve the problem. England must change their overall attitude if they want to win a Cricket or a Football game

  • 68.
  • At 04:34 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

If I am right only Australia, England and South Africa want the tradition of human element kept in umpiring exactly because they rarely are on the short end of the stick.
Stop crying foul mate, either speak up for injustice in every case or stay quiet when injustice is done to you.
As for as Pointing and Australia are concerned they should have said sangakara was not out and have real contest, when it happens in your favor you stay its umpire's decision otherwise Australia blame opposition for not walking off the field.

How do you spell Hypocrite.

  • 69.
  • At 04:45 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Carlton Lobo wrote:

OK then, after all this analysis of England's performance, let me put in my 2 pence worth. I would rather leave Harmison to vent his fury on the tour to New Zealand, where the wickets will suit him no end, then to turn him loose on the dead, lifeless pitches of Sri Lanka, where the most thanks he would get for hi efforts would be a sprained ankle or a broken back! Let Swann or Broad play depending on the pitch prepared. I'd love to see Monty and Swann fight it out and settle, once for all, who is the top dog spinner in the England team.
Cheers!!!

  • 70.
  • At 05:33 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Jaswant Singh wrote:

ha,ha,ha,ha,hu,hu,hu,hu,hi,hi,hi,hi.

Good God, ENGLAND LOST ONCE AGAIN. Blame umpires.

Does anyone recall in 2000-2001 Umpire B C Cooray gave 15 wrong decisions favoring England and still England could only draw the series.

And England has 94 World Class players to choose from: I kept a count of the number of players accused on this forum to be of World Class!

And is England still ranked # 2 by ICC.Should be ranked #6 or #7

  • 71.
  • At 05:42 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Roshan Fernando wrote:

Actually England were a shade unlucky to lose the game - no not because of Bopara's marginal decision (cancelled out by Jayasuriya's as had the latter stayed on England would have had to bat at least for 20 overs on Day 4 and may have lost more than 1 wicket) not because of Sidebottom (a tail-ender defending it out in tough conditions) getting a poor decision either. No they were sent up against the wall once Pietersen got a brute of a delivery from Dilhara Fernando that barely rose 8 inches. Had he stayed on maybe England may have held out as Sri Lanka were not able to attack as much as they wanted to as long as he was there.

The umpire was hasty.

He should have dawdled for half an hour before giving Sidebottom out.

He could have saved the match for England. :)

Although some people may point out that umpires making mistakes is part of the sport, I think they should take some to consider their decisions.
It reminds me of how Sangakkara went out against Australia on 192 runs when the umpire made a mistake (which he later apologised for) and Sangakkara could have reached 200 runs but the umpire's mistake made sure that did not happen which is not fair really.

  • 74.
  • At 06:40 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Talha wrote:

Its a shame that instead of blamming the team 1 bad deccison is balmed wht will have sidebbotm done even if would have stated on the crease

  • 75.
  • At 07:18 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Roshan Fernando wrote:

Actually England were a shade unlucky to lose the game - no not because of Bopara's marginal decision (cancelled out by Jayasuriya's as had the latter stayed on England would have had to bat at least for 20 overs on Day 4 and may have lost more than 1 wicket) not because of Sidebottom (a tail-ender defending it out in tough conditions) getting a poor decision either. No they were sent up against the wall once Pietersen got a brute of a delivery from Dilhara Fernando that barely rose 8 inches. Had he stayed on maybe England may have held out as Sri Lanka were not able to attack as much as they wanted to as long as he was there.

  • 76.
  • At 07:21 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • upul wrote:

Why do you want to blame the umpires after loossing the match.What about the decision given to kumara sangakara in the last test match against Australia.Srilanka would have won that match.

  • 77.
  • At 08:41 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • tony wrote:

there was a number of bad decesions in the match but only sidebottoms will be remembered, so let me remind you of a few others. vaughan was lbw
on 0 before wrongly given out sanath was not out prior was caught behind before tea. there were others also on both sides.

  • 78.
  • At 09:35 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • F Jurangpathy wrote:

Come on Jonathan, you are a former test cricketer. Do you think Sidebottom would have saved the test match had he was given not out. If Murali dismiss in-form Bell and Prior in consecutive overs by bowling them out do you think Sidebottom who is a tailender batsman would have survied the remaining till end of play defying Murali had umpire given not out for the LBW decision. What about Vaughan LBW decision umpire gave not out. That particular ball would have miss the off stump and leg stump, but it wouldnt have miss the middle stump.

Be a sport Jonathan. England played well but Sri Lanka played better and won the game. Thats it.

  • 79.
  • At 09:35 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Tom Joe wrote:

Aggers, please be a fair loser. Kudos to England for fighting well. But Aggeres - you seem to have forgotten your comments when Tendulkar was given out a number of times in the nineties in England. Rather, you should have praised Sangakkara et al and check the England top order apart from Belly.

  • 80.
  • At 10:05 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • withnail wrote:

Frontbottom's LB was an absolute TRAVESTY.
I saw it in real time, with the sound down, from the other side of the office, and I could still see quite plainly the inside edge.

I'm all for supporting the umpires/difficulty of making split second decisions etc, but that really was a shocker. And not at all like several Aussie dismissals in the 2005 Ashes (cough cough)
Shame that the test was decided (possibly) on such a heinous decision...

  • 81.
  • At 10:08 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • mike wrote:

Agree fully with Aggers. The ability to analyse decisions over and over on TV does put extra pressure on these decisions after the game...however in this game the 3 decisions just looked purely wrong, 2 had a major effect on the game ultimately

- 1st innings Sangakarra given not out on the backfoot to Monty, whilst KP given out 8ft down the track to Mulari(and Vaughans).
- Bopara's and Sidebottom's (probably lesser effect on the game) decisions simply did not look right at first look.

It just did not fall our way in this game.

The appealing from Sri Lanka is constant and some appeals are absolutely crazy and without doubt, no matter how good the umpires are, do increase pressure levels. Therefore, we should do it!!! every time Monty bowls appeal if does not come off the middle of the bat, or if it does come off the middle scream in anguish that it almost was worth a appeal.

agree with the sentiments of the writers - Swann in assuming Hoggard not fit and Broad for Anderson. I am a big Harmison fan, but he is currently half baked and these wickets will not do anything to help him - save him for NZ.

good win for Sri Lanka, but hopefully we will come out all guns blazing for the next game.

  • 82.
  • At 11:54 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • OJ wrote:

"But that was not why England lost the test: for that they need to look closely at their attack – as we discussed yesterday – and get more runs on the board."

This is Jonathan agnew in the article obviously not blaming umpiring for england's loss and not using it as an excuse.

It's pathetic how people jump on Aggers's back.

  • 83.
  • At 01:42 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • withnail wrote:

Frontbottom's LB was an absolute TRAVESTY.
I saw it in real time, with the sound down, from the other side of the office, and I could still see quite plainly the inside edge.

I'm all for supporting the umpires/difficulty of making split second decisions etc, but that really was a shocker. And not at all like several Aussie dismissals in the 2005 Ashes (cough cough)
Shame that the test was decided (possibly) on such a heinous decision...

  • 84.
  • At 01:49 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • withnail wrote:

Posters on board are totally unreasonable and don't read the blog properly shocker

  • 85.
  • At 02:18 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Coggy wrote:

It occurs to me that those of you quick to bash Aggers for blaming the umpires are guilty of exactly the same thing you are blaming him for. If you look closely, well not even that closely to be honest, he says "But that was not why England lost the test" - some of you are so very quick to want to have a go at him that you ignore a key sentence in his article.
Some of the decisions materially affected the game and you would expect a journo to therefore comment on them, just as he would on, say, if a batsman showed consistently poor shot selection or England's failure to bowl incisively in the second innings.

  • 86.
  • At 03:14 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

On first view Sidebottom's decision looked out to me, it just looked like a doosra that turned. As for taking time, the ball appeared to hit in front of middle and be going on to hit middle half way up, if he didn't think it hit the bat straight away then thinking about it a bit wouldn't make any difference.

  • 87.
  • At 03:45 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • MARGASAHAYAM wrote:

Hello Jonathan
I do respect you for your erudite cricket knowledge. As a critique I have to write this down for posterity else I may suffer from heartburn.
a] Why question the umpire's descision now that he is Mr Rauf. Is it because England deservedly lost to a former colony of sorts ?
b]I am also disappointed that you did not make the above comments when England won aganist India in UK last season, when similar decisions went aganist several Indian batsmen.
To be a critique it requires an element of astute fairness and also a temeperance of equality. Let there be no issue with the fact that biased opinions only destroy a beautiful game with a cardinal rule which says
"Umpires (on the field) decision is final" We grew up with this and cricket as a game developed into the gentlemens game only to the adherence of the same- whether its Simon Taufel, Darrel hair, Asad Rauf or Jonathan Agnew as the umpire on the field.

  • 88.
  • At 04:04 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • V S Mani wrote:

Cricket should allow third umpire for all decisions - LBW, caught behind in particular. India lost the tests in England due to errors made by umpires in giving Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid etc out and KP allowed to come back when given out.
Umpires should focus more on stopping sledging and silly games played by Vaughan and Co. Let the game be played without such errors - England should not have lost the last match with Sri Lanka

  • 89.
  • At 04:19 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Mano RatKandyanBoy wrote:

1. Australia appealed a blatant not out. Rudi gives Kumar Sangakkara, now ranked #1 Batsman for this season. The game could have been won by SL if not for that blatantly foul out.

2. SL did not complain. That is how they play.

3. For many reasons England keeps thinking they are better than Sri Lanka when they never won the World cup. And SL came to the final and went against the best team in the World the OZs.

4.But you can still win in Colombo if you apply yourselves and get a decent score. The conditions favour your bowlers at SSC.

5. Aggers, why didn't the Australians call Sanga back?

6. When you invite SL over in cold wet,foggy miserable weather in May instead of late summer you use your conditions to win. So SL can have you guys in hot summer months to win too. That is why these are all professional teams. England plays to their weather and ground conditions and SL does the same. Again, get over it. Hey they still drew at Lords even when all the factors favoured your home team . So don't lose heart, you can win in Colombo or try Galle with its new pitch.

  • 90.
  • At 04:31 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Aman harees wrote:

John, I have to feel for England as SiBo's decision was quite bad but you are distorting it into unneeded proportions here. Rauf made maybe one or two mistakes going BOTH side's way. I didn't seem to hear you having a go at Dar when Vaughan was on 17 against malinga in an Lbw appeal as Dar thought it was an inside edge when it clearly wasn't. Anyone can moan but whatever the outcome of the debate SL won and I see no point in blaming the umpires for this. I know you're not meaning that quite straightforwardly but the backbone of this article says the story. Hopefully, England can move on and try to draw the series.

  • 91.
  • At 04:54 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • tinker wrote:

if it wasn't for some shocking umpiring england wouldn't have won the 05 ashes.

  • 92.
  • At 05:09 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • RE wrote:

It is disappointing that people are picking up on one or two soundbites re umpiring when the main gist of Aggers' column here is that England let themselves down after getting off to such a good start. Bell's dismissal 1st time round was something of a turning point and while Sidebottom may have been able to hang around it shouldn't have come down to that.

So, when i read comments like that in post 70 above it is disheartening. We have never believed we are the best team in the world, to do that you need to win in Oz and not lose on the subcontinent (i think beating all of India, Sl and Pakistan is a lot to ask but if you win all your home series.....). Second best is too close to call but i'd watch SA coming up the rails.

And also we won out in SL in the 2001 series i think you'll find. And in Pakistans as well. And in 2003 we lost in SL. Check your history before berrating our players.

And the fact that so many people in the UK suggest names for the top flight on this blog is that it represents opinions, something you may not be familiar with. And they tend to vary from person to person.

before thrusting your own views on others you may wish to consider if they add any value to the debate at hand or are irrelevant drivel from someone with a chip on their shoulder.

Rant over now. Can we enjoy the rest of the series and not get drawn into debate over the more pointless aspects and just revel in 2 evenly matched teams playing each other

  • 93.
  • At 05:47 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Amit wrote:

I think Aggars is quite unfair in his criticism. To the contrary, I thought both Umpires had a good game, and Rauf got a lot of decisions spot on in a number of tight calls. I seem to remember the Sky team also in agreement with Rauf on Sidebottom's decision, and it wasn't until the replay that the mistake was detected.

England did well in this test match though. And it was just the sheer brilliance of Sangakkara which was the deciding factor. For a player like him, there is very little you can do once in prime form.

Although it's disappointing about Hoggard, I think this provided England with a perfect opportunity to blood Broad. The rest of the bowlers are fairly exprecienced, and England have good back up in Bopara (underused in Kandy) and Collingwood. Broad's spent time out there with the performance squad and getting him a few games will do him a world of good. England don't want to be blooding a youngster when 3 bowlers are out injured, and there is little choice but to do so. Now is the time.

  • 94.
  • At 06:22 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Wayne Hamilton wrote:

Umpires need to take more time before coming to whether a batsman is out?!?

Time to allow themselves to be influenced by the fielding side's antics?

Time to contemplate the match position and which decision makes for a better television spectacle?

Time to allow the crowd to listen to TMS's pontifications and thereby convey the 'right' decision?

An umpire might well get decisions wrong (in some cases, more often than not), but the very speed with which they are made - suggesting instinctiveness - means that they are more likely to be genuine, and any errors point only to the competence and not the integrity of the umpire.

  • 95.
  • At 06:49 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • prafull wrote:

no one mentions andrew strauss!!how very disappointin.
i think his record in india was cool! ne since d condition were similar,england sorely missed him.

besides,its a golden rulem wen u play in sub continent..u need to play 2 spinners...

tats were England lost d plot!!

  • 96.
  • At 07:50 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Robert wrote:

Many congratulations to Sri Lanka. They deserved to win. Despite the lower order's efforts on the final day, the top order had left England too much to do. I think Prior justified his selection - and showed us he can block it too. Congratulations to Murali on his record, and Jayasuriya on a fine career. Cricket supporters across the globe will miss him.

Hoggard's injury gives England a selection dilema... IMO they should play Broad. They need to look at how Sri Lanka's attack mixes types of pace with spin and not rely solely on a pace & swing attack. If England play Broad this would give England a balanced bowling attack of pace (Broad), pace & swing (Anderson), spin (Panesar) and swing (Sidebottom). Swann seems to be an excellent back up spinner should England need to play two spinners... but then, they have plenty of spin options already, counting Bopara, Pietersen (he has test wickets!) and Vaughan (watch the knee?).

  • 97.
  • At 08:09 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • KB wrote:

I think the comment about umpiring is an unfair one; we have increasingly come to criticise umpiring decisions because the advent of new tv software such as 'ball tracker', 'hawk-eye' and 'snickometer'. While these are great as they enhance tv viewing for spectators like us, we must not be overly critical of the umpires; they only have a split second to decide whether the batsman is out or not. It's part and parcel of the game!

There have been several instances when umpiring decisions may have changed the outcome of the match- even as recently as India's tour of England this summer when who would forget that Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged out 2-3 times in his nineties- all appeals thought to be quite ambitious and replays suggesting that the umpire was wrong on each count.

Similarly, the final ODI between India and England at the Oval, was surrounded by controvesy as two of India's best players; Dravid and Tendulkar were given out- one to an unidentifiable edge and the other a non-existent lbw, there was bat involved!

Players have accepted this as part and parcel of the game- so should we!

  • 98.
  • At 08:35 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Jeff Few wrote:

To all those suggesting Swann/Sidey/Anderson/Monty

1) We let SL get all those runs against us in the 2nd innings, so now you want to weaken the attack by only having 2 frontline bowlers, our main spinner, and an allrounder.

2) SL are more than used to playing spinners on thier home pitches, going into t2 relying on spin is suicide. our best spinner (Panesar) leaked 178 runs to snare one number 5 and five lower order batsmen, and tbh Murali himself could not have done much better against batsmen so at home against spinners. if we have a part-timer bowling 30+ overs he will get murdered. Of the 10 top-5 sri-lankan wickets to fall, one was to spin, one to Collingwood, and 8 to frontline seamers.

3) Without Hoggard, we need someone that can bowl seam-up with something other than a brand new cherry. Sidey is more of a new-ball specialist, Anderson is innacurate but swings it, with an old ball he's innacurate and dosnt swing it. Hoggard swings it and has the control to be effective with a non-0swinging ball too, but he is doubtful. Looks like we are gonna have to risk Harmison (at least if he gets the yips we have enough part-timers to cover his spell)

By the way, who ewlse is in the squad? I know we have Harmison, Broad (might be worth a shout), Swann, Mustard (wk cover), and for some strange reason Shah (totally out of his depth)

  • 99.
  • At 09:39 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Asad Ullah wrote:

Sometimes a single bad decision can take away the match. But in this test match it was the Murli factor that played a deciding role. He was on every English player nerves and they did not play him the right way. There is one rule to play Murli " Never play a cut shot, always play on the front foot ". He did damage the english team in the first inning and that laid the foundation for the victory.

  • 100.
  • At 10:49 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • hameed wrote:

A good commentator of any game is one who gives an impartial account of a game as it unfolds or writes about it afterwards without having to bat for his home side.

Do we have such commentators now?

  • 101.
  • At 04:32 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Sara wrote:

Captain Clarke leads in Twenty20, Visit:

http://www.cricketviewer.com/captain-clarke-leads-in-twenty20.html

and,

Pakistan to push for shorter WC format, visit:

http://www.cricketviewer.com/pakistan-to-push-for-shorter-wc-format.html

and,

Pathan, VRV and Ishant drafted in, visit:

http://www.cricketviewer.com/pathan-vrv-and-ishant-drafted-in.html

  • 102.
  • At 04:47 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Omer Admani wrote:

Aggers,
You are totally wrong to suggest that umpire Rauf should change his style of umpiring. Shouldn't you be saying, 'he gave the decisions as he saw them, and went by the letter of law'?
Maybe the focus should be why and how Sidebottom had to come to the crease rather than how he had to leave it.

  • 103.
  • At 05:07 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • jagbal wrote:

Bad decisions by umpires ruin the fun,with all the technology available, umpires r not needed

  • 104.
  • At 05:18 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Sarath Fernando wrote:

Do not try to blame the umpires and evade from the lost you faced in a wonderful test match. Accept defeat as gentelmen.
If you are speaking about the wrong decisions and what about the ones that went in favour of England. Why are you not talking about those? Can you remeber Prior edging one and getting escaped through a wrong decision made by Aleem Dhar in the same 2nd innings?
Please try to be impartial rather than being partial as a commentator. Wish you all the best for an impartial career.

  • 105.
  • At 05:46 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Hasnain wrote:

it do happens in nowadays cricket that decisions are wrong at the decisive status of match.so instead blaming rauf,stress for use of technologies for lbw & doubtful catches which will improve the standard.

  • 106.
  • At 06:05 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Could one of the many the people on here bagging Aggers for blaming the defeat on the umpire, highlight exactly where in the article he actually says that?

As far as I can see, Agnew opened by stating the more consistent of the two teams won - fair comment. He then pointed out the Sidebottom decision followed by the comment...'But that was not why England lost the test..... '.

Maybe a few posters on here should read the article before getting on their high horses.

  • 107.
  • At 09:10 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • ashim wrote:

i really do appreciate agnew's column..most of the times...he is not baised....but this time he is talking against..Rauf..well we r humans and we do make mistakes....but my question is when in happens in England..how come it is overlooked...there were bad decisions..twice against Ganguly..once against,Dravid, tendulkar...well these r bastmen who can go and change the face of the game......and comon don't whine about Sidebottom....how long can that guy last....well...when it friggin happens to u..u do whine...hahahah

  • 108.
  • At 09:57 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Ian T wrote:

Ultimately the game was won and lost on the first morning when England, after some high quality out swing bowling by Hoggard,let Sri Lanka off the hook by allowing them to wriggle out of a really tricky situation at 40 odd for 5. I simply cant believe that Swann was not selected on a pitch that always looked as though it was going to turn considerably. All out for 188 really should have been all out for 120-130ish which would have put a completely different complextion on the whole game. Two good spinners is a must in Sri Lanka where only the highest quality pacemen and seamers tend to be a success( Hoggard proved this!!) Swann and Panesar could have worked in tandem to build pressure from both ends!! In the next test Swann must come in for Anderson and if Harmison is fit and mentally ready he MUST play. He is the only English paceman who has the possibility of producing extra pace and bounce on generally lifeless pitches!!

  • 109.
  • At 11:14 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • RN wrote:

Come on Aggers! That was one bad decision but it was not what cost us the game. Our batsmen did good jobs getting in and then did not carry on from there. We were poor in the field (Especially Bell) and didnt play Murali too well. Not much to be done about Sangakkara who is in top form. But I guess these decisions even out, Sangakara was given out on 192 against Aus when he was nowhere near the ball and that decision did/could have changed the game. Ryan's decision would not have altered the course.

  • 110.
  • At 11:25 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Samy wrote:

I saw the highlights and read newspaper and skysports reports on the decisions. Ofcourse Rauf made a bad call but overall he is considered (along with Aleem Dar, the other umpire in the match) to be among the top umpires. Even though I know you arent blaming him for the loss, you must be in the minority to believe he is not a top class umpire.

  • 111.
  • At 12:05 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • David Chivers wrote:

The game was lost because of the inability of England not scoring enough runs. They had no chance of winning the game after the Sri Lankian second innings and could only hope for a draw. Cook only lasted seven balls in the match. Vaughan makes a start but fails to capitalise. It was only a fine rear guard action by Bell and Prior which gave us a hope of saving the match. I have no confidence in our opening batsmen. You always feel that they could go at any time and this in turn puts more pressure on Bell. I have seen some unfavourable comments on Bell. Yes he has had a few failures but he is still probably our most consistent batsman. His problem seems to be that on many occasions he gets himself into the 60's or 70's and does not go on to score three figures. As to umpiring decisions you get some and some you do not. It does not disguise the fact England's top order is brittle and they do not have a good strike bowler.

  • 112.
  • At 12:38 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Ian T wrote:

I agree with what you said David however the fact remains that England had Sri Lanka 42 for 5 in the FIRST session of play and there fore could and should have bowled them out far cheaper than they did. If England and pressed home this huge early advantage then i am positive that they would have been closer to winning the game. Would Australia have let Sri Lanks off the hook as cheaply? I think not

  • 113.
  • At 12:45 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Did Sri Lanka deserve to win? Yes, they played better. Any complaint that we could possibly have salvaged a draw is just sour grapes. You do remember the rain, how many sessions were lost to that? To appeal to the fact that bad light *might* have saved us smacks of desperation.

  • 114.
  • At 12:56 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Shafiq wrote:

Typical English Media biasd game---! Learn sportsman spirit, and enjoy game...
Anyways thanks to some of english supporters making good comments.

Such a shame that when Asian gets wrog decisions of harper, hair, shperd & others tom & gerry, it is umpiring, the beautiful human element of cricket. And when Mr.Sidebootom, best batsman in world was given out against ordinary bowler like murrali---it is noise--- ah

  • 115.
  • At 12:58 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • dex wrote:

"70. Jaswant Singh wrote:

ha,ha,ha,ha,hu,hu,hu,hu,hi,hi,hi,hi.

Good God, ENGLAND LOST ONCE AGAIN. Blame umpires."

What a strange laugh you have Jaswant, you might need to have that looked at.

As for the rest of your post....... ha ha ha he he he ho ho hi hu hu hi hu...... it must be catching.

  • 116.
  • At 01:53 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Les wrote:

To the chap who complained that Prior has conceded 120 byes in 8 matches. It is only fair to point out that he only conceded 5 byes in this match. A match where he was standing up to the wicket a lot of the time.

I do remember thinking when watching previous matches that a lot of deliveries that should have been wides were given as byes. It shows that when considering how well a cricketer is playing, statistics must always be tempered by common sense.

  • 117.
  • At 01:54 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • amer wrote:

HMM!! Just wonder if Mr Agnew would ever write such a piece on a English, Australian or a Newzealand Umpire. Yes, there was a mistake, ONE!

I have seen some of the worst howlers from Umpire Sheppard, which have turned games on on more than one occasion BUT never have I read such an article by Mr Agnew on that.

Mr Agnew, you need to move on and let some one more balanced take over.

  • 118.
  • At 02:50 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Irfan wrote:

It was great match. Englang fought hard but at the end better team over five days won. It is unfortunate when observer like Jonathen Agnew tries to blame poor umpire who was under tremendous pressure throughout and made excellent decisions throughout except one - sidebottom one. All umpires make bad decisions including D Bird, A Shepherd and others and I note it is always when any decisions albeit borderline goes against England we start to hear all this cry as though all the umpires especially from sub-continent are sub standard. At present Asad Rauf and Aleem Dar are one of the best in the pannel.

I would love to see England fight back and wish close series.

  • 119.
  • At 02:50 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Irfan wrote:

It was great match. Englang fought hard but at the end better team over five days won. It is unfortunate when observer like Jonathen Agnew tries to blame poor umpire who was under tremendous pressure throughout and made excellent decisions throughout except one - sidebottom one. All umpires make bad decisions including D Bird, A Shepherd and others and I note it is always when any decisions albeit borderline goes against England we start to hear all this cry as though all the umpires especially from sub-continent are sub standard. At present Asad Rauf and Aleem Dar are one of the best in the pannel.

I would love to see England fight back and wish close series.

  • 120.
  • At 03:42 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Anil A. Desai wrote:

Aha ... no sooner England looses a Test Match, the knives are out and bad mouthing of umpire begins. I remember Indians getting as many as 12 bad calls against them last summer. ZERO against England ... of course !!! Actually KP was called back after being given OUT by the same umpire. This happened when Collingwood, the non-striker, prompted the umpire to look at the replay on stadium big screen. Was that OK ??? There was no mention of umpiring standard then. Had the umpiring been slightly neutral, England would have lost both Test Match and ODI series !!!
So ... stop bitching when England get whacked by the umpires ... just LEARN TO DEAL WITH IT Mr. Aggers !!!

  • 121.
  • At 04:30 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • EB wrote:

I will make the point a few others have rightly made - Aggers did not say England lost because of Asad Rauf. Read the article again and you will agree with me.

I thought there were several determining factors in England's loss;

England could only convert Sri Lanka's 42-5 into a 93 run lead.

Jayasuriya's 24 in an over. He was dropped (though tough chance) and it made Sri Lanka favourites for the game in the space of six balls.

England were five down before lunch on day five, even though Murali was wicketless.

Oh and Sidebottom was never out...bloody Rauf.

  • 122.
  • At 05:19 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • prafull wrote:

To all who are backing Swann!!

i think in sub continent its a must to play 2 spinners...

Irrespective of d location..& the shocking partr is England had the services of Swann,Besides there is Vaas in Sri lankan line up who comes over d wicket.The rough ccreated can be utilised by an off spinner.Similarly Lankans have top order full of left handed batsmen.ROUGH outside there off stumps can be more dangerous if you have an off spinner operating.

I think selection wise it was a shocker.

Besides!how can you drop Andy strauss..He is one of the best openers arnd in World cricket!!

  • 123.
  • At 06:26 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Ram wrote:

I wish such articles were written when Murali was blamed by Hair or when players from the subcontinent are strictly fined for showing doubts about decisions made against them whereas the australians get away with murder[sledging; bringing the game to disrepute].

  • 124.
  • At 07:05 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • daaid young wrote:

The comments made by Mo Husen on comments of bias regarding umpiring decisions,are,to say the least,inflammatory.Mr[we in England]Husen doesn't sound the least bit 'partisan' to me.Perhaps he supports,let me guess,India ?

  • 125.
  • At 08:36 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

Comment 115 : Les

Hurrah! Someone actually prepared to engage in a discussion about Prior.

Thanks Les.

Read's record is 40 byes in 15 Tests, worst in an innings 7, clean sheets 12/27, average per 100 opposition runs 0.57.

Prior's is 124 byes in 8 Tests, worst in an innings 33, clean sheets 2/16, average per 100 opposition runs 2.78.

Jones' is 278 byes in 34 Tests, worst in an innings 20, clean sheets 18/66, average per 100 opposition runs 1.38.

The runs per 100 opposition runs is probably the most telling statistic. I haven't analysed very many other keepers but Alec Stewart's was 1.11 and Alan Knott's 0.93. This does seem to suggest, as far as byes is concerned at least, that Chris Read is an outstandingly good keeper, and that Matt Prior is an awful one.

Of course byes, in themselves are pretty irrelevant, but there MUST surely be some reasonable correlation between bye levels, concentration/technique and likelihood of dropping catches/missing stumpings, mustn't there? How many people are prepared to stand up and say that in identical circumstances the chances of Matt Prior spilling a chance is no higher than that of Chris Read?

So is mono-focusing on a keeper's batting ability a good idea or not?

  • 126.
  • At 10:16 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • "Otters" wrote:

In all the talk about umpiring decisions nobody questions the Vaughan bat/pad "catch" in the second innings. This did not look a sound one.
In comment 121 prafull talks of the ROUGH on the wicket which bowlers later enjoy. How about the SL batsmen who stand down the wicket when facing certain bowlers which not only make LBW decisions less likely to be given against them, but also roughs up a crucial part of the wicket for Murali and others to exploit in the next innings ?
Should there not be a rule that all batsmen should have at least one foot behind the crease at the moment of delivery ?

I invite you debate this further on my BBC blog.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A29930781


To follow up my problem is not with criticizing umpires, if players are criticized why shouldn't umpire be as well. And keeping with that spirit commentators are fair game as well. The commentators should share the blame in bad umpiring decisions because I never really heard commentators advocate technology to help umpires make better decision. Even after this rant on umpiring Jonathan Agnew probably would not be in favor of use of technology. Because as he and others would say that human element in umpiring is good for the game.
I hope that more and more bad decisions are made by umpires against English and Australian team so that real debate can occur on the use of technology to help umpires make better decisions.
I know Jonathan would say system will never become perfect and I agree with him. But that does not mean we should stop striving for better results and I am very sure technology can help us in that regard.
Whats the real problem is that mostly those people resist change that stand to lose from new system.

  • 128.
  • At 10:38 AM on 09 Dec 2007,
  • Colin wrote:

Whilst I agree that Umpire Rauf could take more time, I think he has the makings of a good umpire. And lest we forget, Rudi Koetzen and Steve Bucknor (who I still rate as one of the best in the world) take an age and they have both given some shockers over the years. Taking one's time does not guarantee the right decision

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