Ashes 2013: Kevin Pietersen backs Stuart Broad in catch drama

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport at Trent Bridge
Pietersen responds to Broad's non-dismissal in Ashes

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has defended his team-mate Stuart Broad's decision not to walk after being reprieved by an umpiring error in the first Ashes Test against Australia.

Broad stood his ground when umpire Aleem Dar somehow failed to spot a thick edge to Michael Clarke at slip off the bowling of Ashton Agar.

Broad and Ian Bell added a further 29 runs to their unbroken 108-run stand to help England reach 326-6 in their second innings, for a lead of 261 at the end of day three at Trent Bridge.

Pietersen said: "Each and every player that plays for their country, club side, county, province or franchise has the opportunity to wait for the decision the umpire makes, and you respect the umpire's decision.

"We play hard, we play fair and each individual makes his own judgement in the middle. Aleem Dar is a fantastic umpire and has been rated one of the best over the past few years. Wait and respect his decision."

The controversial moment occurred deep into the final session of a nerve-wracking day in which the momentum shifted frequently between the teams.

Australia captain Clarke, who could not not challenge the decision having already used his two referrals, looked incensed and exchanged words with umpire Dar, while coach Darren Lehmann shook his head in astonishment.

In the post-match news conference, however, Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle played the incident down.

"It just happened. It's the umpire's decision, you take it and you just keep going on," he said.

"You just finish the over and go through to the next over. There wasn't a big deal made out of it, we just went about our business.

"How many people have ever walked? At the end of the day it's the umpire's decision and players stick with it."

Broad's actions were backed by his father Chris, who opened the batting for England between 1984 and 1989 and is now an ICC match referee.

He told BBC Sport: "It's an Ashes Test match. I remember when [former captain] Ian Botham said to me in my first Ashes Test match in Brisbane, 'if any of you blokes walk out in the middle you'll have me to answer to' so I didn't walk.

"Stuart didn't walk and I think most players want to see an umpire give a decision. The umpire gave a not out decision, you get on with the game."

The incident carried echoes of the Adelaide Ashes Test in 2010 when Clarke himself refused to walkexternal-link after being caught at short leg off Pietersen.

England used a referral to successfully overturn umpire Tony Hill's not out decision and Clarke, then Australia's vice-captain, later apologised on Twitter for his behaviour.

Certain players, including former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, have made a point of walking when they know they are out, regardless of the umpire's decision.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew suggested Broad's decision not to walk could damage his standing among his peers.

"There is nothing within the laws of cricket that says Broad had to depart, but when he chose not to, it became an issue for the spirit of the game," Agnew wrote in his column.

"These sorts of things can scar a player for years to come, change their reputations within the game."

Broad found an unlikely ally in former Australia spinner Shane Warne, however, who put the blame firmly on Dar.

"You can't blame Broad for not walking. Hats off, I say if you nick it to 1st slip stand your ground & get given not out!" he wrote on Twitter.

"We all make mistakes and it's a very tough job being an umpire, but when Dar continually makes crucial mistakes why does he keep getting a gig?"

The incident followed the controversial dismissal of England batsman Jonathan Trott, who was given out on Thursday afternoon by the third umpire despite an error meaning the HotSpot technology - which indicates whether the ball has hit the bat - being unavailable.

Pietersen denied the contentious moments would cause bad blood between the teams and insisted England were focussed on forcing home victory on Saturday.

"I have no interest in what happened yesterday, no interest in what happened today," he said. "All I'm interested in what's going to happen tomorrow. We want to win this Test match."