South African skipper Graeme Smith is probably prescient. On match eve Smith, who feels strongly about the ICC’s Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), said if the ICC were going to use the system, they “needed to use it consistently across the board”.
“I don't think you can use it on an on-off basis,” said Smith. “If they (the ICC) feel that it (UDRS) is important to world cricket, they need to provide it in every series. From a playing perspective, you just get on with it. You know what is coming, you know what to deal with in the series and you cope with it. It's the same for both teams but I think in general, if the ICC feel it is important for cricket, they need to take more responsibility in having it around the world.”
Half an hour into the game on Saturday morning, everyone remembered Smith's words when Zaheer Khan dismissed Ashwell Prince.
Zaheer had troubled Prince from the start, forcing him on the defensive, keeping him on the back foot.
The over before Prince fell, there were two breathers — the first he edged to the slip cordon but it fell short of Murali Vijay, and the second, two balls later, rapped him on the pads slightly outside, but even as the Indians went up, it was clear it was a tad too high.
But Prince went the next over. Zaheer banged the ball in short, it came at Prince's face and the South African took immediate evasive action.
He dropped his left (lower) arm and put the bat up in front as protection, merely fending the ball off the arm guard to be happily pocketed by Dhoni behind the stumps.
Prince, clearly disbelieving, stood around for a minute, moved towards his captain and the umpire at the non-striker's end, as if looking for whether the new referral system (UDRS) would come into play before walking off, realising it wouldn't.
Smith didn't speak after the day's play, but Proteas batting consultant Kepler Wessels did.
“It is no secret that when it is applied directly, when the technology is used properly, it makes a difference,” said Wessels. So what will the ICC do next?