Despite the thrilling tie between India and Sri Lanka in Adelaide on Tuesday, an umpire's oversight, calling over after Lasith Malinga had bowled only five deliveries in the 30th over, grabbed the spotlight.
For some Indian fans, it proved the difference between the match ending in a tie and an Indian victory. Former umpires have lashed out at such a basic error in spite of the all the resources at their disposal.
Umpire K Hariharan said it was a huge mistake on the part of the third umpire. “It's the duty of the third umpire also to count the balls like the on-field umpire. He has failed in his basic duty,” he said. “The third umpire sits in front of the TV screen and sees the live updates. He also has the option of checking with the scorer or the TV producer.”
Former international umpire Piloo Reporter said it could have been avoided. “There is enough time between the overs for the third umpire to intervene.”
Reporter also spoke about a technique that was decided by the umpires before the 1992 World Cup, which he officiated, to keep track of the number of balls. “We had decided that after the fifth ball of the over, both the on-field umpires would be showing one finger to signal there was one delivery left.”
On Tuesday, though the host broadcaster bought it to the notice of the third umpire (Bruce Oxenford), the delay in realising the mistake meant the 31st over had already started.
Hariharan said though the there would be no action against the umpire, Simon Fry, it will be a blot. “This would go into their record and definitely affect their future prospects.”