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Ashes Test: Fading light stoppage ignites anger, debate

If Australia were left fuming after the umpires stopped them on their tracks while edging towards victory at Old Trafford, it was England's turn to be angered at the Oval after they were robbed of a win.

cricket Updated: Aug 27, 2013 12:06 IST

If Australia were left fuming after the umpires stopped them on their tracks while edging towards victory in third Test at Old Trafford, it was England and their fans' turn to be angered at the Oval on Sunday after they were robbed of a sensational win.

Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena took out the light meter with England needing just 21 runs from 24 deliveries, the Australia skipper Michael Clarke having sportingly declared at tea to set a fourth innings target of 227. The umpires cited bad light, ending the match in confusion with England on the verge of achieving their first ever 4-0 win in a home Ashes series.

England coach Andy Flower called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to change the regulations regarding bad light. The ECB chairman, Giles Clarke, said he would push for a rule change, effectively putting the decision back in the hands of the batting side.

Confusing rules
Flower said: "The ICC could improve the regulations, and we've spoken with ICC officials about this for years. I think the description that they use when judging bad light and when they consider whether it's dangerous or not -- often it is not dangerous and it's a poor description of that particular regulation."

"In my opinion it should be whether the contest between bat and ball is reasonable and fair. If there are spinners bowling, under their regulations at the moment it almost means you could play until it is dark because it's obviously not dangerous."

Having been criticised for slow batting in the first innings, England quickly set about reaching the target, helped by Kevin Pietersen's quick-fire 62 and 59 from Jonathan Trott. Clarke had declared the innings at 111 for six in a bid to push for victory, having come close to winning in two previous Tests but left frustrated.

Hands off
As confusion reigned in fading light, Clarke told umpire Aleem Dar not to touch him. The Australian quoted him as saying: "I can't remember what I said. I remember Aleem touching me and I asked him politely not to because if I touched him I'd be suspended for three matches."

Dar had reached out with his left hand to push the Australia captain away. Clarke later revealed that the lux (light) reading was 5.7, "no comparison", as he put it, to the 8.1 level that had prompted the umpires to call play off at Old Trafford.

Australia's The Daily Telegraph called for a pragmatic approach in future. "The light that the last hour of the game was played in highlights how farcical it was to come off for bad light earlier in the tour."

First Published: Aug 27, 2013 02:17 IST