The Decision Review System (DRS) is not having a great series Down Under. After a number of controversial decisions in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, the DRS was again in the headlines for the wrong reasons at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) today. The DRS had made a blooper during Australia's second innings and received a lot of criticism from cricketing pundits, the media and on Twitter.
The controversy happened in the 12th over of Australia's second innings. R Ashwin was bowling his second over of the day to his favourite Australian batsman on this tour - Steven Smith. The ball hit Smith on the pads but there was a muted appeal as the ball was clearly going down the leg stumps. But Ashwin was convinced he had got his man again in the series and pleaded with skipper, Ajinkya Rahane to take the Review.
India can't overturn the decision against Smith, but they don't lose the review either.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 9, 2021
The ball was tossed up on leg stump and Smith, going for the sweep, was beaten by the loop. However, it seemed clear to the naked eye and common sense that the ball would slide down the leg slide. Till the Hawkeye messed it all up!
They've clearly overlaid the stumps here incorrectly. Look where the off stump is on the graphic compared to in reality pic.twitter.com/qFbYXgTyf8
— iBlatant (@iBlatant) January 9, 2021
Firstly, Hawkeye took a long time to make the decision. After the agonizing delay, the pitch-map showed the ball was hitting what was a virtual fourth-stump which was some distance away from the actual leg stump. The overlay of the stumps by Hawk-Eye did not line up with the actual stumps. The virtual stumps were positioned leg side of the real stumps. The DRS decision was 'Umpire's Call' as it showed the ball clipping the stumps whereas in reality it should have been a clear 'not-out' and India should have lost a review. Instead, the visitors were lucky and although the on-field decision wasn't overturned (and rightly so), they did not lose a review.
The time it took to make the decision and the subsequent 'calculated' trajectory of the ball and the decision of an 'Umpire's Call' created a huge stir on social media and in the cricketing circles with the DRS being heavily criticised. The DRS was already under the scanner after a series of controversial and doubtful decisions in Melbourne - the most alarming being the leg before wicket and run-out decisions of Tim Paine which were given not-out by the TV Umpire. It prompted Indian great, Sachin Tendulkar to urge the ICC to have a re-look at the DRS.