4 out of 10 on the volume, 0 out of 10 on the outcome
THE Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) was introduced into cricket in November for the New Zealand v Pakistan series.
Its intention was to remove the truly awful umpiring decisions from the game, thus making it fairer all round.
However it did not factor in Daryl Harper’s volume button.
In the third test of the current South Africa v England series the system had, for the first time, some on-field howlers to contend with.
And when the howlers were corrected it was seen as vindication for UDRS’s introduction.
Harper was the on-field umpire in the third test, whose decisions had to be amended.
But now he is in the chair in the sky, the chair in the sky where there is no back-up umpire, no back-up umpire to rescue him whenever he cocks up.
And today he cocked up.
It is wrong to think that Harper’s failure to overrule a not out decision when Graeme Smith was on 15 could potentially cost England this match.
Although Smith was saved and allowed to go on and make 105, 180 all out was the poor batting collapse England perenially threaten and not Harper’s fault (although a potential no-ball on Alistair Cook’s dismissal was questionable).
There is only one way to know for sure if Harper’s decision will prove test-match-losing-and-series-drawing costly for England and it is a way that endorses everything the UDRS represents – fair play.
The 90 runs that Smith made post-acquittal should be removed from South Africa’s total.
Obviously I say this not as an England supporter, but as an advocate of fair play.
And then we will know for sure who deserves to win this test match and this captivating series.
Or more likely the rain will keep pouring and ruin it all.
Which, as an England supporter first and fair play advocator second, I am hoping for.