David Leggat on sport
David Leggat is a Herald sport writer

David Leggat: Marsh Incident a 30-day wonder

The third umpire gives Mitchell Marsh out after the ball hit his foot during the 3rd ODI between Australia and New Zealand in Hamilton.
The third umpire gives Mitchell Marsh out after the ball hit his foot during the 3rd ODI between Australia and New Zealand in Hamilton.

Don't even think about putting the Mitchell Marsh dismissal in the same box as the underarm incident.

One is still regularly talked about, rates as one of the dog acts of international sport in the past half century, and remains for many New Zealanders a source of hostility towards Australian cricket, even though it happened more than 30 years ago.

The Marsh dismissal? I doubt it'll last 30 days.

There's a major bottom line about this: ultimately the right decision was made. No debate.

Australia's captain Steve Smith conceded that critical point immediately after the Hamilton ODI ended last night.

Set aside Marsh's ill-tempered reaction to the decision as the actions of a young man trying desperately to win a match, and series, for his team, and getting shot down in peculiar circumstances.

Set aside, too, the allegations of nasty verbals in the middle. That happens.

And by the way is "so we're not playing caught and bowleds in this game?" the gentlest sledge to ever start a verbal scrap in international cricket - Grant Elliott's retort to Marsh's "that's f...ing bullshit".

Ask yourself this: what say the replay of the incident, when Matt Henry stooped low to take a return catch off Marsh's boot, popped up on the big screen 30 seconds later?

By that time Henry would have bowled another ball and the game would had moved on. Imagine the outcry within Seddon Park had that happened.

Did umpire Ian Gould err? There was certainly a brief appearance of fluster.

TV commentator Simon Doull got a shot in early: "I'm not going to call it [a] controversy because the right decision has been made, but it's harsh. Was it done in the right way - who knows."

Smith has a fair debating point that the replay should not be up on the public viewing screen until after the next delivery. Having said that, last night's Marsh Incident, as this is sure to become known, was an unusual set of circumstances.

Also there is a question of the immediate feeding of the insatiable beast, which sort of demands rapid information to the crowds.

Remember the All Blacks test against South Africa at Ellis Park in 2014 when referee Wayne Barnes went back to penalise Liam Messam for a shoulder charge after play had moved on - on the strength of the replays on the big screen and the crowd's reaction?

So this situation is not entirely new.

Henry half-heartedly appealed to no one in particular. New Zealand coach Mike Hesson reckons about four players appealed.

TV replays are too narrow to back that, although Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket did support Henry's mild appeal.

The minutiae of who did what, and when, is soon to be lost in time. The world won't change. It's only sport. No one died. Did it change the outcome of the match, and series? Maybe, maybe not.

A combination of circumstances conspired to produce a fascinating vignette within a remarkable match. No more, no less.

- NZ Herald

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