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Cricket: Black Caps' opportunistic DRS referrals produce mixed results

Black Caps batsmen Kane Williamson. Photo / Photosport.co.nz
Black Caps batsmen Kane Williamson. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

New Zealand experienced the full spectrum of decision review system emotion on the final day of the second test victory against Pakistan.

Captain Kane Williamson was pivotal to proceedings as his side earned the country's first
series victory over the visitors since 1985.

There was indecision, disappointment, dithering, awkwardness, intuition and genius in the way the New Zealanders applied their judgement.

Exhibit A: 22nd over, Matt Henry to Azhar Ali.

The ball flew past at chest height as Azhar leaned back. There was a muffled query over a phantom noise. Williamson consulted widely to an audience of open palms and querulous faces before asking for a review. The ball missed everything.

Exhibit B: 38th over, Colin de Grandhomme to Sami Aslam.

A lbw appeal was rejected. Another period of consultation began before Williamson signaled for a referral. Umpire Simon Fry said New Zealand had taken too long. Sky footage of the incident showed Aslam would have been out for 31. He made 91.

Exhibit C: 85th over, Tim Southee to Younis Khan.

Younis left a ball on the line of fourth stump but it angled back. Kaboom. The pads took a hit with no shot offered. Umpire Sundaram Ravi issued a 'not out' but New Zealand had two new reviews with the second new ball. The ball tracker said it was hitting the top of off stump.

With his captaincy in its infancy​, Williamson says reviewing and referring are skills he's perfecting.

"With the change in rules of how much of the ball needs to hit the stumps to overturn it, I'm in favour of taking an opportunistic approach. I think we did that today with Younis, one of the game's greats. It was a huge wicket."

Williamson said the delay in the Aslam example was unfortunate, but not a product of hesitancy because he had got the first one wrong.

"It would've made my stats look better," he quipped.

"I was at cover, and it was hard to get an angle on the line of the delivery. I tried to get communication on it, but the guys weren't sure. It was tough. People have gone back on the replay and timed it. Maybe I was just in? Still, it's cricket, that's the way it goes sometimes."

A duration of 15s is believed to be the rule-of-thumb to make a call, but the timing system isn't exactly the sort which might record a Usain Bolt 100m.

It's understood the Black Caps coaching staff sought clarification on the ruling and were told the stopwatch starts when the umpire says "not out".

"I came off and the coaches were looking at it," Williamson said. "But he [umpire Fry] did warn me. I was still trying to get some information, then I missed the boat."

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