Cricket legend Michael Holding slammed the umpires in Australia's tense World Cup clash against the West Indies, branding them "atrocious" and "weak" after several controversial calls before star all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite also took an angry swipe at the men in charge.
Holding, a former Windies fast bowler turned commentator, unleashed on the umpires after captain Jason Holder successfully reviewed an LBW decision when he was initially given out — incorrectly — for the second time.
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Holding criticised the umpires, Kiwi Chris Gaffaney and Sri Lankan Ruchira Palliyaguruge, for caving under pressure and he also took aim at the Aussies for over-appealing in their thrilling 15-run win over the side from the Caribbean.
"I am sorry but the umpiring in this game has been atrocious," Holding said in commentary during the TV broadcast.
"For one, even when I was playing and they were not as strict as they are now, you were allowed one appeal. You don't appeal two, three, four times to the umpire. That is the first thing.
"They are being intimidated (by Australia's appealing), that means they are weak. This has been an atrocious bit of umpiring by both."
Holding's spray came after umpire Palliyaguruge took his time raising his finger as Adam Zampa and his teammates appealed for an LBW decision when Holder missed a sweep shot. Holder threw his head back in dismay and consulted with his partner before going upstairs, where Hawkeye said the ball was missing leg stump.
That decision arrived after Holder had survived an earlier LBW appeal when facing Glenn Maxwell. Bowling from around the wicket, the Aussie all-rounder struck Holder on the pad but on that occasion Hawkeye said the ball had pitched outside leg stump and the skipper was allowed to remain at the crease.
Holder's ordeal with Palliyaguruge followed opener Chris Gayle's battle with umpire Gaffaney up the other end at the start of the innings.
In his 17-ball 21, Gayle was given out three times. First he was judged to have inside edged Mitchell Starc to wicketkeeper Alex Carey, but upon review, the ball missed the bat and the noise that could be heard was the pill scraping Gayle's off stump.
The zing bails, which flash red when dislodged, didn't budge. It was yet another example of the innovative item falling the way of the batsman rather than the bowler.
Earlier in the tournament South Africa's Quinton de Kock inside edged a ball onto his stumps but the bails stayed in place. The same thing happened when Sri Lankan star Dimuth Karunaratne was batting against New Zealand.
Gayle escaped on that occasion and successfully used up life number two when he challenged Gaffaney's decision after being given out LBW. Starc's yorker was shown to be missing leg stump by a fair way.
It was third time lucky for Australia when Gayle unsuccessfully reviewed another LBW shout. This time Starc had his man — but he shouldn't have been so fortunate.
Replays showed the previous delivery was a huge no-ball, with Starc overstepping the crease by a huge distance. That should have made the next ball a free hit for Gayle but instead he perished.
BRATHWAITE: 'THREE DODGY DECISIONS'
Brathwaite also fumed over the dubious officiating which went against his side.
"I don't know if I'll be fined for saying it, but I just think that the umpiring was a bit frustrating," Brathwaite told reporters. "Even when we were bowling we thought a few balls close to head height were called wides.
"Obviously three decisions ... as far as I can remember being dodgy. It was frustrating. It sent ripples through the dressing room.
"To lose Chris in a chase of 280 — he can probably get 180 of them himself.
"Whatever is to be done will be done, whatever is to be seen will be seen but as players we just need to get on with it. Obviously we were frustrated."
Brathwaite didn't go so far as to say the umpiring cost the West Indies the game and stressed there was "no confrontation" between the players and officials, but he cast doubt over how the Decision Review System (DRS) has affected his team not just today, but in the past.
"Every time we get hit on our pad the finger goes up, when we hit the opposition on their pad the finger stays down," Brathwaite said. "So we have to use our reviews and it's always missing and then we have to use our reviews when we're batting as well and it's always clipping.
"I'm not a technology person, I can't say why that happens, I can just say what I have seen happen over the past few years."
Asked why he thought the Windies were getting dudded by the DRS, Brathwaite said: "No idea."
Holder was a bit more diplomatic when pressed on the matter of umpiring. "I think I'll just say I just found ourselves a bit unlucky to be on the other end of all the decisions. I guess honest mistakes from the umpires, I don't want to get into the officiating part, but it's just ironic," Holder said.
"I don't even know what to say about it, but it is a funny situation where all of them went against us, and then we had to review them, but I guess that's part of the game again."
Holder could only laugh when asked about Gayle's dismissal coming off what should have been a free hit given Starc overstepped the mark.
"I saw it on the screen in the dressing room, and I just laughed, man. I couldn't believe it," he said. "But again, I guess things didn't go our way today."
STARC: 'I GOT AWAY WITH ONE'
Starc only realised he'd bowled a no ball before getting Gayle out after the match and was just thankful it didn't cost him a wicket.
"I didn't (know) until about five minutes ago when someone told me," Starc said in the post-match press conference. "I'm normally pretty close, and I've actually been a fair way back (from the line) for the last few weeks. Got away with that one, fortunately."
No batsman has ever been given out three times like Gayle but the master blaster was unable to make the most of his opportunities and although his colleagues did their best to make up for it, they fell agonisingly short in a World Cup classic.
Chasing 289 for victory, Shai Hope scored an impressive 68 and Holder threatened to win the game off his own bat but the Windies' hopes fell away when he was out for 51.
Starc bowled brilliantly at the death, picking up key wickets to finish with 5/46 from 10 overs as the West Indies finished their 50 overs at 9/273.