Mahanama clarifies TV umpire’s decision in Johannesburg Test

ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama has sought to clarify the TV umpire’s decision against South Africa opener Graeme Smith during the second day’s play in the fourth and last Test against England in Johannesburg on Friday.

“The England side, after Graeme Smith was adjudged not out by on-field umpire Tony Hill off the bowling of Ryan Sidebottom, requested for a review of the decision which was accepted and referred to third umpire Daryl Harper.

“The third umpire, when reviewing the decision, used a range of technologies that were made available to him by the host broadcaster, including the slow-motion replays, amplified stump microphone sound (at normal speed and slow motion), approved ball-tracking technology and pitch mat generated by the ball-tracking technology.

“During the review, the TV umpire followed the correct protocol and as he did not hear any noise to indicate the ball hitting the bat, he recommended Mr Hill to uphold his earlier decision. It must be noted that umpire’s decision is final.

“There have also been suggestions in a section of the press that Mr Harper had turned down the feed volume. It is clarified that the volume on the third umpire’s feed, right throughout the series, had been configured to optimise the quality of the audio, by both an SABC Head Engineer and the ICC technical advisor.

“It is also worthwhile to mention here that at no stage I indicated to the England team management that the third umpire had forgotten to adjust the volume of the speakers. I had actually briefed the England team management of the protocols that were followed during this review.

“If the audio level had been increased above its optimum level, distortion on the audio feed would have occurred and the feed might not have given a clear indication of the true sound.

“It should be kept in mind that the TV umpires sometimes receive feeds which are at a different level to what others are receiving for the simple fact that various broadcasters at times use different technologies while televising a match and Johannesburg Test is a case in point.

“In the end, it must be remembered that there needs to be conclusive evidence to over-turn the decision of the on-field umpire as the Decision Review System has been designed to eliminate the obvious umpiring errors.”