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DRS in spotlight again

Joe Root appeals for a review, in Perth, on Saturday

Perth: The International Cricket Council (ICC)’s controversial Decision Review System (DRS) was in the spotlight again on the second day of the third Ashes Test, at the Waca, on Saturday.

English batsman Joe Root was given out caught behind by umpire Marais Erasmus from the bowling of Shane Watson in England’s first innings.

Root, who had made just four, was adamant he had not made contact with the ball and immediately challenged the decision.

The decision was then referred to New Zealand third umpire Tony Hill, who was himself at the centre of a massive controversy in the previous Ashes series in England, when he gave out Usman Khawaja from the bowling of Graeme Swann in the third Test.

Khawaja challenged the decision, but it was stunningly upheld by third umpire Kumar Dharmasena in a decision that caused a massive furore over DRS at the time.

The replays appeared to show that Khawaja hit his pad with the bat, rather than the ball.

In Saturday’s incident Hill watched numerous replays of the Root footage, but deemed it was largely inconclusive.

Hot Spot showed no contact, while the audio evidence showed a faint noise as the ball passed the bat, although that could have been Root hitting his pad, as was evidenced by Hot Spot.

Hill decided there was not enough evidence to overturn the original decision and sent it back to Erasmus, so Root was on his way, shaking his head repeatedly as he departed.

“It was obviously a disappointing decision and a key dismissal for us,” said opener Michael Carberry. “He obviously felt he didn’t hit the ball, so he reviewed it. Obviously we’re bitterly disappointed.”

Erasmus also had one of his decisions overturned earlier in the day, when he gave centurion Steve Smith not out caught behind, only for Hill to overturn the decision on audio evidence.

Eccentric New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden also enjoyed mixed fortunes on the opening day, when he twice miscounted balls in an over.