Australia superstar Steve Smith almost had another screamer to add to his long list of catches, netting a brilliant try during the third and final Test against South Africa in Sydney, but was denied by the TV referee.
After hitting Dan Elgar several times during the opening overs of South Africa’s Australia Seamer first innings Josh Hazlewood found the edge of the Proteas skipper bat on the last ball of his second over.
Smith fielded at second slip, ducked forward right toward the dip ball, and briefly looked as though he’d taken a clean catch. His teammates celebrated in unison as if Smith had taken the catch of the series – which he would have – but the umpires were not at all convinced. They sent the decision up to the third umpire with a soft signal of ‘not out’.
“I don’t think Steve Smith is completely convinced, but given the angles and iterations we’ve already seen, this seems to be worn,” said cricketer turned commentator Ricky Ponting on air.
Meanwhile TV referee Richard Kettleborough kept watching the replays from different angles.
“(The ball) is carried entirely in his hand,” Ponting added.
“That didn’t bounce before it hit his hand, but you heard the third referee say ‘his fingers are split’. So they try to check with his split fingers if part of that ball actually hit the grass after going completely into his hand.
“The ball hasn’t bounced until it gets to him; it has gone completely into his hands. And now the judgment that the third umpire now has to make… does the ball go down to the ground and up?
“It’s very, very hard to say, even from the angle we have.”
After several minutes, Kettelborough finally gave the decision in favor of the batsman, much to the disappointment of the local crowd.
Here’s the video:
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 7, 2023
Some Australian fans wanted the decision to slip from their memory. “The legend @bhogleharsha said you always see what you want to see in these situations, it’s always 50:50. Move on,” one fan wrote.
After declaring their innings at 475/4 with the help of Usman Khawaja’s unbeaten 195 and Smith’s 104, Australia beat South Africa on 255 in the first innings and kept them under the pump in the second essay.
The visitors’ score was 106/2 as players from both sides shook hands and accepted the draw. Australia sealed the series 2-0 with comprehensive victories in Brisbane and Melbourne.
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