Lara bemoans circumstances of controversy

Published: Wednesday, June 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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St john's:West Indies captain Brian Lara has described as "ridiculous" the controversy that surrounded the catch taken by Daren Ganga to dismiss Mahendra Dhoni in India's second innings.

Ganga took the catch on the deep mid wicket boundary to dismiss Dhoni on the penultimate day of the first Test, but questions were raised about if the fielder had touched the boundary while completing the catch.

"It took so long - 15 minutes - for 24 big men to come to a decision," Lara told reporters at the post-match news conference on Tuesday.

"At the end of the day, it's a sport you're playing, and you got to trust the guy who you're playing against. There are situations where we can't come to a decision. Of course, it's left up to the umpires, but if we can't back each other as a team, it doesn't say much for the sport."

Umpires Simon Taufel of Australia and Asad Rauf of Pakistan referred the decision to TV Replay umpire Billy Doctrove twice, but the footage was inconclusive.

At the end of the whole incident, Lara angrily snatched the ball from Rauf, and it was finally decided that Dhoni was out-caught for 69 that prompted India's declaration at 521 for six.

"I just felt the spirit of the game was being tested," Lara said.

"As human beings, we all make mistakes, but we all want to see the betterment of the game. I think the best came out of it at the end. I had a chat with the umpires, the match referee, and Rahul Dravid after the day, and it sort of smoothed the situation up for the last day."

Taufel has defended the role of the umpires in the controversy and admitted it was a pressurised situation.

"The process is once the referral is made to the third umpire, he has to use the TV provided pictures to be able to make a decision," he said.

"It's not a consultation process, it's a referral. It's the same as a run out, a hit wicket or a stumping or anything like this."

He added: "Once the referral goes to the third umpire, it's in his jurisdiction to make that ruling. Unfortunately in this example, the third umpire was under a lot of pressure because I'm told he didn't have enough evidence to say conclusively one way or the other.

"So he kind of had a moral and technical problem on his hands, and I really sympathise with that position because I have been in that position before."

The first Test ended in a draw on Tuesday.

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