Johnson slams umpire referral system

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Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2011, 18:44 [IST]
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Johnson slams umpire referral system

After Aussie captain Ricky Ponting, now the side's premier fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, has become one of the detractors of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS). Johnson hit out at the review system after umpires used it to confirm that the ball that off-spinner Michael Beer thought he had got English opener Alistair Cook out with, was in fact a no-ball.

Debutant Michael Beer was celebrating what he thought was his first Test wicket after Cook, then on 45, skied to Ben Hilfenhaus at deep mid-on only for umpire Billy Bowden to ask the third umpire to check on a suspected no-ball.

Replays showed the spinner had overstepped the popping crease and Cook survived, finishing unbeaten on 61 at the close of play on Day 2 of the fifth and final Ashes Test of 2010-11 season, with England 167/3 and trailing Australia by 113 runs.

It was the second time in the series that England had been gifted such respite. During last week's 4th Ashes Test at Melbourne, English batsman Matt Prior was recalled to the crease following a slip catch, after the third umpire saw the replays. Prior was on five at the time, but went on to score 85.

Johnson said umpires should call a no-ball as and when they notice it rather than relying on a referral as in the case of Cook's 'life' on Tuesday.

"I guess it can be frustrating. If the umpires know it's a no-ball, they should call it, instead of waiting to call it," Johnson said. "Everyone is going to have different opinions on it. I suppose it's not a bad thing. But it can be frustrating. I suppose you've just got to get your foot behind the line."

The paceman said he felt sorry for Beer, who was playing in his first Test and believed he had obtained his maiden scalp. The batsman he would have had out, Cook, is England's leading scorer in the series with 638 runs, currently at an average of 127.60.

"It was disappointing for him that he didn't get his first wicket. It would have been a good wicket to get, too, being Cook," Johnson said. "But the way he handled himself after that, and the way he bowled, were good signs for us. It looked like he spun the ball and got a bit of drift.You could see the reaction on his face when he was called for it. It was a big moment for him."

That decision by the umpires could weigh heavily against Australia in the match, as England are in a strong position and could very well take the lead on Day 3.


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