the face of some glaring umpiring decisions which went against
the regional team, the West Indies was able to come away
from the Antigua Test against the Australians with an honourable
Not since 1995, some 13 years ago, has the West Indies emerged
from a Test match against Australia with such a result.
It has been a string of losses against the world champions,
sometimes in a most embarrassing manner, including defeats
within three days.
It is to the credit of Ramnaresh Sarwan and his team that
not only did the West Indies hold the Aussies to a draw,
but the ten days of cricket played over the two Test matches
have been competitive, with the home team having the upper
hand in some instancesa far cry from the dominance
which the visitors have enjoyed in the past.
While a draw seemed inevitable after the West Indies batsmen,
led by the indefatigable Shivnarine Chanderpaul and captain
Sarwan, manfully guided their team to safety, it can be
argued that poor umpiring had the potential to turn the
West Indies best moment against Australia in the last
13 years into disaster.
Three bad decisions within the space of four balls by umpire
Russell Tiffin in the first innings, which helped a very
lucky Brett Lee to return figures that he should not have
enjoyed, transformed the West Indies from a position of
comfort to the possibility of defeat.
Another late in the day by the other official, Mark Benson,
denied Jerome Taylor the wicket of Australian captain Ricky
Ponting, while the decision that favoured Andrew Symonds
on a gloved leg-side catch was the exact opposite to that
against Dwayne Bravo off his thigh pad at the start of Tiffins
The decisions initiated discussions once more on the use
of television technology to aid umpires. Each decision was
shown, on replay, to be wrong.
It was in March that the International Cricket Council (ICC)
approved a trial for a review system that would allow players
to ask the on-field umpire to review decisions in consultation
with the third umpire. Teams would be limited to a maximum
of three unsuccessful referrals in an innings. The ICCs
cricket committee, comprising former top players, umpires
and media representatives, endorsed the proposal last month.
Had this been in existence during this match, at least six
decisions would have been reversed, four of them in favour
of the West Indies.
At the point of Bravos unfortunate ejection, the West
Indies was grinding its way into a sound position and it
would have been interesting to see what would have happened
had he and Chanderpaul been allowed to continue their partnership,
which at the time was worth 132 runs.
Ramdin and Sammy were also undone by Tiffin, much to Lees
insistent appealing rather than the quality of his bowling,
both being struck outside the off stump.
Some have argued that umpires appear to give the benefit
of the doubt to the white teams, particularly
Australia, and point to the number of wrong decisions which
followed the careers of West Indian Brian Lara and Indias
Sachin Tendulkar while cricketers like Ponting, in particular,
have not suffered the same fate.
Justice, we feel, must not only be done but if there is
a system that can ensure that it is done, we make no apologies
in calling for it.
The ICC decision in March seems the way to go. This Test
match proves that. It is time to bring on the technology.