Flower fury as Smith survives trial by TV

England coach Andy Flower attacked the review system after Graeme Smith survived appeals for a catch behind before making a crucial 4th Test ton.

updated: January 16, 2010 07:33 IST
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England coach Andy Flower attacked the Test match review system after South Africa captain Graeme Smith survived appeals for a catch behind before making a crucial fourth Test century.

Flower claimed television umpire Daryl Harper had failed to turn up the volume on his audio feed from the stump microphone after Smith had been given not out on 15 early on the second day of the final Test at the Wanderers Stadium.

He went on to make 105 and put South Africa in a strong position, 35 runs ahead with eight first innings wickets remaining.

Flower said he had twice been to see match referee Roshan Mahanama about the incident - first to establish the procedure that had been used and again when it appeared he had been given the wrong information on his first visit.

Smith survived an appeal for a catch behind the wicket off Ryan Sidebottom although there was a clear sound on television as the ball passed the bat.

England sought a review of umpire Tony Hill's decision but Harper said he could find no reason to overturn the decision.

"In the first meeting I was told the match referee gets a different audio feed from the one that SuperSport and Sky Television get," said Flower.

"On subsequent investigation we found that wasn't correct. I went back and this time he said that Daryl Harper hadn't turned up the volume on his mic. We have heard the nick but the third umpire hasn't."

Flower said the decision had come at an important time in the match.

"If it wasn't such a serious match for us I would have found that quite amusing. It's very disappointing for us to hear."

Smith earlier told journalists that "there definitely was a noise" but said he didn't think he had touched the ball with his bat.

"I thought it was my thumb on the handle. At the time I didn't feel I had hit it and I still don't feel I hit it."

Smith said there was no point in England "crying over spilt milk" because it had been known that the "snicko" and "hot spot" aids would not be available.

"We all knew what technology was available going into the series," said Smith.

Flower said although he felt "it was very clearly an edge", the incident had not affected his opinion of Smith.

"Not at all. I respect him very much as a cricketer, a leader and a person."

He said his opinion of the umpiring would be made through official channels.

"Our forum for that is the umpires report. You guys can form your own opinion."