SK Play of the Day: Third umpire's blunder rules Azhar Ali OUT; Decision reversed later
Pakistan’s Azhar Ali would have had his heart in his mouth when he was batting on 93 as the third umpire pressed the wrong button to flash OUT on the big screen. This was despite the fact that the replays suggested that Ali was well inside the crease when the ball dislodged the bails at the non-striker’s end.
On the last ball before the drinks break during the first session of day 2 of the second Test against Australia at the MCG, the centurion from the Gabba Test Asad Shafiq confidently drove a Jackson Bird delivery straight down the ground. But the bowler got down in time and managed to get a fingertip on the ball as it rolled down and hit the stumps at the non-striker's end.
The non-striker, Azhar Ali, who was batting on 93 at the time of the incident, was backing up and hurried to get back into the crease when the ball was coming towards the stumps. Though he made it to the crease easily, umpire S Ravi went upstairs to confirm it.
It was very clear from the replays that Ali's bat was well inside the crease. But the third umpire, Richard Illingworth, gave Ali a huge scare by pressing the red button as the giant screen flashed OUT, giving the home fans a reason to cheer.
The cheers turned into boos though when Illingworth realised his mistake and pressed the right button a few seconds later, much to the delight of Ali – whose wait to reach his 12th Test ton got further delayed when a short spell of rain stopped play for a few minutes. When the play resumed, Ali got to his well-deserved century with a double off Nic Maddinson.
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Resuming day 2 from a score of 142/4, both Ali and Shafiq saw through the initial phase and cashed in with some delightful strokes. The duo put on 107 runs in 34 overs when the umpires called for an early lunch as the rain came back to interrupt the proceedings.
At lunch on day 2, Pakistan were 232/4 with Ali and Shafiq batting on 112 and 48 respectively. With the wicket assisting the Aussie spinner Nathon Lyon, Pakistan will look to post a huge total on the board and unleash Yasir Shah later in the game.