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“Is the soft signal required?” - England bowling coach on contentious Devon Conway call

Devon Conway survived a close call for a low catch. Pic: Getty Images
Devon Conway survived a close call for a low catch. Pic: Getty Images
ANALYST

England bowling coach Jon Lewis has admitted that the hosts were not quite pleased with the soft signal call pertaining to Devon Conway, which gave the New Zealand batsman an early reprieve in his innings.

In the 10th over of the New Zealand innings on Day 2 of the Edgbaston Test, Conway edged England pacer Stuart Broad to third slip, with Zak Crawley taking a low ‘catch’.

The on-field umpire referred the decision upstairs with a soft signal of "not out". Replays were inconclusive and the New Zealand batsman survived, leaving Broad visibly frustrated. To add to England’s woes, Conway went on to score a brisk 80.

At the end of the day’s play, Lewis, while speaking to the press, made it clear that the England camp was disappointed with the ruling going in the batsman’s favor. He also questioned the logic of a soft signal. Lewis said:

"You could see from the reaction on the field they were clearly frustrated by that. It's sport and it divides opinion. New Zealand will be happy, we will be frustrated. But the question really is, is the soft signal required? Should there be one, or could the guy off the field make the decision? "You have to ask the question, is it necessary? Should you make life as easy as possible for the officials?"

Conway, on the other hand, offered a differing view to the England camp. The Kiwi opener, who registered a double hundred on his Test debut at Lord's last week, stated that if technology exists, it should be used. The 29-year-old, reflecting on the incident, commented:

"I nicked it and looked back because I wasn't 100 per cent sure if it did carry. I stood there to wait and see if the umpire was going to give me out and fortunately the ruling went my way. I'm pretty grateful it perhaps bounced in front of the fielder and I'm pretty happy I got another chance. We've got technology to prove whether guys catch it or if it dropped short, why not use the technology if we have it?"

Stuart Broad showed the way for England: Jon Lewis

While England had a tough day in the office, Broad was their best bowler by some distance. He claimed 2 for 22 in 15 overs, and also went past Courtney Walsh’s record of 519 Test wickets. Lewis was all praise for Broad’s effort and said:

"He was outstanding, he bowled fantastically well, really put in a shift for the whole time and showed the way for the other guys.”

Lewis also admitted that Dan Lawrence’s dismissal of Will Young (82) towards the end of the day was a much-needed respite:

"It was a real bonus wicket. It will make our lives a little bit easier and gives us someone fresh to bowl at."

Responding to England’s first-innings total of 303, New Zealand had progressed to 229 for 3 at stumps on Day 2. Ross Taylor is unbeaten on 46.


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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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