English umpire, Nigel Llong has been moved from third umpire duty for the second Test of the upcoming series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Llong will now officiate as the on-field umpire for both the Test matches. He will be partnering Richard Kettleborough in the first Test.
Llong, who was the third umpire during the day-night Test between New Zealand and Australia, was at the centre of a controversy. On-field umpire S Ravi had given Nathan Lyon not out, following which New Zealand asked for a review. Llong wrongly ruled Lyon as not out after Hot Spot had clearly shown the batsman had edged the ball.
The decision turned out to be a crucial one as Australia were 118/8 at the time Llong made the gaffe. Lyon went on to make 34 runs and help his side take a first innings lead. The International Cricket Council (ICC) went on to make a statement on Twitter admitting Llong's error in judgement.
(1 of 3): ICC has replied to correspondence from NZC relating to the Nathan Lyon DRS review in the 3rd Test.— ICC Media (@ICCMediaComms) December 1, 2015
(2 of 3): ICC has reviewed the decision and acknowledged that it was incorrect.— ICC Media (@ICCMediaComms) December 1, 2015
(3 of 3): ICC confirms the umpire followed the correct protocol, but made an incorrect judgment.— ICC Media (@ICCMediaComms) December 1, 2015
McCullum supports Llong
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum came out in support of the under-fire umpire as he expressed his confidence in the appointment of Llong as an umpire for their home Test series against Sri Lanka.
“I am 100 per cent confident in Nigel Llong being involved in this series, I think he is a world-class umpire. He made a couple of mistakes and whilst it was frustrating at the time we have moved on from that. The good thing for Nigel is he is able to get back on the horse and get back out there.
“There's no hard feelings. Everyone in this game is just trying to do their best and you are going to make occasional mistakes and it doesn't change the fact they are good people and excellent umpires as well,” McCullum said.
New Zealand play the first Test match on December 10 in Dunedin. Sri Lanka, who are a team in transition, will look to put on a good show in the one month-long tour. The Dunedin wicket is supposed to help seam bowling and it looks like the Kiwis will play four seamers – Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner.
Sri Lanka will miss the services of an injured Dhammika Prasad and opener Kusal Perera, who was recalled failing a drugs test. Despite losing the Test series against Australia 2-0, McCullum was happy with the performance of his team and believed that the Kiwis can overcome Sri Lanka.
“We've still got to put the Ws in the column but from a gradual improvement point of view, I think it sets us up nicely for what is a pretty eye-watering summer Test series for us,” McCullum said.
After the first Test at Dunedin, New Zealand and Sri Lanka will play the final Test at Hamilton. Following the Test series, the teams are set to play five ODIs and two T20Is, finishing the series on January 10, 2016.