29 Jul Ashes run-out rules leave Stuart Broad confused
In the fifth and last Test match at The Oval, England fast bowler, Stuart Broad, playfully spoke about his lack of knowledge regarding the rules after a TV umpire’s decision declared Australia’s Steve Smith not out.
In the same match, substitute fielder George Ealham, son of former England cricketer Mark Ealham, also swiftly closed in from the boundary as Smith tried to make daring two runs.
Ealham’s precise throw reached the diving batsman just in the nick of time, seemingly leaving him short of the crease. This incident evoked memories of the 2005 Ashes, where the relatively unknown Gary Pratt famously ran out Ricky Ponting.
However, upon detailed analysis of the replays, it became apparent that the England wicketkeeper, Jonny Bairstow, unintentionally dislodged a bail a split second before gathering the ball.
Smith had been on his way to the pavilion when he turned on his heels, with TV umpire Nitin Menon ruling in his favour.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), cricket’s lawmakers, posted a clarification of the rules on its social media channels.
Paceman Broad, who took 2-49, admitted he was non-plussed.
“I honestly don’t know the rules,” he said. “I think there was enough grey area to give that not out.
“What are the rules? Was it the right decision? It looked sort of benefit-of-the-doubt-type stuff.
“First angle I saw I thought ‘out’ and the side angle looked like the bail was probably dislodged.”
Smith went on to make 71 as Australia reached 295 at the end of the second day, 12 runs ahead of England´s first-innings total of 283.
Australia’s star batsman said initially he thought he might be out but a second angle put doubt into his mind.
He was asked whether he knew the rules.
“Don’t the bails have to come out off the stumps, out of the grooves or something as far as I know?” Smith replied.
“But you’ve just got to go off the umpire and what he says and fortunately for me he said ‘not out’.”
The MCC said in its post: “The wicket is broken when at least one bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or one or more stumps is removed from the ground.
“Tom Smith’s Cricket Umpiring and Scoring, MCC’s official interpretation of the laws of cricket, adds: “For the purposes of dismissal — a bail has been removed at the moment that both ends of it leave their grooves.”
England, trailing 2-1 after the rain-affected draw at Old Trafford, must win this match to level the series.
Holders Australia, seeking their first Ashes series win in England since 2001, have already retained the urn.