Australia reeling after decision review shambles

Last Updated: Fri, Jul 19, 2013 18:48 hrs

Australia again committed Decision Review Suicide at Lord's on Friday as their continual failure to master the referral system precipitated a first-innings implosion that left them staring at defeat in the second Ashes test.

The tourists had promised to learn from their mistakes in the first test last week, when ill-advised DRS (decision review system) referrals cost them dear in a 14-run defeat, yet they again gambled away their get-out-of-jail cards early in a chaotic and probably fatal second session.

In the over before lunch Australia were 42 without loss in reply to England's 361, but 40 overs later they were all out for 128.

Two DRS reviews were wasted and the one dismissal that would have been overturned on appeal was allowed to stand as the Australians again appeared muddled in their use of the system.

The cumulative effect and dispiriting influence of those DRS failures may well also have subconsciously contributed to some of the subsequent poor decisions and shoddy shot selection that left the sun-drenched Lord's crowd wondering what they were seeing.

Having spent decades watching Australia Lord it over the hosts at the home of cricket, the boot was firmly on the other foot on Friday as it was the tourists' turn to look frazzled and overwhelmed by the occasion.

Under the leadership of the likes of Ian Chappell, Allan Border and Steve Waugh, Australia built a reputation as the mentally toughest team in world cricket but the current crop appeared nervous and almost desperate as they found a variety of ways to get themselves out on a good batting wicket in perfect weather.

The die was cast just before lunch when Shane Watson, having accumulated a stylish 30, was plumb lbw to Tim Bresnan but wasted his team's first review before trudging off.

Fellow opener Chris Rogers, who averages almost 66 for Middlesex at Lord's in the last two years, was looking similarly untroubled when he was startled by a Graeme Swann full toss that hit him waist-high as he slogged and missed.

Rogers was probably suffering a mixture of shock and embarrassment when the umpire raised his finger and with only one review left he declined to use it.

Replays showed he should have done, as Swann's errant ball was heading wide of leg stump.


Phil Hughes then lashed at a Bresnan wide ball, edged it to wicketkeeper Matt Prior and immediately called for a review - which duly confirmed the umpire's decision.

When captain Michael Clarke was lbw to a Stuart Broad yorker he left the square shaking his head and muttering, no doubt frustrated that he had no appeals left - despite the fact that replays showed him justly dismissed.

A schoolboy run-out and some more loose shots left Australia all out for 128 - 233 behind and staring at a 2-0 series deficit.

"It's a shambles. I'm not really sure what's happening out there," former Australian pace bowler Glenn McGrath told BBC Radio.

"Shane Watson, much as I love him, I'm not sure what he was doing reviewing that. If he hadn't, Rogers would have reviewed his and all this might not have happened."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan agreed. "That Watson review set everything off and set the tone," he said.

"The confidence level is now blown away."

After the Trent Bridge test, when England's Stuart Broad stood his ground after being given not out after an obvious edge after Australia were left without reviews, Clarke admitted he needed to improve.

"I'm not happy with my use, because we haven't got many right," he said. "I'm going to concentrate on getting my referrals better.

"Both teams are using the DRS and in this game especially England have used it better than I have. I need to keep working on that."

At the end of a terrible day for Australia, Clarke will go back to the drawing board, though any improvement already looks likely to be too little, too late.

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