Aussie Cricket great SLAMS ‘sad’ referee decision after yet another no-catch controversy

Australian cricketer Kerry O’Keeffe bemoaned a “sad” refereeing decision that hurt Australia’s already slim chances of winning the third Test of the series against South Africa.

The hosts failed in their attempt to cleanly conquer South Africa and the Proteas held on to draw the rain-soaked third Test at the SCG.

South Africa bowled out for 255 in their first innings and asked to go on. South Africa survived 41.5 overs and was 2-106 when the game was 5.1 overs left.

Steve Smith (centre) was denied a perfectly legitimate catch at Sunday's SCG

Steve Smith (centre) was denied a perfectly legitimate catch at Sunday’s SCG

However, their second innings were not without controversy.

Steve Smith appeared to have removed Heinrich Klaasen in the 24th over after slipping a delivery low from Nathan Lyon.

Smith seemed to have made a brilliant catch but the decision was sent up.

After several minutes, third referee Richard Kettleborough ruled the ball had brushed the grass before reaching a fielder and did not hand out Klaasen, who had survived an LBW scream at the referee’s call in the same over.

It was the third time in the match that Kettleborough had knocked over what appeared to be a legitimate catch.

On Saturday, Smith thought he had removed Dean Elgar with a brilliant low catch after South Africa captain Josh Hazlewood slipped. While replays showed the catch being made clean, the ball appeared to have touched the turf when Smith rolled his hand to bring it up.

On day one, meanwhile, Kettleborough didn’t release Marnus Labuschagne after the Australian was apparently caught in a slip by Simon Harmer.

Sunday’s controversy left O’Keeffe stunned.

Smith seemed to make an excellent catch to sack Heinrich Klaasen in the 24th over

Smith seemed to make an excellent catch to sack Heinrich Klaasen in the 24th over

But third referee Richard Kettleborough ruled the ball had touched the grass

But third referee Richard Kettleborough ruled the ball had touched the grass

‘I thought [with the] naked eye, he [Smith] got his fingers under the ball. but the more forensic you look, the more you can find,” he said in a comment to Fox Cricket.

‘And so […] more guesses about a catch.’

Colleague Ian Smith noted that in each of the three cases the evidence was far from conclusive to warrant a non-pending verdict.

“In all three of these cases, you ask yourself: Was the right decision made?” asked the former New Zealand Test star.

Smith (below) was denied a seemingly perfect catch when he seemingly removed Dean Elgar on day four, only for the TV referee to rule the ball had touched the grass

Smith (below) was denied a seemingly perfect catch when he seemingly removed Dean Elgar on day four, only for the TV referee to rule the ball had touched the grass

The Aussies were left frustrated when the DRS system denied them three LBW calls on Sunday

The Aussies were left frustrated when the DRS system denied them three LBW calls on Sunday

O’Keeffe replied, “I would have to say no […] that’s sad, isn’t it? I think he clearly got that.

Klaasen was later bowled out by Josh Hazlewood at 35 before Sarel Erwee (42) and Temba Bavuma (17) led South Africa into the final unbeaten.

The result left Australia 2-0 winners of the series but without guaranteed qualification for the final of the Test World Cup ahead of next month’s tour of India.

There they need to win one of the four Tests or draw to reach the final or hope New Zealand don’t lose both home Tests to Sri Lanka in March.

Klaasen survived an LBW scream in front of Lyon but was eventually bowled by Josh Hazlewood

Klaasen survived an LBW scream in front of Lyon but was eventually bowled by Josh Hazlewood

Australia was into day five, needing 14 wickets to win before the Proteas mounted their first real resistance of the summer after losses in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Lower-order batsmen Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj offered the biggest fight as they helped the tourists navigate Sunday’s first session to lose a wicket.

And while Hazlewood (4-48) removed them both after lunch, South Africa’s top-order performed much stronger in their second innings.

The speedy Aussie finished his return to the Test team 4-48 after a side load

The speedy Aussie finished his return to the Test team 4-48 after a side load

Pat Cummins opened the door briefly as Dean Elgar was caught behind the legs on 10 for the fourth time in the series, capping a horror tour as captain.

But apart from Hazlewood removing Klaasen after the tea, the tourists defended firmly.

Australia had three lbw reviews against them on the final day due to the arbitration but also had their own fault.

Sarel Erwee (left) and Temba Bavuma (right) led South Africa into the final unbeaten

Sarel Erwee (left) and Temba Bavuma (right) led South Africa into the final unbeaten

Australia clinched a 2-0 win over the Proteas in the three-Test series on Sunday

Australia clinched a 2-0 win over the Proteas in the three-Test series on Sunday

Four chances were wasted with Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey, Travis Head and Ashton Agar dropping catches.

Also of note was Ashton Agar going wicketless in his backtest after the selectors decided to pick him as the second spinner ahead of Scott Boland as the third fastest.

Sydney’s rain also damaged Agar and the pitch didn’t break up as Australia expected.

Ultimately, the weather meant Australia’s first innings wasted 4-475 after Cummins declared midway through the fourth day that Usman Khawaja was not eliminated in the 195th.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-11611455/Aussie-cricket-great-SLAMS-sad-umpiring-decision-no-catch-controversy.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Aussie Cricket great SLAMS ‘sad’ referee decision after yet another no-catch controversy

Maureen Mackey

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