Nathan Lyon took a shot at umpire Paul Reiffel after controversy erupted on the final day of the third cricket Test against South Africa at the SCG. Australia needed 14 wickets on Sunday to pull off an improbable victory, but only managed six as the match ended in a draw.
With South Africa digging in and frustrating the Aussies just after lunch, Lyon thought he'd trapped Simon Harmer lbw twice in two overs, but Reiffel turned down both appeals. Pat Cummins referred both decisions to DRS, and both referrals showed the ball to be hitting the stumps.
However the first was ruled 'umpire's call' because the ball wasn't hitting enough of the leg stump, while the second was ruled the same due to where it struck Harmer's pad. The second referral was also shown to be clipping the leg stump.
Because Reuffel's on-field call was not out, the third umpire was left with no choice but to uphold both decisions. Aussie players were incredulous on the field, throwing their hands on their heads in disbelief.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 8, 2023
Lyon lashed out at Reiffel after the second appeal was turned down. "It only has to be hitting the bails, not the entire stump," he said.
Luckily for the Aussies they removed Harmer soon after for 47, with Josh Hazlewood bowling the South African tail-ender for the ninth wicket of the innings. But fans and commentators were still unhappy with the decisions from Reiffel.
Others also lashed out over the DRS rules that require over 50 per cent of the ball to be hitting the stump for an on-field call to be overturned, especially when another call went against Australia in South Africa's second innings. This time it was umpire Chris Gaffaney who erred on the side of caution after a shout from Lyon, which also reverted to umpire's call after a review.
Umpires call is BS. It’s either hitting the stumps or it’s not. Ridiculous!
— Damo71 (@Damien_1971) January 8, 2023
No way it’s turned that far! What a joke!
— Drew Semmens (@drewie_5) January 8, 2023
— Nathan Lambden (@LambdenNathan) January 8, 2023
God cricket has some stupid rules
There was no way Marahaj ball was going to hit stumps as his bat was in the way, yet a ball that will clearly hit the stumps is deemed not out bcos of where it pitches
The dismissal is LBW so should be out if ball is going to hit stumps#AUSvSA
— CouchSpecimen (@couch_specimen) January 8, 2023
— Bec (@IamBex12) January 8, 2023
Aussies enforce follow-on after Proteas out for 255
Harmer and Keshav Maharaj combined for an 85-run partnership that left the Aussies highly frustrated. However Hazlewood's dismissal of Maharaj for 53 opened the floodgates, with Australia eventually bowling the Proteas out for 255.
Lyon claimed the final wicket of Kagiso Rabada for three after a sharp caught-and-bowled. That allowed Cummins to enforce the follow-on because South Africa were still 220 runs behind Australia's first innings total of 4-475.
Australia's only hope of winning the Test match was bowling out South Africa twice. Victory would have given them a 3-0 clean sweep of the series and sealed their place in the World Test Championship final. However they will now need to draw or win in one of the four Tests in India next month or hope New Zealand don't lose both of their home Tests against Sri Lanka in March.
Hazlewood finished with figures of 4-48 in the first innings, while Cummins took 3-60 after doing the damage late on day four. Lyon and part-time spinner Travis Head each claimed wickets on Sunday, while Australia's second specialist spinner Ashton Agar went wicketless in his first Test in five years.
The Aussies also missed a number of chances in the field, with Agar, Head, Alex Carey and Marnus Labuschagne all grassing catches - some more difficult than others. The Aussies also copped a rare five-run penalty when a ball evaded Carey off Head's bowling and hit a helmet on the ground behind the wicket-keeper.
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