There was an interesting decision-related incident at Uppal on Saturday.
Moises Henriques, on five, played forward to a turning delivery from Harbhajan Singh. The ball lobbed to a diving fielder at silly point and the Indians appealed strongly for a bat-pad catch.
Umpire Marais Erasmus was unsure about the catch being taken cleanly and after consultation with on-field partner Kumar Dharmasena referred the decision to third umpire S. Ravi.
The DRS is not in use in this series but the umpires can still request help from the television umpire in the event of them having doubts about the legality of the catch. The replays showed the ball had hit Henriques pads and then brushed his forearm; in other words there was no bat involved.
The third umpire’s views were quickly conveyed to the on-field umpires and the Australian was ruled not out.
But then, the question loomed. How did the on-field umpires arrive at a decision based on the ball not making contact with the bat when they could only ask – with DRS not in play – the third umpire whether the catch had been taken cleanly?
K. Hariharan, who has umpired in Tests in India and abroad, explained to The Hindu, “When a decision is referred, it sets in motion a process. First the third umpire sees whether it is a no-ball or not.
“Then he would have, in this case, seen that the ball had not made contact with the bat. So there is no question of a catch.”
He added, “The DRS is not in use here, but the third umpire checks the sequence of events.
“And he would have conveyed to the on-field umpires that the ball had come off the batsman’s pad and arm. So, the question of a catch being taken cleanly or not does not arise.”
Umpire Hariharan elaborated, “This is an unusual situation (the decision pertaining to Henriques) but is within the rules. The third umpire can only make a suggestion. Finally, it is up to the umpires.”