Saturday, 16 January 2010

Sorry to Harp on about this but... is umpire Daryl South Africa's Man of the Series?

DARYL HARPER. What a man. The television umpire who failed England so badly on day two of the final Test at The Wanderers yesterday, was at it again this morning.
The 57-year-old Australian (right, showing what a character he is with fellow umpire Asad Rauf) who failed to turn his volume button up, thus allowing South African captain Graeme Smith to progress from 15 to a match-changing 105, reprieved AB De Villiers twice this morning after he had been given out by the on-field umpires.
And just before lunch he turned down Graeme Swann's plea for the wicket of Mark Boucher, LWB. Harper was right each time. But he seems to be England's bogeyman right now, with every decision going South Africa's way.
De Villiers enjoyed all sorts of luck as he attempted to dig his side out of the hole they had dug for themselves this morning.
First Hashim Amla, looking set for his second century of the series on 75, was out on the tenth ball of the day, caught behind by Matt Prior off a superb ball from Stuart Broad.
Six balls later, Jacques Kallis was gone, brilliantly taken by Jimmy Anderson on the dive off Ryan Sidebottom. Getting Kallis for 7 was a big bonus for England and at 217-4 the tails were up.
After a brief lull, Andrew Strauss turned to Graeme Swann, as he has all series, for the breakthrough. And with his first ball - it's becoming a habit - he had JP "Crash Test" Duminy caught by Collingwood and it was 235-5.
Swann then had De Villiers given out twice - on 11 and 24 - by New Zealand umpire Tony Hill. But De Villiers called for a review both times. The close catch on 11 may or may not have brushed the bat, the lbw on 24 was not out. But given that shocker yesterday - Harper failed to hear the Smith snick which echoed around the cricket-speaking world - you might expect a bit of help from the man!
AB De Villiers, who survived having the ball come to rest against his stumps without removing a bail (much to Paul Collingwood's chagrin) and a further apparent edge behind, made it through to lunch with 43 off 99 balls, the always-dangerous Mark Boucher went to his fifty just before lunch after surviving Swann's LBW review.
At 324-5 at the break, South Africa are 144 ahead and these two have put on a vital 89.
For the first time in this Test, England threatened to win a session. But those three early wickets were not enough to make any difference to the eventual outcome. As long as the Highveld thunder storms stay away, this one is South Africa's, the series will be tied 1-1 and the hosts will retain the Basil D'Oliviera trophy they won in England three years ago.
Meanwhile Harper - backed by the ICC this morning - has turned to Facebook to justify his position.
After yesterday's knob-twiddling sensation he posted these quotes on his site: "The truth about Smith's decision may come out eventually. The host broadcaster didn't provide the appropriate sound to match the picture. The commentator, Matthew Hoggard, told the viewers that there was no sound - so Smith would be given not out.
"Sadly when the technology fails... and that means that some engineer has failed to do his job... they must find a scapegoat, and the umpire is an easy target because we can't fight back... usually.
"Five minutes later, they found a sound and blamed me! Other networks found the sound immediately, but we didn't get their sound feed."
Good defence Daryl, but how about coming to speak to us in the press box. Just a gentle chat. If you can comment on Facebook, surely you can talk to the journalists?
England, without any reviews left, have asked the ICC to reinstate the one wasted during the Smith controversy yesterday.


  1. I still think 'Random' Rudi Koertzen should have been England's Man of the Series during the Ashes. I guess the Fates have a sense of humour...

  2. Yeah, like throwing a huge thunderstorm at Johannesburg... and it neatly crawls around the stadium! Hardly got anything here while all around were deluged!