DRS Operator Virtual Eye admits to a human error in 'fourth stump' mistake in during AUS vs IND SCG Test

Steve Smith getting umpire's call on DRS in SCG despite the ball pitching close to leg-stump had raised many eye-brows.

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Steve Smith's DRS
Steve Smith’s DRS. (Photo Source: Twitter)

A controversy had erupted on the Day 3 of the third Test match between India and Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground after the spectators questioned the credibility of the Virtual Eye Projection as a review showed the fourth stump. Reacting to the whole episode, the operators of the Decision Review System (DRS) admitted that a technical error had occurred that day and as a result, the ‘fourth stump’ appeared on the screen.

Batting in the third innings at SCG, Australia was soaring high on confidence as Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith had stitched a crucial unbeaten partnership of 68 runs. India had hoped to claim the wicket of the former Australian captain and break this match-defining partnership in the 12th over only as they took a review on the first delivery bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin on Day 3.

Smith was trying to attempt a sweep shot against Ashwin but missed the line and the ball struck low on the pad. Captain Ajinkya Rahane was reluctant to go for review but Ashwin was pretty much confident and the skipper showed faith in his bowler.

Fortunately, the error was within the ‘umpires call’ margin, says Ian Taylor

This is when an error occurred in the projection as there was an inconsistency between the graphic of the ball’s path and the actual image of the shot on which it had been overlaid. However, the decision wasn’t compromised as Steve Smith wasn’t given out.

Speaking to Cricbuzz, Ian Taylor, MD of Virtual Eye that operates DRS in Australia and New Zealand, revealed, “We tracked the ball normally in our tracking system and it showed it missing the stumps. For the DRS the next step is to play the ball track back, superimposed over the ‘end on’ broadcast TV camera when the 3rd umpire calls for it.

“At the start of play, we calibrate the two TV cameras at each end of the pitch to ensure they are perfectly aligned when we play our ball track over the live camera. When we did that, before going to air, it was fine and the ball was clearly missing.”

Taylor further justified the presence of the fourth stump by saying, “Just before we were going to replay, the end-on camera lost focus for an instant and when that happens it loses its calibration and we have to recalibrate. It happens a few times during the day but this was the first time it had ever happened between the time we tracked the ball and the time we had to replay it. It was human error on our part. Fortunately, the error was within the ‘umpires call’ margin so the result stood — as it should have.”

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