Waugh let off Butcher's hook - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waugh let off Butcher's hook

By Roger Vaughan 26/12/2002 08:24:25 PM Comments (0)

The controversial video replay unnecessarily overshadowed a rare moment of Test cricket sportsmanship at the MCG on Boxing Day.

Third umpire Darrell Hair was called to rule on Mark Butcher's "catch" at second slip off Steve Waugh, even as Waugh was shaking Butcher's hand to thank him for his honesty.

The Australian captain was on 56 when he edged English paceman Andy Caddick to Butcher on the opening day of the fourth Ashes Test.

Television replays suggested Butcher might have taken the catch low to the ground, but Butcher immediately said he was unsure.

The trouble was, several English fielders thought the ball could have carried and so the umpires referred it to Hair.

As the players waited, Waugh and Butcher shook hands and Hair then ruled in the Australian's favour.

"As soon as the ball went into my hand, I wasn't sure if it carried or not," Butcher said.

"Other fielders around me appealed and as a result of that it went to the third umpire.

"Steve asked me if I'd caught it and I said I wasn't sure.... Steve turned around and thanked me for my honesty."

Butcher added he had seen a replay of the incident and thought it showed he was right to have doubts.

The use of the third umpire to adjudicate on catches has led to several awkward moments in international matches over the last few years and there have been calls to do away with the provision.

Cricket's governing body the ICC will not use the third umpire to rule on catches in the upcoming World Cup.

Australian opener Matthew Hayden said the English appeal for the catch looked "terrible" because none of the fielders seemed sure.

Hayden and Justin Langer, who was at the non-striker's end when Waugh edged Caddick, praised Butcher for his conduct.

"To his great credit, he reacted exactly how every professional cricketer should react," Langer said of the Englishman.

Langer did not think the ball had carried, but added cheekily: "It'd be controversial if I said it was a definite catch, wouldn't it?"

Langer and Hayden were also rapt for their skipper, who batted with purpose for his unbeaten 62 after several days of intense speculation about his Test future.

Waugh said this week he would wait until after the New Year Test in Sydney as to whether he would continue as Australian captain.

He received standing ovations from the crowd when he went out to bat and when he reached his half-century.

"It's great to see the skipper getting runs, to back up his last performance - he's a true iceman under pressure," Hayden said.

Langer said Waugh's mood was: "the same as ever - you know, ruthless."

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