Taylor and Hazlewood agree the timing of Lyon's DRS controversy as much as its nature made it pivotal
Lyon reprieve had 'big bearing' says Taylor
New Zealand’s Ross Taylor has conceded that the controversial third umpire decision that saw Nathan Lyon reprieved despite evidence indicating he had indeed been caught has "had a big bearing" on the third Test in Adelaide.
Lyon had not scored a run when he attempted a sweep shot against spinner Mitchell Santner that struck the batsman’s shoulder and looped to slip.
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But when on-field umpire S Ravi deemed no contact had been made with the bat, the Black Caps immediately referred the decision to video umpire Nigel Llong.
Watch: Lyon at center of DRS controversy
During the course of his prolonged review process, which was displayed on the large video screens at Adelaide Oval, the ‘Hot Spot’ infra-red imaging technology indicated a mark on Lyon’s bat that coincided with the point at which the ball would have conceivably made contact.
Upon seeing the evidence on the screen, Lyon assumed he would be given out and began walking from the field.
There was also doubt as to whether his imminent dismissal signalled the end of Australia’s first innings on 118 (84 runs in arrears) or if injured bowler Mitchell Starc would limp to the middle to try and eke out a few more crucial runs.
But as Lyon neared the boundary, more video evidence was being examined which led him to believe he might receive the benefit of the doubt in keeping with the on-field official’s ruling.
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And the NZ team grew increasingly disenchanted with the time the process was taking as well as the direction it appeared to be heading.
Watch: Dramatic twists have Test on knife edge
"The players were pretty confident it was out, the Hot Spot they showed up (on the big screen), Lyon walking off and nearly getting to the boundary," Taylor said at day’s end, choosing his words carefully to try and avoid a fine for questioning an umpire’s call.
"I think it’s had a big bearing on the match.
"We can understand when the umpires make the wrong decision on the field, but once you’ve got so many different angles and what not, you would think that 90 to 100 per cent of the time you’re going to get the right answer.
"But I guess we didn’t today."
Watch: Lyon's handy lower-order batting
The confusion was fanned by the audio of Llong’s conversation with the on-field umpires as the various technologies were employed – super slow-motion, close-up, Hot Spot, real-time snickometer and even ball tracking to rule out lbw as a potential mode of dismissal.
The appearance of the tell-tale white dot on the top edge of Lyon’s bat as the ball passed it was dismissed by Llong as not being “convincing evidence”, in keeping with previously reported comments from the technology’s inventor Warren Brennan that it is not 100 per cent fool proof.
The case became further clouded when the snickometer showed no sharp noise as is often the defining evidence in disputed edges, and after around five minutes of examination Llong made his ruling.
"There’s a mark on the bat it could come from anywhere – from a flare," the former England county cricketer explained.
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood who was watching the episode unfold from the dressing room was even more guarded with his assessment.
"It’s one of those things, all that technology there and they still couldn’t quite get a decision," Hazlewood said.
Watch: Australia miss a few opportunities in the field
He also acknowledged that the 74 runs that Lyon went on to add in a crucial ninth-wicket stand with Peter Nevill were as vital as the hour or more they ate up, which in turn pushed the end of Australia’s innings closer to twilight.
Quick single: Hazlewood ready to spearhead attack
At which time Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh exploited the night conditions in which the pink ball swings and seams more, reducing NZ to 5-116 at stumps and an overall lead of just 94.
"We talked about taking some time while we were batting to get us as close (as possible) to that evening session," Hazlewood said.
"The way those three guys (Lyon, Nevill and Starc) batted was crucial to the situation of the game, and those runs they got were very important."
Taylor, who was one of those six wickets to fall as the grip the Black Caps had seized upon the Test was loosened and ultimately released in the wake of the Lyon decision, agreed that it was the timing of the controversy as much as its nature that made it pivotal.
"The new ball does a lot under lights, so if we were able to bat a bit longer in that middle session it might have made things a little bit easier but it wasn’t to be," Taylor said.
Watch: Nigel Llong's protracted review
Pressed further to share skipper Brendon McCullum’s reaction when the five minutes of deliberation ended with a verdict in favour of the home team, Taylor sought the counsel of the team media advisor standing near him, took a long sip from a water bottle and eventually played safe.
"He (McCullum) didn’t really say much afterwards," Taylor said.
"I think that was the good thing about it, once the decision was there he was the first one to say 'come on boys, let’s just get on with it'.
"But my Facebook is going off the hook back home in New Zealand, so I think I’ve still got my match fee – haven’t I?"