Following my pieces on the summers of 1984-85 and 1985-86, here is the third in my trauma trilogy – a reminisce of the 1986-87 cricket season.
Umpire Joel Wilson has shocked Australia for a third straight Test but Tim Paine only has himself to blame after wasting a review that could have retained the Ashes.
Wilson shook his head as Australia went up in unison for a Nathan Lyon lbw shout in the penultimate over of the nerve-jangling third Test, at which point the tourists held a one-run lead.
Ball-tracking replays showed why, confirming Wilson erred and the on-field verdict could have been overturned on review.
Ben Stokes disputed that verdict, arguing “DRS has got that completely wrong … cannot believe it was three reds”, but the match-winning allrounder’s opinion would have counted for zero if Paine had the power to send it upstairs.
However, Australia’s skipper had already burned both referrals as his ineffectual use of the system continued to prove a talking point in the series.
Paine insisted Wilson’s verdict, which comes after the Trinidadian’s contentious ruling on a catch as third umpire at Lord’s and some eight overturned decisions in the Edgbaston series opener, was “irrelevant”.
But the keeper struggled to hide his disbelief, noting in a post-match interview with Nine that he “can’t fathom why or how that wasn’t given out”.
“England had two referrals, so if it was given out the correct decision would have been made upstairs,” Paine said.
The veteran then told reporters he “saw it live, that’s all I needed to see”.
“I don’t want to watch that again,” Paine said.
“To sit down and single out an umpire is unnecessary. He is no different to everyone else, he is allowed to make mistakes.
“I’ve got every review wrong, so I’m going to give up and give it to someone else.”
Wilson’s struggles in Birmingham led to calls for English and Australian umpires, who make up more than half of the elite panel, to adjudicate in the Ashes.
That debate will continue but Australia will review their reviews rather than focus on an umpire playing no further part in the five-Test series.
England were 2-140 when Paine referred an lbw shout from Lyon in an effort to dismiss Joe Denly, while they were eight runs short of victory when the desperate captain rolled the dice on an lbw appeal from Pat Cummins.
“Spur of the moment (decision) …. have a dabble at it,” Paine recalled of his second review.
“I got it wrong.”
Stokes suggested the drama “shows how crucial it is to make sure you use your reviews, when you get to a situation like that, you still need one.
“If they had one, they would have used it and ended up winning,” the allrounder said.