There was one glaring mis-step from Ben Stokes which cost England a wicket on the second morning of the Ashes, giving Australian opener David Warner a reprieve when he was on 17.
It soon emerged that Stokes, bowling his first over in a test match since March, had also overstepped the crease on his previous three deliveries and not been called for a no-ball by the umpires.
Later still, Australia’s Ashes broadcaster Channel 7 revealed Stokes had overstepped the front crease 14 times in Thursdays’ opening session and had only been called twice for a no-ball.
The missed opportunity on Warner was a problem for Stokes and England. The amended decision: no ball. Warner got to play on. One run was added to the total — in the sundries column — and an extra delivery had to be bowled in the over.
But it exposed a bigger problem for the match officials.
Cricket Australia said a technology problem at the Gabba meant that the third umpire, Paul Wilson, couldn’t review TV replays of every delivery to check if bowlers were over-stepping the crease, leaving it to the on-field umpires to make the calls.
Ex-Australia test captain Ricky Ponting described it as “pathetic officiating” during the match commentary.
The International Cricket Council is responsible for the implementation of that system that allows the TV official to check for no-balls.
Before a change in the rules last year, it was standard practice for on-field umpires to inform bowlers when they were close to over-stepping and to signal a no-ball.
England captain Joe Root, speaking to Fox Cricket during a break in play, said the missing chance against Warner was “frustrating.”
“The fact we’re creating a good number of chances is really pleasing,” he said. “We’ve got to stay confident … keep trusting what we’re doing and believing we’ll get the rewards.”
England was bowled out for 147 on day one of the series Wednesday, a tally the Australians passed with the loss of one wicket.