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Watch: The review that possibly cost Australia the World Test Championship final

Australia World Test Championship
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Watch: A review that cost them a Test match (and arguably the Ashes itself) in Headingley in 2019 has come back to haunt Australia after they missed out on the World Test Championship final in England.

India’s 3-1 series win against England ended Australia’s hopes of making the WTC final, with India and New Zealand qualifying instead. While pulling out of the South Africa series last month also put Australia’s chances in jeopardy, what will possibly haunt them more is the desperate review they took during the memorable Headingley Test in the 2019 Ashes – the first series of the World Test Championship.

Ben Stokes‘ outrageous hundred and a hard-fought last-wicket stand with Jack Leach brought England within eight runs of a Test win, chasing a 359-run target.

The tenth-wicket partnership, on 65 at the time with Stokes making all of those runs, had frustrated Australia so much that when a Pat Cummins delivery rapped Jack Leach on the pads, Tim Paine reviewed, even when it was evident to the naked eye that it was well outside leg-stump.

Ball tracking revealed as much and Australia lost all their reviews. Next over, with England just two runs shy of the target, Nathan Lyon had Stokes trapped in front of the stumps, but the massive appeal was turned down by the on-field umpire. Naturally, Australia could not review the decision. Ball tracking later showed that the ball would have crashed into the middle and leg. Had Australia saved the review they wasted the previous over, they would have secured a famous one-run victory.

Watch the review that cost Australia the World Test Championship final:

A distraught Paine later admitted that the review was a ‘spur of the moment’ decision that went wrong: “I’ve got every review wrong,” he had said. “Patty Cummins said, ‘I think it might have pitched in line, but I think he hit it’. And I said ‘well, he definitely didn’t hit it’, but I was worried where it pitched. Then it was just a spur of the moment [decision] … have a dabble at it. But, yeah, I got it wrong.”

Langer also later criticised Australia’s DRS calls in the Test match, “We’ve been really poor at it [DRS] this whole series,” Langer had said. “We talked a lot about getting better at our reviews. There wasn’t so many this game as there were at Lord’s, but certainly, we have control of that. We have your way we go about it, but sometimes you don’t quite get it right. To be fair, the one off Pat Cummins, it was getting pretty desperate at the end there and that often happens. That’s just how it works out.”

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