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‘It couldn’t be plumber’ – the lbw decision that could have lost England the Edgbaston Test

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Billy Bowden’s decision to give Michael Kasprowicz out at the end of the 2005 Edgbaston Test is one of the most famous DRS ‘what-ifs’ in the history of the game.

Adjudged to be caught behind, with his glove off the bat handle, Kasprowicz would surely have reviewed the decision had DRS been available in 2005 and England’s famous series-changing victory might never have happened.

But what is often forgotten is that Kasprowicz should arguably have been given out lbw 10.2 overs earlier.

Off his third delivery at the crease, Kasprowicz, who shifted across his stumps, was struck on the pads by Andrew Flintoff. In this instance, with Australia needing 55 runs to win, Bowden did not raise his finger.

On the Sky Sports Watchalong of the Edgbaston finale, Marcus Trescothick, Rob Key and Nasser Hussain discussed whether Kasprowicz should have been given out. After watching the delivery in question, Trescothick instinctively said: “That lbw is close surely.” Key went further, saying that he thought it was “hitting middle of middle.”

Hussain and Trescothick suggested that Kasprowicz might have been hit outside the line of off stump or hit the ball, but slow motion replays dispelled the first of those doubts and made the latter seriously unlikely.

Key remained adamant. “I think that’s out,” he said after further replays. On the original Sky Sports commentary, Holding concurred. “It couldn’t be plumber,” said the West Indian fast bowling great.

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