Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lankan batsman, made history in the cricketing books by getting an umpire decision reviewed and reversed using the newly introduced Referral System. The system trialed in the Test Series between India and Sri Lanka, made it possible for umpiring decisions to be challenged.
The new rules allow a batsman or fielding captain to request a review of a decision made by an on-field umpire to be referred to the third umpire, who can watch a television replay and have the final say.
Anil Kumble, captain of India, was actually the first-ever player to request a review using the new system of a decision in the match. This was for a leg-before-wicket appeal against Sri Lanka opener Malinda Warnapura. However, he was unsuccessful as the TV umpire, Koertzen, allowed the on-field umpire’s decision to prevail.
Therefore, it was Dilshan that was the first beneficiary of the new system. When the original decision by the on-field umpire Mark Benson ruling that Dilshan was caught behind off a Zaheer Khan delivery, was overturned. Dilshan made a ‘T’ sign with his hands requesting TV umpire Koertzen to review the decision. The outcome led to him being ruled not out. A first in the history of cricket.
The teams are allowed up to three appeals against decisions in each of the innings. The number being the same if any of the decisions are upheld.
The aim of this first International Cricket Council’s experiment, using this system, is to improve the accuracy of umpiring decisions made in a game and is not designed to undermine the role of on-field umpires or their decision making abilities.