Prior takes referrals in his stride
England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior believes the ups and downs of increased technology will smooth out over time.
England gained their only breakthrough on the second day of the first Test against West Indies at Sabina Park after challenging a leg before decision against opening batsman Devon Smith off Andrew Flintoff's bowling.
But they were denied doubling their wicket tally when Tony Hill, the umpire involved in the first incident, chose to overturn his initial inkling to give Ramnaresh Sarwan, on five, out lbw to Steve Harmison after receiving advice from television official Daryl Harper.
Sarwan and Chris Gayle had seen West Indies to 160 for one by the close, a deficit of just 158.
“It’s brilliant when it goes your way - you’re punching the air - but when it goes against you, it’s not so great,” reflected Prior, referring to the Sarwan incident. Had the referral gone in England’s favour, it would have left the hosts 24 for two.
“But that’s cricket. It didn’t feel any different to when you appeal - you think it’s really close, and it’s given not out.
Watch ECBtv's close of day report from Sabina Park - including Matt Prior's press conference
“If you play for long enough you know the ones you get away with and the ones you don’t even themselves out in the end. It is always strange when something is used for the first time.
“A lot of the players have sympathy for the umpires because they’re making tricky decisions.
“We have just had an afternoon of trying to make decisions in a split second and it’s not easy. Everyone makes mistakes and players make more than umpires in a day.”
England lost one of their two challenges afforded by the umpire review system when Flintoff, the best of the tourists’ attack, contested another Hill decision, whose judgement that the ball pitched outside leg stump to Sarwan was shown to be correct.
“Fred felt pretty strong about it, so he made the call,” said Prior. “I wasn’t sure about it but he felt pretty confident and guys have been given responsibility to make the calls.”
In all, there were five stoppages for TV referrals in a one-hour spell in the afternoon session, which interrupted the flow of the contest somewhat.
However, Prior, who hit 64 - his seventh score above 50 in 13 Tests - added: “It takes a while but then do you sacrifice that to make sure you get the right decision?
“There is a balancing act there. American sports do make quite a big effort to ensure the right decision is made every time.”
West Indies appear on course for a lead, despite having lost the toss on a slow surface.
Sarwan will resume on 74, following his slice of fortune, with captain Gayle 71 not out.
“To be honest, I’m not a big fan of it but I will take it today,” Sarwan said of the technology trial.
“I was nervous and things kept going through my head as to whether I was out or not. There was a little bit of luck on my side.
“Now it’s important to get some partnerships going so that we can strengthen our position.”