England in SA

Big Vern weighs in on Archer no-ball confusion

2019-12-27 20:03
Jofra Archer is warned by umpire Chris Gaffaney (G
Jofra Archer is warned by umpire Chris Gaffaney (Gallo)

Centurion - A total of 15 wickets fell on day two of the first Test between the Proteas and England at SuperSport Park on Friday, indicative of the fact that there was drama throughout. 

A superb spell of bowling from Vernon Philander (4/16 in 14.2 overs) was the undeniable highlight as the Proteas took a 103-run lead into their second innings, but a top order collapse from the hosts in their second innings has made things interesting and England now feel like they are right back in the contest. 

South Africa will go into day three at 72/4, 175 runs ahead off their visitors. 

While the constant fall of wickets was action enough for the near-6000 spectators in attendance, there was another dramatic moment towards the end of the day in the form of England quick Jofra Archer. 

Archer, who claimed two of England's four wickets, was clearly fired up and delivered some brutal bouncers to Proteas debutant Rassie van der Dussen, following them up with a few choice words. 

When Van der Dussen eventually got off strike, it meant Archer could have a crack at South African nightwatchman and first-innings No 11 Anrich Nortje. 

Nortje never looked comfortable against Archer's raw pace, but the drama started when the Englishman attempted a slower 'knuckle' ball with the final delivery of his sixth over. 

The ball came out horribly and flew over Nortje's head, with square leg umpire Paul Reiffel calling the obligatory 'no-ball' for the beamer. 

When Archer bowled his extra ball, though, things went awry again as he attempted another 'knuckle' ball with a similar result. 

Nortje again hit the turf as the ball sailed through over the stumps on the full, and Reiffel again stuck out his right arm from square leg to call for a 'no-ball'. 

That, of course, should have been enough to see Archer removed from the attack for the rest of the innings as a result of bowling two no-ball full-tosses. 

Instead, in bizarre fashion, Reiffel was consulted by New Zealand umpire Chris Gaffaney and together they then decided to rescind the decision. 

As a result, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis was left infuriated and he immediately approached the umpires and match referee Andy Pycroft at stumps an over later. 

"It's an interesting one. The umpires have to deal with it and hopefully make the right call," Philander said in the day's post-match press conference. 

"If you're at square leg and you call a no ball, you've got to stand your ground. At no time did they actually cancel it, so I think that's probably what irked him (Du Plessis).

"For me, it's plain and simple. We're playing a game and we set an example for the rest of the people looking at this game.

"You've got to make the right call. Are we going to tolerate it another game or are we going to put a stop to it right here?

"I'm just saying the umpires must make the right call ... it's out of my hands."

England batsman Joe Denly, who was fielding at leg slip at the time, said he was surprised that Archer had attempted two successive slower balls but said he felt the second one had "just missed the stumps".


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