Llong review a sucker-punch for rattled New Zealand
ADELAIDE: The third umpire's controversial reprieval of Australia's Nathan Lyon was a sucker-punch for frustrated New Zealand which left the hosts in a strong position on day two of the third test on Saturday.
New Zealand were convinced Lyon was out when his sweep-shot sent the ball looping into the slips and the spinner himself started walking back to the Adelaide Oval dressing room when the 'Hot Spot' technology revealed the mark on his bat.
Nigel Llong saw it differently and analysed angle after angle and replay after replay for five minutes as a bumper crowd jeered.
While the 'Snicko' technology gave no hint of a nick, Llong dismissed the other evidence out of hand, remarking in his exchanges with the umpires on the field that the mark on Lyon's bat "could have come from anywhere."
At the time, Australia were on the ropes at 118-8, but the match turned on its head after Llong's contentious call, with Lyon and his batting partner Peter Nevill plundering the bowlers.
Pundits' condemnations were amplified on social media, with former Australia bowler Shane Warne remarking it was wrong and a "ridiculous waste of time".
New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor, mindful of risking his match fee by being too forthright, was nonetheless clear his team felt there was a miscarriage of justice.
"That was one of the discussions that the boys did talk about in the changing room," he told reporters.
"We can understand when the umpires make the wrong decision on the field but once you've got so many different angles and what-not, you think that more often than not, 99 to 100 percent of the time you're going to get the right answer.
"I guess we didn't today."
Having spent far more time in the field than they might have banked on, New Zealand were condemned to batting in the evening session, facing a pink ball which hooped around with venom.
They staggered to stumps at 116-5, with their hopes of a series-levelling victory fading.
"The new ball does a lot under lights," Taylor said.
"If we were able to bat a bit more in that middle session it might have made things a little bit easier but it wasn't to be."