Mickey Arthur, the coach of the Pakistan cricket team, has been handed one demerit point and an official warning from the International Cricket Council (ICC) following his team’s defeat to South Africa in the opening Test of the three-match series in Centurion. Pakistan lost the match which lasted just three days by six wickets to trail 0-1 in the series in what was a closely fought match on a difficult wicket in Centurion. According to a statement from the ICC, Arthur accepted his sanction and thus no formal hearing was required. “After the match, the Pakistan coach admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee David Boon.
The incident took place during the fourth innings of the match. Chasing 149, South Africa had suffered an early jolt and the match was evenly poised. At 16/1, Dean Elgar edged left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi to slip where Azhar Ali claimed the catch. The soft signal was out and it needed conclusive evidence to overturn the decision from the third umpire. Replays increased the doubts whether the catch was clean but third umpire Joel Wilson ruled it not out. Elgar went on to make 50 and his partnership with Hashim Amla (63) gave South Africa victory. However, following the decision, Arthur, seething with rage over the decision, stormed into the third umpire’s room and questioned a decision to deny Azhar the catch at first slip.
Arthur was officially charged by Wilson for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match” after questioning the decision and left the room immediately afterwards. The decision might have played a small part in Pakistan continuing their poor run in Tests in the last couple of months, heading into the series after losing a series against New Zealand at home for the first time in 49 years.
Pakistan batted first and it needed an aggressive 71 from Babar Azam to help Pakistan reach 181. Duanne Olivier took 6/37 while Dale Steyn broke Shaun Pollock’s record of 421 Test wickets. South Africa managed to take a 42-run lead with Temba Bavuma hitting 53 and an aggressive 45 from Quinton de Kock. Imam ul Haq and Shan Masood slammed fifties but another collapse, with Olivier taking five wickets and ending with 11/96 in the match helped South Africa bowl Pakistan out for 190.
The second match of the series is in Cape Town in January 03 and Pakistan will be aiming to stay alive in the series.