The version of the DRS used in the series will be the same as the one used in Sri Lanka’s previous home series, against Australia in August-September last year. There had been doubts before that series over whether SLC would be able to afford the technology required for the system, given their financial crunch, but the DRS was used then, though without the expensive Hot Spot, and will be used again for the series against England. The ICC, in October last year, removed the mandatory requirements for the DRS, leaving the decision of what technology to use to the participating boards in a series.
The last time the DRS was used in Sri Lanka, Hawk-Eye admitted there had been a tracking mistake that led to Phil Hughes being adjudged lbw during the first Test, in Galle. There was a visible discrepancy between Hawk-Eye’s graphic and television replays for Hughes’ dismissal, the umpires referred the incident to the ICC, and Hawk-Eye admitted there had been a mistake, mainly due to the small distance between where the ball pitched and the point of contact with the pad.
The absence of Hot Spot also became an issue during that series when, in the second Test, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was convinced Tharanaga Paranavitana had gloved a ball down the leg side to him, but was denied due to a lack of evidence. “”It’s pretty hard with those ones in general for umpires where it comes off the glove or the hip or the bat. It’s pretty hard with no Hot Spot as well; it’s hard to make a decision. I was pretty confident then that we got some glove,” Haddin had said of the incident.
England, though, have had issues with the Hot Spot technology. During their home series against India last summer, Stuart Broad suggested Hot Spot does not show faint edges, after England were convinced VVS Laxman had edged a ball but survived a referral, at Trent Bridge.
There were also a couple of flashpoints surrounding the DRS during England’s recent Test series in Pakistan in the UAE. In the second Test, a not-out lbw decision against Mohammad Hafeez was overturned despite the fact that Hot Spot appeared to show a faint inside edge, and an lbw against Stuart Broad in the third Test, when he had got his front foot well down the pitch, raised the question of whether the DRS had swung things too much in favour of the bowlers.
While Hawk-Eye will be used in Sri Lanka, its rival ball-tracking provider Virtual Eye was called into questionby South Africa’s Jacques Kallis and New Zealand’s Doug Bracewell after the Dunedin Test. Virtual Eye threatened to pull out of the series due to the criticism but were persuaded to stay on by the ICC.