Sydney: Television's 'spidercam' found itself at the centre of controversy over a dropped Australian catch on the third day of the final Test against India on Thursday.
Australia skipper Steve Smith put down a skied chance off Lokesh Rahul on 46 before lunch, and then appeared to blame spidercam for missing the catch. Smith was seen mouthing "fucking wire" to team-mates after his line of sight was affected by the cables connecting the aerial TV camera.
Steve Smith (L) and Lokesh Rahul. Pic/ AFP
Cricket Australia and the Nine Network later confirmed that Smith had been "distracted by one of the wires in his eyeline".
"We (CA and Nine) have spoken about the matter involving spidercam and the dropped catch before lunch and it's clear the ball did not hit the camera or its supporting wires," the joint statement read. "Captain Steve Smith was distracted by one of the wires in his eyeline. Both CA and Nine will continue to work together on the use of spidercam in the broadcast coverage and will take on board any player feedback as necessary.
"As it stands, if any player has a concern about the placement of spidercam they can ask the umpires for it to be moved." Spidercam is a camera system which gives viewers a bird's eye view of the action and uses cables to carry a camera-platform along a track between two mounting-points. It is also able to change its altitude at any given moment.
The dropped chance was one of several chances Rahul gave on the way to his first century in what is only his second Test match. He was nearly run out on 42 when he charged down the pitch for a run, only to be sent back by batting partner Virat Kohli. In his mad scramble to regain his ground Rahul fell over and lost his bat, yet still managed to beat Brad Haddin's delayed throw to the non-striker's end.
Smith then put him down with the "spidercam" dropped catch on 46. He appeared to have another chance earlier in the session when the Australians appealed for a catch by Joe Burns at bat-pad off spinner Nathan Lyon, but umpire Richard Kettleborough was unmoved.