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The Ashes: Umpiring howlers put DRS in line of fire again

Cricketing actions on the pitch have taken a backseat during the current Ashes series due to the controversial Decision Review System (DRS) and ‘poor’ umpiring decisions. And DRS was once again in the spotlight on the opening morning of the third Investec Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

Australia had reason to fume after Khawaja was given out by third umpire Kumar Dharmasena caught behind off Graeme Swann.

DRS dominates opening Ashes Test

The human element was at fault on Thursday with Dharamsena giving Khawaja out despite evidence to the contrary.

Khawaja was given out by on-field umpire Tony Hill for just a single. He almost immediately reviewed on-field umpire Tony Hill's decision, but he saw the decision endorsed by Dharmasena despite the snickometer and HotSpot technology suggesting that he was no where near the ball.

Dharmasena saw things differently, though, upholding the on-field call after a lengthy delay, in a decision branded "shocking and ridiculous" by former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne in commentary.

Usman Khawaja
Australia's Usman Khawaja (R) leaves the field after being given out in controversial circumstances during play on the first day of the third Ashes cricket test at Old Trafford in Manchester on Thursday. Pic/AFP

Khawaja played his part in his downfall, thrashing needlessly at a wide ball that turned further from Swann, but he appeared to have reason to feel aggrieved.

Dharmasena watched over the visual images before sending the batsmen on his way to prompt condemnation from even former England skipper Michael Vaughan, who tweeted: "And people say you should Walk....No chance when you get decisions like that.... #Ashes".

Usman Khwaja's controversial dismissal heavily criticised on Twitter

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also went into bat for his country against the vexed DRS process after Khawaja’s controversial dismissal.

Rudd tweeted: “I’ve just sat down to watch the Test. That was one of the worst cricket umpiring decisions I have ever seen.”

It was then the turn of Australia to receive Dharmasena’s benevolence as the third official gave a reprieve to Steve Smith despite DRS indicating the ball was clipping leg stump.

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Smith, who was on nouControversy at Trent Bridge: Australia fume as Stuart Broad refuses to walkght at the time when Swann had an lbw appeal rejected by New Zealand official Hill. England had reason to feel aggrieved with Sri Lanka's Dharmasena’s decision to uphold Hill’s verdict.

Despite Khawaja’s dismissal, Australia had fought back strongly to be 3-180 at tea. Captain Michael Clarke going strong on 55, with Smith on 20.

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