Not again! Finch baffled as ‘strange’ rule hurts Aussies
AUSTRALIA have been left frustrated in the UAE by a "strange" and little-known rule which has twice cost them crucial wickets in the Test series against Pakistan.
The tourists looked to have made a sorely-needed breakthrough on day two of the second Test when Jon Holland trapped Azhar Ali in front in the penultimate over.
Azhar, who was on 53, was given not out but Australian skipper Tim Paine called for a review.
Replays showed the ball could not have been much better placed - pitching on middle and leg, turning away from the right-hander and hitting off stump. But the DRS technology determined that the point of impact was more than three metres from the stumps, meaning the umpire's call could not be overturned.
Azhar survived and Pakistan reached stumps at 2-144, leading Australia by 281 runs as the 'three-metre rule' again cost the tourists at a critical moment.
Nathan Lyon was also thwarted by the rule which gifted Haris Sohail - who went on to score 110 - a lifeline on 51 during the drawn first Test in Dubai.
"We didn't really know about it until last Test, about the three metres," Australian opener Aaron Finch said.
"Pitching in line, hitting in line, hitting the stumps, to me, that's strange. Obviously I understand the element of predicting the path of the ball.
"That's something that's gone against us a couple of times, but that's the game, that's the rule, and we've just got to deal with it."
Left-arm spinner Holland could hardly believe his misfortune after the Azhar decision and Finch said Paine had addressed the rule with the umpires.
"It was just a bit of confusion ... where three metres is down the wicket and if it's still hitting the stumps and hitting in line, can we tinker the rule?," Finch said.
"I know it's sounding sour at the moment because we've been on the receiving end, but it's certainly not.
"We understand where the rule's at now but maybe if it's hitting in line and if all three are still red, maybe there's a chance to overturn it."
Holland, who was 0-17 at stumps, also went wicketless during the first innings and struggled for the majority of the first Test.
"I think a little bit frustrated would be fair," Finch said of his Victorian teammate.
"I think he's bowled really well, just missing those couple of rewards that would propel him to a bag in a session or something like that.
"Things haven't gone his way this Test or series but tomorrow might be a great day for him."