ICC rule in favour of Harper

The third umpire has been cleared of any blame for the failings in the use of the umpire decision review system in the stump sound controversy in January.

Daryl Harper, the third umpire during England's Test against South Africa in Johannesburg in January, has been cleared of any blame for the failings in the use of the umpire decision review system (DRS). The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Lockie-Lloyd enquiry, convened in response to an official complaint from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over Harper's decision-making during the match, found in favour of Harper on all three incidents under investigation.

The most contentious issue came when Graeme Smith, the Proteas captain, swung cross-batted away from his body and edged Ryan Sidebottom to Matt Prior, the wicketkeeper, and television replays clearly indicated the noise of a nick. Smith, on 15 at the time, was reprieved after Harper was unable to detect the noise and went on to make 105. Andy Flower, the England coach, and Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, later accused the Australian official of failing to turn up the volume on his video feed - a suggestion dismissed by the enquiry as "both manifestly wrong and entirely unfair".

The verdict of the enquiry - conducted by Clive Lloyd, the ICC cricket committee chairman, and Brent Lockie, an ICC code of conduct commissioner - continued: "The volume control had been set by technicians, and they did not operate or adjust the volume control during the entire series. "However, differing sounds were heard on the footage of the various broadcasters, namely SABC, Supersport and Sky. The enquiry concluded that it was most likely that the actual sound feed coming through to the third umpire's room was lost at the crucial time."

It was also adjudged that Harper had reached the correct decisions in giving England's Alastair Cook out in their first innings and in giving South Africa's AB de Villiers not out in South Africa's first innings. * PA