Never have I seen a series more heavily affected by poor umpiring than this one.
A significant reason England are being seen to have outplayed the Aussies is because they have saved by the umpires to a huge degree.
I've always maintained Bucknor is about the most overrrated official in sport and that's only been proven in this series.
If ever an umpire was one to be swayed by home town crowds this guy takes the cake. Big appeal, get the crowd behind you and Bucknor will buckle every time. Half the time I reckon he doesn't even know why the players are appealing (look at that decision he made in the last test when he looked to the square leg umpire before firing the bloke). I'm not saying Bucknor is biased....just incompetent.
Look at not only how many POOR LBW decisions have been given against the Aussies in this series as well as how many GOOD ones England have received. Warne has fair dinkum missed out on half a dozen plumb decisions that would have been game-turning
These decisions have had an ENORMOUS influence on this tight contest despite what anyone thinks.
I'm not saying Australia deserve to be up in the series (despite what I've sarcastically said in other posts) or that England have played badly......and I also know that you will always get home town decisions against you wherever you play (even in Australia). But what I AM saying is that the amount of poor decisions in favour of England in this series is absolutely absurd.
Add to the fact that in many cases the England batsmen helped by these decisions have gone on and made big scores you just can't help but wonder what might have happened with a level playing field.
Having said all that please don't follow this up with all those 'sour grapes' type of accusations. I've played enough cricket around the world to know what to expect. I still think this is the greatest series I've ever seen and actually couldn't give a stuff if Australia lose the ashes after all these years.
Good luck to England and bring on the Oval.
Get well McGrath......and Jones.