London: Marais Erasmus and Ruchira Palliyaguruge will join Kumar Dharmasena as the officiating umpires for the fourth and fifth Tests of the ongoing Ashes series.
Dharmasena was originally appointed as the TV umpire for the fourth Test match, but will now stand on-field with Erasmus in both the remaining matches, with Ruchira Palliyaguruge officiating as the TV umpire in both matches.
The fourth Test will begin from Wednesday at Old Trafford, Manchester, while the fifth and final Test will commence on September 12 at The Oval.
Some of the decisions in the first three games of the series came under the scanner with former players also calling for quality umpires over neutral ones.
The series is currently tied at 1-1. Australia won the first Ashes Test by 251 runs at Edgbaston in which Aleem Dar and Joel Wilson officiated as the on-field umpires, while the second match, which ended in a draw at Lord’s, had Chris Gaffaney and Dar as on-field umpires. England squared up the rubber by winning the third Test by one wicket at Headingley and had Gaffaney and Wilson as on-field umpires.
Meanwhile, Steve Smith continued his build-up for the fourth Ashes Test by heading straight to the practice nets after being dismissed in Australia’s tour match against Derbyshire on Thursday.
Smith missed Australia’s one-wicket loss to England in the third Test at Leeds after he was felled by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the second Test at Lord’s and suffered a delayed concussion.
He returned in the three-day match at the County Ground and scored 23 off 38 balls against an attack featuring mostly medium-pacers and appeared to throw his wicket away when slower bowlers were introduced. He left his pads on and headed to the nets with fellow batsman David Warner, who used a ‘dog thrower’ device to simulate the kind of pace Smith might expect to face from Archer and Stuart Broad in the fourth Test in Manchester.
“I think if Smudger (Smith) got 20 or 220 he’d still want to go to the nets and have a hit,” said Mitchell Marsh, who batted with Smith during a 58-run stand in the match against Derbyshire. “That’s just him, that’s what he does, and that’s why he’s the best in the world,” Marsh added.
Smith’s return to the crease coincided with news that England lost opening bowler James Anderson for the rest of the series.