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Australian PM Rudd lambasts umpiring decision during Ashes Test

updated 1:54 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (R) and Shane Warne were united in their criticism of the umpires
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (R) and Shane Warne were united in their criticism of the umpires
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tweets criticism of umpiring decision in Ashes Test
  • Rudd dismayed after batsman Usman Khawaja given out by third umpire despite review
  • Khawaja given out caught even though replays seemed to show he hadn't hit the ball
  • Rudd calls it "one of the worst umpiring decisions I've seen" and is backed by Shane Warne

(CNN) -- Passions run high at the coalface of an Ashes series and the heat clearly affects those at the pinnacle of Australian politics too.

As his nation battles to win the third Test against England, and keep the five-match series alive, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has left the game's officials in no doubt as to his disgust.

With the match only a few hours old, Aussie batsman Usman Khawaja was given out caught behind by umpire Tony Hill, a call he instantly reviewed.

And though countless replays offered no evidence Khawaja had hit the ball, the video umpire upheld the on-field decision, condemning the 26-year-old to a long trudge back to the pavilion.

Read: The Ashes: Sport or an obsession?

Rudd, who ousted Julia Gillard in a leadership election to become Prime Minister for a second time in June, was so incensed he took to Twitter to voice his displeasure to over 1.3 million followers.

Using modern technology to bemoan cricket's new-age technology he wrote: "I've just sat down to watch the test. That was one of the worst cricket umpiring decisions I have ever seen."

At the close of play on the first day, captain Michael Clarke's unbeaten century leading his side to a commanding position at 303-3, Rudd's message had been retweeted 2,759 times.

His viewpoint was supported by one of Australia's greatest ever cricketers, Shane Warne, who took 708 Test wickets with his leg spin bowling during a glittering career.

In his role as a television commentator he labeled the decision "ridiculous" and was one of the thousands that retweeted Rudd's remarks.

"There was daylight between bat and ball, there was no hot spot and no noise," Warne said. "The only noise was when the bat hit his pad.

"You can see the bat hitting the pad, the ball goes past, no noise. There was clear evidence there as well. That is a ridiculous decision."

Umpiring decisions have caused much controversy in the previous two Tests matches, both won by England, who is looking to retain the Ashes for the third straight series.

Graham Swann: Ashes mean everything
Ashes cricket: Australia vs. England

Under the Decision Review System (DRS) both sides get two reviews per innings, meaning they can refer a decision to a video umpire if they think it is wrong.

The numerous camera angles available, as well as sound and hotspot technology -- which can detect even the faintest touch of ball on bat -- are designed to eliminate bad calls.

The game's governing body -- the International Cricket Council (ICC) -- was forced to defend the umpiring during the first Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham after a clutch of poor decisions, from the on-field umpires and their video counterpart.

Rudd is the latest in a long line of Aussie Prime Ministers who have indulged their love of cricket.

John Howard, who served between 1996 and 2007, was a regular visitor to Test matches involving his country at home and abroad. He also launched a bid to become a vice-president of the ICC but was blocked by the organization's board.

Gillard was pictured at various cricketing events, while former premiers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating also tried to tap into their country's love of the game.

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