Debate continues on Steve Smith run-out as MCC issues clarification; SKY disagrees

The run-out appeal from England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow on Day 2 of The Oval Ashes 2023 Test sparked debates all over before MCC clarified why Smith was given not out. 
Smith run out

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Friday (July 28) issued clarification why Steve Smith was indeed 'not out' after a debatable run-out appeal from England on Day 2 of the Ashes 2023 finale Test at The Oval. 

The Australian modern-day legend earned a reprieve just when he thought he is gone for all money after TV umpire Nitin Menon deemed the bails to be intact at the point wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow collected the throw from the deep while Smith crossed over the white line. 

Giving a detailed narration of the 'run-out' appeal to the Decision Review System (DRS) team operating for the Ashes encounter, Menon asserted that the bails were still intact at the point Bairstow held the ball in his hand and that by the time the English keeper dislodged them completely, Smith had fulfilled his dive by reaching the mark. 

But also part of the inspection was an initial deflection on the right bail, which Bairstow caused unintentionally with his gloves before picking up the ball. However, the right-most point of the bail stayed intact and eventually both bails were still in place when the ball reached the keeper's hands. 

There were three basic points of contention: (a) - whether Bairstow had broken the wicket before he picked up the ball; (b) - with the first in mind, whether the wicketkeeper again dislodged the stumps; (c) - and if so, did he do so before Smith reached home? 

The first part being key would've altered the mould of the run-out possibility. If the match officials deemed that Bairstow had deflected and removed the bail before collecting the bail, he would've been required to completely uproot the stumps and touch it with the ball before Smith reached his mark to execute the dismissal. 

However, Menon didn't rightfully think the bails or the bail had been removed entirely from its position on the stumps and hence the wicket wasn't broken. The experienced Indian umpire went by the MCC laws, with the law-making body confirming as per its Law 29.1: "The wicket is broken when at least one bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or one or more stumps is removed from the ground."

SKY analysis sheds doubt on MCC's Smith 'not out' judgement 

Menon then based his final decision on the fact that at the point when Bairstow held the ball in his hands, the bails were still intact on top of the stumps. With a two-angle closer inspection of the Smith dive, the umpire deemed that the right-hander had crossed the popping crease before Bairstow went ahead and dislodged the three sticks after a throw from sub-fielder George Ealham and gave him 'not out', much to England's dismay. 

Sky Sports commentary team, however, did an extensive analysis with more angles in play to determine Menon had erred in his judgement and that Smith should've been given out. They focused on three angles and demonstrated that the middle stump was pushed further back during the Bairstow attempt via a screenshot. 

It still didn't reprieve Bairstow from the contention that he had seemingly deflected the bail before collecting the ball. There was a partial but definite deflection; however, the fact that the bails still stayed in their position in the final frame only vindicated the decision ultimately made by Menon on MCC laws. 

Those in favour of the 'not-out' call insist there is an ambiguity in the laws:  while the law states that a wicket is broken fairly if the bail is removed entirely by the hand or the arm holding the ball, doubt persists if the entire removal needs to take place while holding the ball or if only the last frame before and after the removal is key.