Pietersen, Boycott, McGrath admit Broad was within rights not to 'walk'

A controversial incident involving England's Stuart Broad was played down by players from both sides after a gripping third day of the first Ashes test at Trent Bridge on Friday.

The blond all-rounder edged spinner Ashton Agar on to the gloves of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and through to Michael Clarke at slip but, with the Australian players celebrating, umpire Aleem Dar did not raise his finger.

Broad refused to "walk", leaving the Australian players shaking their heads in disbelief and sparking a huge debate on Twitter about the spirit of cricket.

England batsman Kevin Pietersen said his team mate was within his rights not to "walk".

Getty Images

Broad refused to "walk", leaving the Australian players shaking their heads in disbelief and sparking a huge debate on Twitter about the spirit of cricket. Getty Images

"Each and every player at every level of the game has the opportunity to wait for the umpire's decision," Pietersen told a news conference after England ended the day on 326 for six in their second innings, an overall lead of 261 runs.

"Aleem Dar is a fantastic umpire. We play our cricket hard and fair."

Australia were unable to send the decision to the third umpire because they had used up their two referrals but fast bowler Peter Siddle said they were not feeling frustrated.

"You have to use referrals when you think you have a chance of taking wickets," he said. "You can't just keep them in your pocket in case you get one later in the game."

Siddle, who has taken six wickets in the match, was philosophical about the incident.

NO BIG DEAL

"At the end of the day it's the umpire's decision," he said. "It's hard out there for players and umpires.

"It is just part of the game and you can't be blaming anyone. There wasn't a big deal made of it by us."

Pietersen said it had not even been discussed in the England dressing room.

"We are only worried about the lead we have and are fully focused on winning this test match," said Pietersen who hit 64 before Broad (47) and Ian Bell (95) shared an unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 108.

The Broad incident raised concerns about relations between the teams for the remainder of the five-match series.

"I do hope this doesn't set the tone for the rest of the series," said BBC radio commentator Jonathan Agnew. "Looking at the replays Broad doesn't look comfortable to me.

"He looks like a boy who has been sent into the corner in disgrace. There will be questions about how England play the game."

Most commentators blamed Dar's poor decision, rather than levelling criticism at the England player.

"There is no debate, it's quite simple," former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott told the BBC.

"The Australians I have played with and have watched, with the exception of Adam Gilchrist, believe in staying (at the crease) and it's up to the umpire to give you out - there shouldn't be a moral argument.

"They should be upset, disappointed and angered by the umpires," Boycott added. "If they keep making poor decisions it's up to the ICC (International Cricket Council) to do something about it."

Former Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath agreed.

"To me it has to be the umpire," he said. "A player is allowed to stand his ground.

"If Australia had one appeal left Broad would have walked. The fact there was no referral left, he left it up to the umpire."

Reuters