26/07/2013 13:15 | By Stephen Jones, MSN Sport

Could batsmen use science to cheat Hot Spot?



Umpire Kumar Dharmasena and Umpire Aleem Dar walk form the ground at stumps during day three of the 1st Investec Ashes Test (© Getty Images)

Could batsmen cheat their way past Hot Spot using science?

Warning: contains mild satire and premature mockery of Australian cricket

Let's face it, after the second Test thrashing of the Aussies, this series is all feeling a little too... comfortable. That’s why, after we had a rare brainwave during an even rarer lull in last week's play, we decided to go to a serious scientist and find out if there could be anything done to help our beleaguered opponents out.

The theory was this: a myth exists that certain chemicals can be coated on car number plates to hide them from speed cameras – could this practice be applied to a cricket bat, so that any rogue nicks would go undetected by Hot Spot? 

(Let’s face it, given their DRS woes so far this tour, Michael Clarke’s side could use all the help they can get.)

When we put the question to the chief scentist at chemicals producer Akzo Nobel, he let us down gently, giving a quick explainer of how the system works:

“Hot Spot uses two infra-red cameras positioned at either end of the ground. These cameras sense and measure heat from friction generated by a collision, such as ball on pad, ball on bat, ball on ground or ball on glove.

“Using a subtraction technique, a series of black-and-white negative frames is generated into a computer, precisely localising the ball's point of contact.

“As the IR detected is not a reflection, but arises from a friction-generated heat source on the bat itself, low IR reflectance coatings wouldn’t work.”

Strewth - bad luck then, cobber.

There was a tiny glimmer of hope for prospective cheaters, though. Our man added:

“Theoretically, perhaps a highly thermally conductive coating that dissipates the heat generated almost immediately might ‘blur’ the hot spot, but it would have to be pretty outstanding – maybe something like graphene could do the trick.

“However, such a coating would also get quickly worn off by the ball, so it wouldn’t last long. I wouldn’t be betting my life’s savings on this idea.”

Perhaps best to stick to losing with honesty, boys*. Sorry we couldn’t help you out.

*This article will be deleted if Australia win the next three Tests

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