Where a batsman hits the ball in the air to a fielder near the boundary and the on-field umpires are uncertain whether a catch has been completed or a boundary scored, the on-field umpires are entitled to refer the boundary decision to the TV umpire in accordance with Clause 3.2.4 of the ICC Playing Conditions.Effectively this means the on-field umpires ask the third umpire if the fielder was touching the rope while having the ball on his person. If the answer to that is yes, then the batsman gets runs (four or six). If the answer to that is no, then the batsman is ruled out (caught or run out). If the TV umpire cannot decide, then the status quo prevails, i.e. no boundary. Ergo, the dismissal stands.
Once the boundary decision request has been referred to him, the TV umpire has the responsibility to make a decision solely on whether a boundary has been scored.
If the TV replay evidence is inconclusive, the TV umpire must still make a boundary decision. His decision must be made using the existing convention in cricket which dictates that the status quo prevails - i.e. because no evidence exists of a boundary being scored, no boundary is awarded.
This decision is conveyed back to the on-field umpires. In these circumstances, as no boundary has been scored, the only decision left is for the on-field umpire at the bowler's end to give the batsman out - caught.
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