One of the most pivotal moments of last year's historic Ashes cricket series came in the second innings of the third test match, when England was fighting for survival against a fired-up Australian side.

Already 2-0 down in the five match series, England needed to salvage at least a draw to have any chance of retaining the Ashes and leaving Australia with their heads held high.

Having bowled out Australia for 385 in the first innings, England made a relatively steady start in their first attempt with the bat. They were 190/4 with Ian Bell and Ben Stokes at the crease, needing a solid partnership to really take the game by the scruff of the neck. 

Enter Ryan Harris. 

'Rhyno', as his teammates call him, took the ball and fired down an inswinger that wrapped Bell on the pads and sent the Australian side up in appeal. Umpire Marais Erasmus took a long, hard look, but eventually shook his head. 

After some deliberation, Captain Michael Clarke chose to send the decision upstairs for a review. Using high-tech simulation technology, the third umpire was then able to track the path of the ball and predict its future trajectory. 

The simulation showed the ball careening into the top of middle stump. A few moments later, Ian Bell had been given the crooked finger and sent on his way. 

The simulation technology behind Hawk-Eye

LBW simulations such as these are all made possible thanks to a high-tech solution known as 'Hawk-Eye' – a complex computer system that projects a computer-generated simulation of a ball's most likely path of movement. 

Hawk-Eye is used in a number of sports around the world, most notably in tennis, where it is used to make precision line-calls and judge whether a ball landed in or outside the field of play. 

Research on Hawk-Eye first began in 1999. It took two years for the technology to be deployed on the world stage, where it premiered as part of the UK's Channel 4 coverage of the 2001 Ashes.

Since then it has become significantly more sophisticated and accurate, winning a number of awards and recognition, including two BAFTAS and one Emmy! 

The use of Hawk-Eye in sports is a great example of how simulation technology is playing a critical role in our everyday lives, providing us with more information than would be otherwise possible, and helping Australia win important tournaments as a result! 

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