Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena has been in the news lately for his bizarre decisions in the last 3 Test matches that he has officiated. The second day's play of the second Test between India and England witnessed the umpire come under the scanner again following the unusual way in which the umpire went about his decisions.
It was the 105th over of the Indian innings when Moeen Ali came on to bowl to Wriddhiman Saha. Moeen let one through slow in the air as the ball pitched a long way outside the off-stump and turned sharply to hit Saha right in front and on the back foot as the batsman was deep inside the crease. The bowler appealed immediately as the batsmen were looking to sneak a run. Dharmasena made a disapproving face at the first instance and one got the feeling that it was rightly so for the ball hit high on Saha's front leg.
However, the umpire raised his finger all of a sudden to everyone's surprise. That was when Saha was almost near him and the ball had passed the first slip. Saha was quick to review for he couldn't believe what had happened. Replays showed the ball pitching well outside off, hitting him in front of middle and hitting the leg stump. "Great decision mate, well done," was the call from the third umpire.
Though the decision turned out to be a brilliant one, Dharmasena’s late decision proved to be a controversial one as the decision was made when the bowler’s appeal was fading and the batsmen almost completed a run.
While the Indian team was yet to recover from what had happened, Moeen Ali struck again. This time it was Ravindra Jadeja who was the victim. This time Moeen decided to skid the ball to the left-hander and bowled with the seam pointing towards gully. The ball pitched on off and just went on with the angle. It hit the batsman in front, and Dharmasena took much less time than he did with the earlier call.
Jadeja, who initially seemed unconvinced with the decision, decided not to opt for the review and walked away. However, the replays showed the ball clearly missing the leg-stump.
The two controversial decisions meant that it wasn't to be a great play for India as they went from being 363/5 to 367/7 in just one over. Dharmasena showed the signs of the not-so-confident umpire, who was at the receiving end during the England-Bangladesh series last month.