Trial or not, Team India’s troubles with the Decision Review System don’t seem to end. On day 3 of the Mohali Test, the hosts were undone, yet again, by the DRS that gunned down two decisions that looked well in India’s favour, when viewed in real-time.
In the ninth over of England’s innings, Alastair Cook was unable to read a Ravindra Jadeja delivery that turned inwards and hit him right on his front pad, in line of the stumps. While the fielders seemed absolutely confident, umpire Marias Erasmus held his unflinching stand, unmoved by the raucous appeal from the Indians, who seemed dead sure that Cook was out. With no response from Erasmus, Virat Kohli went for a referral right away.
While the first two replays: the side-on delivery stride and the front facing standard broadcast angle showed up on the screen for the third umpire’s perusal, for some reason, the ball-tracking mechanism failed to generate any animation on the screen. For what seemed an eternity, the players and officials stood, baffled by the absence of the HawkEye, even as the third umpire Kumar Dharamsena kept pleading for a replay on air.
Five excruciating minutes apart, thirteen players and two on-field umpires stood clueless on the field, staring at an empty screen.
When the replays were finally generated, the ball-tracking showed that the delivery’s angle would have missed the leg stump. Cook heaved a sigh of relief and Kohli was left rubbing his eyes. He stood there, staring at the big screen for a moment, before heading back to his fielding position. Jadeja had dismissed Cook twice in the same fashion in this series, but this time, luck (DRS) was not on his side.
The very next over, Ashwin caught Cook napping right in front of the stumps (what looked like) . As the fielders appealed just as confidently as last time, the other umpire, Chris Gaffaney, obliged, raising his finger without much ado. The England captain, however, wasn’t impressed, asking for a referral instantly. “Surely, this one is out”, the Indian fielders must have thought. How wrong they were!
Replays showed that this time, the ball had pitched outside the leg stump, deeming Cook safe twice in consecutive overs. There was no edge, so the question remained where the ball had pitched. Fortunately for Cook, who surpassed Steve Waugh to enter the list of top ten run-getters in Tests, the ball had pitched outside the line of the stumps.
In a brilliant anticlimax, however, Ashwin accounted for Cook in his very next over, slipping a delivery past the gap between his bat and front pad to effect a classic offspinner's dismissal. Virat Kohli was ecstatic, jumping up and down. No need for a referral on that!
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