Virat Kohli walked in to bat at a rather precarious position on day one of the second Test between India and England at Vizag. The in-form Murali Vijay had just gloved an Anderson short one to Stokes and the scoreboard read 22/2. Another wicket and his decision to bat first would have been critiqued. With a job on hand, the Indian skipper buckled up for a long haul.
With every passing over, he grew in confidence. He punched down the ground, drove fluently and flicked along the ground with usual panache. His vital partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara has perhaps set up the game up for India now but there was one moment, late in the game, when Virat Kohli was at the mercy of the third-umpire and the dreaded DRS.
It happened in the 80th over bowled by Moeen Ali. The Indian skipper played a rather unusual reverse sweep to an off-spinning delivery from Ali. With no fielder behind square on the off-side, Kohli perhaps thought that it was a safe stroke to executed. But with the ball turning, the skipper missed and the opposition erupted while sensing an opportunity. The onfield umpire had a good long look at and ruled it ‘Not Out’.
England had already used up one review and with the numbers of reviews being reset after the 80th over, they had nothing to loose and readily took the referral. The DRS played out as follows:
Pitching: Outside-Off (Not a problem and in favour of the bowler)
Impact: In-Line (Again, not a problem and the bowler is really in business now)
Wickets: Umpire’s Call (As the ball was visibly striking the stumps)
Final verdict: Not Out (In keeping with the on-field verdict to this effect).
The regulations require the trajectory of the ball to strike over 50% of the stumps for the DRS to throw up the ‘Hitting’ sign in RED. In the Kohli referral, the ball only clipped the leg-stump and DRS promptly ruled it an ‘Umpire’s Call’. This meant that the on-field umpire’s original verdict of ‘Not Out’ stood.
Kohli heaved a sigh of relief and made the verdict count. He soon brought along his 150 and continued to look solid as ever.
This is the first instance that DRS is being used in India and viewers are getting a good close look at the workings of the mechanism. Also, the experience of waiting for the verdict - akin to the run-out referrals – has made for wonderful theatre as well. In the first innings of the first Test, Cheteshwar Pujara was batting in the eighties and had to go through anxious moment while England deployed the DRS. Images of his wife and father waiting and then rejoicing after the DRS ruled in Pujara’s favour made for wonderful visuals.