It’s coincidental that India’s first two full-fledged Test series at home with DRS involve England and Australia --- the two teams most experienced in the art of using the review system. India, however, have thrashed England 4-0 and are expected to defeat Australia too. But if Virat Kohli and his teammates learn from the England series, India can be a smoother operator with DRS in this series.
Why is it so important to get the review appeal right? Because with the amount of edges, bat-pads and low catches about to come into play because of slow spin-assisting pitches expected to be dished out over the next month, India have to be careful about not wasting their reviews.
The DRS was to be used on a trial basis in the India-England series, that too without the ‘HotSpot’ technology. Over the series, there were a few instances where India got their assessment wrong. Like in the Rajkot Test, where Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t ask for a review for an lbw decision to a delivery that had pitched outside leg-stump.
Then in Visakhapatnam, Wriddhiman Saha wasted a review on a plumb leg-before. Ravindra Jadeja hesitated from appealing against an lbw where the ball was seen missing the stumps. The gap was threadbare but it wasn’t out.
The problem for India has been the lack of decisive communication between players. In Jadeja’s case, non-striker R Ashwin couldn’t give him the right advice. And while bowling, there were a few occasions Wriddhiman Saha couldn’t make himself heard enough from behind the wickets for Kohli and the bowler to take his opinion into account before appealing.
It’s not as if India were completely off the mark with their reviewing. In Visakhapatnam, Jayant Yadav was bang on target with a leg-before appeal against Moeen Ali even though he had come down the pitch.
But armed with a longer tryst with the art of using DRS, Australia would be looking to be smarter than India at least in this department. India’s job therefore --- apart from doing their thing in the field --- would be to ensure they don’t miss out on those crucial moments in this Test series.