India skipper Virat Kohli could not put a foot wrong through 2016, but his sudden lack of runs has been highlighted with his team’s struggles in the current Test series against Australia. (HIGHLIGHTS)
Kohli, who piled up 1,215 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 75.93 in 2016 and has scored a double century in each of the last four Test series, has had huge success against Australia. In the 2014-15 tour, he smashed four centuries, including two in one Test. (SCORECARD)
After being dismissed for 0 and 13 in the 333-run defeat in Pune, and for 12 in the first innings, Kohli looked a man possessed as he walked out to bat in the Indian second innings on Monday.
He looked in good touch, barely resembling the player who had been dismissed shouldering arms in the previous two innings.
But this time the India skipper was undone by the margin of error in the DRS system that can frustrate if you are at the receiving end. Kohli had reached 15, when a delivery from fast bowler Josh Hazlewood kept low and struck him on his front pad.
Umpire Nigel Llong upheld the leg before appeal, but Kohli immediately sought review, sure he had bottom-edged on to the pads. Multiple replays didn’t give a clear picture, and even the Ultra-edge technology which shows the spike on impact wasn’t conclusive. It thus became the umpire’s call, and Llong stuck to his decision.
A distraught Virat Kohli was seen walking back to the dressing room, although he appeared relieved as Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane rebuilt the innings without being separated until stumps.
While India have belatedly agreed to use DRS in bilateral series, the HotSpot thermal imaging is not part of it. An Australian company owns it and special permission is needed because it’s military technology.
Needless to say, it added to the pile of unsuccessful reviews India have had as they stumble through DRS. It was their fourth unsuccessful review in the Bangalore Test.
Batting coach Sanjay Bangar said: “We were all a bit surprised by the call the umpire eventually made. Was there conclusive evidence to make that call is something the match referee would definitely look into.
“Virat was really pumped up. He is a big match, impact player and badly wanted to succeed in this innings. So, whatever, it was a normal sort of reaction from a batsman who gets into the dressing room after he gets out cheaply.”
Bangar didn’t think India’s faith in DRS has been eroded, having earlier blocked its use in bilateral games for almost a decade as they were not convinced it was ‘100 per cent’.
“I don’t think it has gone to that extent. We are new to DRS. The rules have also been tweaked, so the umpire’s call becomes really, really crucial. We haven’t really sat down and evaluated. We are learning with the number of games we are playing.”
On using Hotspot, he said it was purely up to the administrators to take a call.