Although India using the Decision Review System is still a work in progress, skipper Virat Kohli got a crucial second DRS review appeal right to remove in-form England batsman Joe Root for 88 and achieve a crucial breakthrough on the first day of the Chennai Test.
They may still rue dropping Moeen Ali on zero, but Root could have really punished them. In the form of his life despite missing out on centuries after scoring 124 in the drawn Rajkot Test, the England vice-captain has scored at least a fifty in each of his 11 Tests against India. (SCORECARD)
He was on course to get his fourth century against a team he averages around 80 when Kohli and bowler Ravindra Jadeja’s insistence that Root had nicked a sweep left even keeper Parthiv Patel wondering whether the hosts were wasting their second review as well.
His 146-run third-wicket partnership with Moeen Ali on a flat MA Chidambaram stadium pitch had pushed India on the defensive when it all changed.
CHOICE OF SHOT
Root, who used the sweep shot effectively, tried it when he could have easily driven the delivery pitched up outside off-stump. Parthiv gathered calmly, but the bowler and Kohli went up in frantic appeal.
The umpire didn’t give it, and Kohli reluctantly sought the review. Maybe his delay which saw his DRS request against Cook turned down in the morning proved a blessing as the next one, after Jadeja had trapped Moeen Ali, was also not out. (UPDATES)
The review of the Root decision by umpire Marais Erasmus showed there was an inside edge. There was some doubt whether the spike in the ultra-edge technology was caused by the bat hitting the ground, but visuals indicated that was not the case.
Root kicked the ground in frustration before walking away, after a brilliant innings in just over three hours promising a lot more ended.
The batsman admitted he wasn’t proud of how he reacted when the decision was reversed.
“Initially the feeling was I couldn’t have hit it. Then it goes upstairs and you see the spike (on Ultra-Edge) and you start thinking what else could it be? It’s more disbelief than anything else. Obviously, the technology suggests otherwise.”
The batsman, jostling with Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Kane Williamson for the tag as the world’s best batsman, scored 124 in the drawn Rajkot Test, 53 in Visakhapatnam, 78 in Mohali and 77 in Mumbai to maintain his record of scoring at least a fifty in each Test played against India since starting with a 73 on debut in Nagpur four years ago.
But the ‘umpire’s call’ where the official can stick to his ‘not out’ decision when it indicates that the ball would only have clipped the stump, raises the question whether it is unfair to the bowler.
India’s fielding coach admitted it was an ‘ongoing, learning process’ for the team as the BCCI accepted DRS only before this series after opposing it on the ground that the technology wasn’t foolproof.