Category: Cricket

Ashes and DRS

England defeated Australia by 14 runs in Trent Bridge Test that concluded on 14/7/2013. The Test was marred by DRS controversy. Marais Erasmus was the third umpire.
Two decisions were wrong. First one was not DRS but referred by field umpire Kumar Dharmasena when Ashton Agar was ruled not out. He was on 6. He went on to score 98 and created many records. Those included highest score by a No. 11 batsman and highest 10th wicket partnership of 163 runs. Australia were 131/9. They overtook England’s first Innings total of 215 runs and ended on 280.
In Jonathan Trott’s case DRS decision was wrong. Lack of side-on Hot Spot was said to be the reason for wrong decision. Marais Erasmus did not go by video replay that showed the bat touching the ball. Jonathan Trott was out on 0.
Stuart Broad was right in not walking when he was on 37 in second Innings. Umpire Aleem Dar ruled him not out. Australia had exhausted their two appeals under DRS. A batsman has to leave if he is wrongly given out by field umpire or on appeal by third umpire. Stuart Broad was out on 65.
The Test was decided by DRS when Alastair Cook used DRS against Brad Haddin who was on 71 and for 10th wicket Australia had put on 65 runs and needed 15 to win. England got it right and won the Test by 14 runs. Australia were all out for 296.
The inadequacies of DRS are exposed. India had opposed DRS. Other countries are happy when it suits them and raise questions when it goes against them. Number of appeals can be increased. Some inadequacies can be set right. But there is no protection if the third umpire knowingly gives a wrong decision due to fixing or some other reason.

Loss at Eden Garden

It is not right to build up any series as grudge series or revenge series. That is what some TV channels did about the Test series against England in India. India had lost 0-4 to England in England in 2011. There was talk of India winning 4-0 against England in India. Gautam Gambhir had said let them come to India.

The series began with Indian victory in Ahmedabad Test. India won by nine wickets but Mahendra Singh Dhoni was not happy about the pitch. He wanted a rank turner. At Wankhede Stadium he got that but lost the Test by 10 wickets. He wanted a rank turner at Eden Garden too despite losing Bombay Test. BCCI was ready to oblige him. Prabir Mukherjee, the curator at Eden Garden, did not oblige. He said the demand for rank turner was illegal, immoral and illogical. He wanted to go on leave. Jagmohan Dalmiya prevailed upon him to continue and Prabir Mukherjee prepared the pitch which gave equal chance to fast bowlers, spin bowlers and batsmen.

Dhoni won the toss third time consecutively and elected to bat. India put on 316. Virender Sehwag’s run out was unnecessary. England batted. Cheteshwar Pujara, fielding at first slip, dropped Alastair Cook when he was on 17. Cheteshwar Pujara usually fields at forward short leg and Virender Sehwag fields at first slip. Alastair Cook was dropped again on 155 by Ishant Sharma off his own bowling. Alastair Cook was run out on 190 at non-strikers end. It was a freak dismissal. He lifted the bat to avoid blocking Virat Kohli’s throw and the ball hit the stumps. It was Alastair Cook’s first run out in Tests.

On the fourth day in the first session England were all out on 523. Monty Panesar was not happy at lbw decision. India batted. Alastair Cook dropped Virender Sehwag. India went to lunch on 86/0.

After lunch Virender Sehwag was out first ball on 49. Cheteshwar Pujara’s run out was unnecessary. Wickets fell in succession. India were 122/6. Ravichandran Ashwin had two lives. Matt Prior missed a stumping chance and dropped him, both times off Monty Panesar. Second time India were 161/8. It could have been 161/9. It was 197/9 and Ishant Sharma was out. India ended the day 239/9.

On 9/12/2012, the fifth day, India were all out on 247. Ashwin remained 91 not out. England had to score 41 runs to win. It seems they were in a hurry. They lost three quick wickets for eight runs. After that Ian Bell and Nick Compton scored runs and England won by seven wickets.

The selectors dropped Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan for Nagpur Test. Harbhajan Singh had played only in Bombay Test. Yuvraj Singh scored 127 runs in three Tests, more than Sachin Tendulkar (110) and Dhoni (92). Ashwin has not done well as a bowler. He continues in the team for his batting.

India can at best win the next Test and draw the series. TV channels should take a balanced view and should not be jingoistic.

Turning track backfires

Mahendra Singh Dhoni grumbled too much. He grumbled after winning two Tests against New Zealand. He grumbled after winning Ahmedabad Test against England by nine wickets. For him the tracks were not good enough. He wanted tracks that turned from day one and toss should be out of equation.
At Wankhede Stadium there was the desired track. Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat. English batsmen were supposed to struggle against Indian spin. Indian batsmen are supposed to great players of spin. However Indian batsmen struggled against English spin. At one time India were 169/6. At that time 250 runs looked difficult. Cheteshwar Pujara and tailenders batted well. India were all out for 327.
English batsmen countered Indian spin. They scored 86 runs more than India. In its second Innings India lost five wickets before reaching 86. India ended the day 117/7. On fourth day India were all out for 142. England scored 58 runs without loss of wicket, won the Test, and levelled the series. India had fallen in the grave dug for England.
Questions are raised about Dhoni’s captaincy. He still wants rank turners for remaining Tests. May be 10 wickets defeat is not enough. He wants Innings defeat.
Some have put the question whether Sachin Tendulkar should retire. The question should be whether selectors should select him. His defenders say others have not done well. That is not true. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara have scored runs. Virat Kohli did not do well in two Tests. He has done well against New Zealand.
Some say there is no one to replace Sachin. There are many batsmen who can replace Sachin starting from Ajinkya Rahane.
Two Tests remain. The series can go anyway.