What a test match this has been!
India held the upper hand on Days 1 and 2. Ashwin and Co. bowled Sri Lanka out for 183, then the Shikhar-Kohli show gave India a 192 run lead. The Indian spinners then returned to the scene of the crime to take both openers back with them to the pavilion at the end of Day 2.
Day 3 began similarly with the first ball bringing the night watchman’s wicket and Sri Lanka slipped quickly to 98-5. Then came the passage of play before lunch that may yet hold the key to this game.
First, Chandimal edged the ball onto his helmet to be caught at backward short leg. Given not out.
Then Thirimanne edged the ball to be caught at short leg. Not out.
Again, Chandimal drove the ball onto silly point’s boot and Mishra took the catch. Given not out by the third umpire.
Each of the three umpires seemed to have made an error in a 20 minute passage of play!
Aside from these three, there have been a number of decisions in this game which could quite easily be classified as ‘howlers’. Silva was given out when the ball came of his arm guard. The leg-before decisions against Kohli and Rahane were far from plumb. Saha was nowhere close to the ball when his innings was brought to an end.
While poor decisions have been given against both teams, India seemed to have suffered more from the poor umpiring in this test.
If only there was a system that could eliminate such howlers!
A system which could have had Sri Lanka seven down before lunch on Day 3, facing a deficit of 80 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Unfortunately for India, the BCCI continues its ludicrous opposition to the Decision Review System and the Indian cricket team will have to continue to suffer days like this in silence.
I think the basic question to ask of the BCCI is this – why is a system which is good enough for England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the rest of the cricket playing world still not good enough for the BCCI ? And is it hurting the Indian cricket team?
Surely the cost of the technology cannot be a factor for the board that takes 34% of all the television revenues generated by cricket around the world.
Coming to Hawkeye’s accuracy, isn’t the 99% + rate of accuracy on the slow motion ball-tracking software as good if not better than the human eye which sees things just once at normal speed? It also stands to reason that factual decisions such as bat-pad catches, nicks behind and inside edges on to pad are certainly much easier with Hotspot, Snicko and ultra-slow motion.
Remember the England v Sri Lanka test at Lords last year? A fascinating test match ended with a fair result only because of the DRS. Is that not sufficient proof for the BCCI that the system does work?
Enough of the DRS though, we must give credit where it’s due. Making the most of his reprieves, Chandimal, supported by Thiramanne and then Jehan Mubarak (who seems have been around forever!), played a breathtaking innings. Sweeping, reverse-sweeping, reverse-pulling and occasionally driving the ball conventionally, he took the attack to the Indian bowlers to set India 176 for the win.
It should be remembered that India are only playing five specialist batsman and the Sri Lankans have already struck getting one of them (KL Rahul) out before the close of play. India need another 153 runs to win.
Will the lack of the DRS come back to haunt the Indians? Or will Kohli and Co. knock the runs off at a canter?
An intriguing fourth day chase awaits.
You’ve got to love test match cricket!