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Sunday, December 16, 2018

incompetence of TV Umpire Nigel Llong cuts short Kohli glorious innings

In Nov 2015   New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor claimed that  video umpire made a mistake to reprieve Nathan Lyon as the decision review system came under fire.  The contentious call by Nigel Llong halted the Black Caps' charge in the third Test, allowing Australia to turn what appeared to be a sizeable first-innings deficit into a handy lead.  The same Nigel Llong was under cloud again today at Perth.

“ There's a big shout for caught behind down the leg-side for Paine, but it appears to have flicked his trousers instead. He has played a very gritty innings (eight off 26 balls) even if it hasn't been his prettiest knock.”  ~  and  that's stumps! Australia finish at 4-132 off 48 overs, with a lead of 175. Keep in mind Aaron Finch has not been sighted since he copped a nasty knock on the finger. India took 4-99 in the final session of the day.  .. ..that is match status at Perth, 2nd Test – India Australia 2018 day 3 close of play.  Nathan Lyon, the off-spinner  has emerged as Australia’s best cricketer  of the series thus far.  The off-spinner took the key wicket of Ajinkya Rahane for 51 in the first over of the day then cleaned up the Indian tail to help Australia emerge with a 43-run first innings lead. Lyon snaffled a return catch from Ishant Sharma, Rishabh Pant mishit him to Mitchell Starc at long on and Jasprit Bumrah edged the offie to first slip to end India’s innings and give Lyon his fifth wicket for the innings. Lyon finished with the figures of 5/67 as his stellar series continued.  He now has 13 wickets in this series thus far.

While India played with 4 pacers – Ishant, Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav with Hanuma Vihari bowling parttime spin and taking 2 wickets, Aussies had one off-spinner and 3 pacers for the new ground at Perth.  Kohli scored his 25th Test century on Sunday morning, becoming the first player to reach three figures in Test cricket at Perth Stadium, and celebrated in unique fashion as the swelling crowd showered him with applause. After he confidently bunted Australia spearhead Mitchell Starc down the ground to bring up his hundred, Kohli removed his helmet, put it on the ground, pointed to his bat then mimicked talking with his glove.  .. .. and when got out – it was more of a poor Umpiring decision than anything else.

Statistically  his 25 - Centuries in Tests have come in 127 innings. Only Sir Don Bradman (in 68 innings) had completed 25 hundreds in fewer innings. Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar had taken 130 and 138 innings respectively. Kohli is the 21st   batsman to register 25 or more centuries in Test cricket, and the fourth from India.   His 6 tons in tests  in Australia have come in just  19 innings. Only two visiting batsmen have scored more: nine centuries by Jack Hobbs in 45 innings and seven by Wally Hammond in 35 innings. Herbert Sutcliffe and Tendulkar also scored six centuries each.  A master of a different World, is what he is becoming !

Umpire Decision Review System (DRS) is a technology-based system used in cricket to assist the match officials with their decision-making.  On-field umpires may choose to consult with the third umpire (TV Umpire);  players may request that the third umpire consider a decision of the on-field umpires (known as a Player Review). The main elements that have been used are television replays, technology that tracks the path of the ball and predicts what it would have done, microphones to detect small sounds made as the ball hits bat or pad, and infra-red imaging to detect temperature changes as the ball hits bat or pad.  DRS was formally used in a Test in 2008, first used in an ODI in Jan 2011, and first used in a T20I in Oct 2017.   Though it was first  introduced in 2008 in a three-Test series between Srilanka and India, India had been a vociferous critic of the system claiming that it is not fool-proof. 

Today it was to the fore again.  Peter Handscomb was n involved in a controversial catch which dismissed Virat Kohli today.  The Victorian -fielding at second slip - was adamant he had taken a legitimate catch, having claimed the ball in his fingertips after Kohli had edged Pat Cummins just before lunch on day three at Optus Stadium. After several replays, video umpire Nigel Llong gave Kohli out after not finding conclusive evidence to overturn the on-field soft signal of out given by officiating umpire Kumar Dharmasena. Kohli made a sterling 123 to keep India in the match. At lunch the visitors were 7/252, 74 runs behind Australia's first innings total of 326.

The things to blame are : the soft-signal (why a signal when unsure); the adamancy of the fielder and the TV Umpire Nigel Llong’s failure to see what was clear otherwise.   The Cricketing world was divided.   Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting believed Handscomb had taken a fair catch. "He's confident he got his hands underneath the ball, no conclusive evidence to overturn the soft signal out," Ponting said on Channel Seven. Mike Hussey, speaking on Fox Sports, was not as sure but did not believe Handscomb had been dishonest in claiming the catch. "I think he did manage to get his fingers underneath the ball," Hussey said. But he questioned if "some part of the ball was probably touching the ground" due to how far apart Handscomb's fingers were.  Adam Gilchrist slammed it - “This putting the finger up and saying ‘yep, that’s out’, it reminds me of Ricky Ponting in Sydney some years ago in what ended up turning into one of the uglier Test matches,” he said.

The TV replays shown to us clearly showed that ball touched ground before and no part of finger of Handscome was underneath it .. .. still a catch claimed, Dharmasena referred it with a soft-signal, Llong could not see despite technology and Kohli given out !!

Remember in Jan 2008 at Sydney, India lost the match – more than a couple of umpiring errors and some controversies did contribute to hasten  the end result in that match.  Sourav Ganguly was sore on that occasion and commented that umpire Mark Benson should have consulted Steve Bucknor in adjudicating on the controversial catch which led to his dismissal in the second innings of the second Test.  Batting on 51, Ganguly had edged Brett Lee low to Michael Clarke at second slip who immediately claimed the catch and the Australians celebrated before awaiting the umpire's decision. Ganguly, convinced that the catch hadn't carried, waited at the crease. Benson opted not to consult Bucknor at square leg and instead took Ricky Ponting's word that the catch was legitimate.  It was among several decisions that went against India through the Test and played a big part in their defeat.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Dec 2018.

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