India v Australia, 3rd Test, Ranchi, 3rd day March 18, 2017

Plot watch - The shoulder-clutch that never happened

ESPNcricinfo staff
The DRS was once again in the spotlight on the third day in Ranchi, after TV umpire Nigel Llong upheld the not-out decision for an lbw appeal against Cheteshwar Pujara
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Manjrekar: Smith did not mock Kohli

DRS watch
Was it pad first, or bat first? Did the TV umpire Nigel Llong notice the mini-spike on Ultra Edge? If he did, why didn't he say anything on air during the review? Was it conclusive enough to overturn the umpire's on-field decision of not out, or not?

While such questions were hotly debated on social media after an lbw appeal - and subsequent review - from Steve O'Keefe against Cheteshwar Pujara, Llong himself had said from the cooler environment of the TV umpire's box that he thought it "definitely looked like bat first".

Cricket Australia, though, were on hand with the screenshot to set off a thousand conversations.

Off the very next ball - from Nathan Lyon - umpire Ian Gould did his bit to stoke the fire, by not raising his finger to what looked like a bat-pad catch off M Vijay. Australia were all out of reviews, though.

Now, if only there existed conclusive technology that could help end the debate.

Aggression watch
Virat Kohli had spent all of the second day off the field nursing a shoulder injury, but on the third morning he was seen in his whites, padded up and ready to bat at No. 4. When Australia reviewed that lbw decision, the cameras panned on Kohli, who applauded Pujara's survival. Or was it Australia's unsuccessful review he was taking joy in? As India scored at a fluent pace, captain and cheerleader Kohli was often seen clapping from the dressing room.

Later on, when Kohli was at the crease, Glenn Maxwell chased down a Pujara flick near the midwicket boundary, and clutched his shoulder and laughed after he got up. The gesture was interpreted by some to be a mockery of Kohli's injury. Kohli was caught by Steven Smith at slip the very next ball, and shortly afterwards there was flare up on social media because a clip had appeared that showed Smith also clutching at his shoulder - again thought to be aimed at Kohli - while celebrating the catch. Later, more complete images proved that it was Peter Handscomb's hand on Smith's shoulder, and the accusations of mockery were unfounded.

Pitch watch
Australia's spin consultant Sridharan Sriram, whose back-room advice had played an important role in sinking India in Pune, and O'Keefe spent part of the lunch break pitch gazing. Just like they did in Pune. They stood by the stumps, surveying the surface, as Australia sought to disrupt India's run-making. This time around, he inflicted little damage after the lunchtime survey, as he finished with post-lunch figures of 20-6-50-0.

For the second day running, Cummins and Hazlewood troubled India's batsmen the most, getting a few deliveries to rise steeply. The strategy in the afternoon was to dry up the runs, though, with O'Keefe bowling over the wicket, hitting the rough outside Pujara's leg stump. Pujara padded up to what seemed like a few million balls on that line.

Earlier in the day, lawn mowers had been used to remove any rogue blades of grass that may have grown on the pitch overnight. None had dared. While quite a few balls zipped and turned, the bounce remained fairly even, and playing shots wasn't hard.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ley4938437203 on March 19, 2017, 22:17 GMT

    @Drew12 It takes two to tango - this would not be happening if Australia wasn't out there. Very obvious that there is a clear lack of respect between the teams - some of the very basics of sportsmanship just aren't being demonstrated , and just remember we have young children viewing this rubbish live globally. Richie Richardson's pre-test meeting was obviously a waste of time

  • Giridhar on March 19, 2017, 6:03 GMT

    Saha and Pujara playing to the merit of the bowling. Sad that AUS even after bowling well could not get wickets thanks to gritty innings from the Indian bastmen. beautiful test match, reminds me of the test match i watched as a kid. session 1 for Australia went wicketless. India getting stronger as the series progressing. Great treat indeed for test match lovers

  • hemantsj on March 19, 2017, 4:34 GMT

    At what point do the umpires penalize the bowler pitching the deliveries outside the leg stump and not spinning to stumps? It is a sheer waste of time to watch the game with such negative tactics from Australians in general and O'Keefe in particular. It kind of reminds you of the day of McGrath bowling session after session way outside off stump . With all the technical gadgets now available ICC should be able to penalize the bowler after he has bowled certain number of deliveries on negative lines. Otherwise it is RIP test cricket.

  • S on March 19, 2017, 4:26 GMT

    The snicko box, unlike the frame by frame replay, represents a short window of time. The frame by frame and the snicko are played simultaneously giving an impression they are interdependent (when in fact they are not). If the blip in the snicko appears towards the right of the centre point, it means that the sound was produced AFTER this frame and BEFORE the next frame. In simple words, snicko has a continuous set of data whereas the replays don't (think of the missing frames). So it looks like the correct decision was made by the DRS.

  • Drew on March 19, 2017, 4:17 GMT

    3LB 1OZ SS JUMBO Excuse me??? Both teams???????

  •   cricfan25397964 on March 19, 2017, 3:42 GMT

    Honestly, I'm not so much tired of the on-field antics as I am tired of the commentary that insists that cricket is a sport full of "respect" and that people must act in "the spirit of the game". It's nonsense. Cricketers over the years are just as guilty as breaking the rules, being disrespectful, even outright cheating. It's a competitive sport. When sport gets competitive then people cross boundaries. It's the same in any sport where you can get away with it. Great sporting legends in all sports have been known to hit below the belt in order to an edge on their opponents. Cricket isn't an exception to that rule. By all means, let's try and get these guys to behave and chill out a bit, but can we drop the myth that what they are doing is abnormal and surprising?

  • ruffy82197598 on March 19, 2017, 1:52 GMT

    Hasn't Kohli and several other Indian players been mocking Smith all series? Seems hypocritical for some to now get upset at mocking Kohli. Whilst I do think both sides have at times over stepped the mark, I still think the old adage if you are going to give it then be prepared to take it still applies(for both the players AND their supporters)! Secondly, given their respective results in the series I would suggest Kohli has only served to disrupt his own game and fortify Smith's!

  • bushan on March 19, 2017, 1:49 GMT

    DRS, Sledging and blame game thats all one would remember this test series as, bye bye good old test cricket.

  • venkataramana rao on March 18, 2017, 23:48 GMT

    CRICFAN68738980: The idea of 2 reviews per 80 overs is not about new ball. The team gets them even if there is no new ball taken. The idea of limiting reviews is just to ensure that all decisions of the umpire are not reviewed undermining the power of the on-field umpire. However, I think the 3rd umpire should have the power to overrule howlers. That way many obvious errors can be removed. We would have had Maxwell out on Day 2 and Vijay on Day 3. But a quick response is key in terms of 3rd umpire telling the on-field umpire to wait. This change may well happen in the future.

  • Graham on March 18, 2017, 23:46 GMT

    I think we couldve spent a lot more time on it and the same indecision would occur. The gut feel on the split screen is it kissed the pad before the bat but I wouldnt say it is conclusive. SO like the KOhli decision the protocol says if unsure we stay with the umpires decision.

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