England had a disastrous first day on the field on Wednesday during the third Test against India. Axar Patel’s devastating six-wicket haul bundled England out for 112 before Rohit Sharma’s languid elegance shone through in an unbeaten half-century that handed India the edge on the opening day of the day-night Pink ball contest.
However, it wasn’t only the batting performance that the visitors would want to forget but the several umpiring decisions that did not go their way.
England skipper Joe Root was left frustrated as Rohit Sharma survived a close stumping call. This was another close call made by the third umpire that didn’t go down in England’s favour. Root was seen having an argument with the umpire where he was heard saying: “We just want some consistency.” That the third umpire made a decision in a haste without taking a look at the multiple angles left the visitors furious.
In a separate incident, Ben Stokes, who was stationed in the slips, claimed a Shubman Gill catch during the second over of Indian innings. While the on-field umpires adjudged Gill out, the replays showed Stokes grounding the ball while he was attempting to pouch the ball.
On both occasions, however, the third-umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin made the decisions rather quickly much to the shock of the England team. Many argued that when earlier in the day Jack Leach had edged a low chance, the third umpire was provided with several angles, which ideally should be the case while taking the decision.
How can anyone watch this once and say for sure if that's out or not. I've watched it about 20 times and I still can't tell.3rd umpire needs to check stump cam and other angles/zoom to see if its raised or not. #INDvENG pic.twitter.com/gmwlcmciyR
— James Hart (@JamesHart6WHU) February 24, 2021
The third umpire was mocked on social media by cricket fans with memes and jokes.
The third umpire rushing through England reviews so he doesn’t find an angle that implies the Indian batsman is Out is becoming a common occurrence.— Ben Long (@LongyWTID) February 24, 2021
Hearing from multiple sources that if you bat badly then the third umpire doesn't have to look at reviews properly when you're bowling.— Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) February 24, 2021
Meanwhile, the spin combination of left-arm Patel and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin exploited the turning Motera pitch at the newly-inaugurated Narendra Modi stadium to the full and England’s first innings folded in just 48.4 overs after the visitors opted to bat. Patel (21.4-6-38-6) grabbed his second five-for in his second Test while Ashwin (16-6-26-3) took three.
India will start the second day of the Pink ball Test on Thursday 13 runs behind England’s first innings score.