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14 February, 2021

3 controversies kept alive as Virat, Team India close in on series leveling win At The Chepauk



There were few memorable performances and few others that evoked hilarious memes on Sunday at the Chepauk.

However, these were eclipsed by three controversies that are alive as Team India nudge closer to a victory and draw 1-all in this 4-Test series. 

The memorable performances include Ravichandran Ashwin's 29th 5-wicket haul joining Aussie pace legend Glenn McGrath as joint seventh to take highest numbers of fifers in an innings.

The day also saw England wicket-keeper batsman Ben Foakes impressing with his keeping skills, then setting an example on how to bat on turning Indian pitches as well as facing guileful spinners such as Ashwin. 

There was rookie India pacer Mohammed Siraj impressing his team and fans with a first ball wicket on Indian soil.

The top meme involves wicketkeepers from both teams, Rishabh Pant and Foakes. The meme said both were left without partners on Valentine's Day. Pant remained unbeaten on 58 when India resumed their first innings batting. Later Foakes was left not out at the other end as England's first innings folded at 134. 

This total gave rise to another meme that said England fell 27 runs short of Rohit Sharma's first innings score of 161.

International bilateral cricket amidst the deadly Covid-19 is seen as a harbinger of continuity, progress in the face of adversity and unity in diversity among nations that play this sport.

However, the intensity of such competition has also lent credence to allegations, claims of bias.

Here are the three controversies that are alive as this second Test heads into its third day, with India 54 for 1, 249 ahead and looking to choke England starting later on Day 3 or on the fourth and fifth day if this match extends that long: 

1. India's Hitman in focus again: Rohit Sharma survived few close calls during his match defining knock of 161 when India batted first. 

He was in the spotlight again on Day 2 when India batted in the second innings.

Probably inspired by Cheteshwar Pujara or overcome by a wave of old school of thought manner of batting, Rohit stretched forward to a Moeen Ali delivery in the 13th over with pad and bat.

Umpire Virender Kumar, officiating in his first Test, beckoned the TV umpire Anil Chaudhary for a review called by England for an LBW appeal.

However, his wisdom said Rohit had offered a shot while England skipper Joe Root believed the batsman did not offer any shot and hence was primed to be out LBW.

Former India captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar too felt that the batsman did not offer any shot. 

Umpire Virender's reference prevailed and Rohit was declared not out. 

Gavaskar got another slow-mo assessed from the commentary box that showed the ball would have hit the stumps. Former England batsman Nick Knight commentating alongside Gavaskar joked that the footage not be shown to Root. 

Irrespective of whether Rohit scores another ton on Day 3, England supporters are likely to hold this against hosts India.

England's @TheBarmyArmy that commands 190.5K followers are already on it. See their tweet:


Pitch that's puffing dust from Day 1 and...: Former England captain Michael Vaughan and Aussie spin legend Shane Warne faced off on social media platform Twitter debating whether this reorganized second Test pitch passes muster as a Test pitch.

"It’s entertaining cricket as things are happening all the time but let’s be honest this Pitch is a shocker .. Not making any excuses as India have been better but this isn’t a Test Match 5 day prepared Pitch," tweeted Vaughan.

His tweet was picked up by publications including Fox Sports, who headlined it with ‘This pitch is a shocker’: Vaughan fumes as England crumble in India slaughter

It isn't clear if Vaughan was indeed fuming, but his claim was countered equally belligerently by Warne who tweeted: "Come on maaaaaate ! The last few days of the 1st test, the wicket started exploding & no one said a word about the pitch when India had no chance. At least this test it’s been the same for both teams from ball one. Eng bowled poorly & Rohit, Pant and Jinx showed how to bat."

Former England spinner Graeme Swann and former India batsman W V Raman too sprung to defend the pitch with their tweet versions. 

"I have no problem at all with a pitch offering this much spin [hardly a surprise naturally]. We prepare green pitches to suit our bowlers at home when deemed necessary so it’s fair game. We should be taking notes on how to excel from @ImRo45 @RishabhPant17 and @ashwinravi99," Swann tweeted from his @Swannyg66 handle.

Raman's tweet read: "For those who are whining about the pitch offering too much for spinners, thus being far from an ideal test pitch, consider this :
3 Eng wickets were claimed by pacers, 
And main batters got out to not so ideal shots!"

You are into the third day of this Test and such uproar may escalate into a crescendo should there be any more such controversies during the remaining days of this match or after England lose this Test. 

3. Wisden gets into the act with video evidence: Considered an almanack that rose to be known as the Bible of Cricket, Wisden's online edition is trying to live up to trends with eyeball-grabbing news.

One such was an article and supporting video that screamed: Watch: Virat Kohli strangely throws helmet onto the middle of Chepauk pitch

This article has elaborated the law -- (incidentally cricket is perhaps the only sport that continues to have laws and not rules, indicating a colonial hangover) -- or Clause 41.12.1 that states: “It is unfair to cause deliberate or avoidable damage to the pitch. A fielder will be deemed to be causing avoidable damage if either umpire considers that his presence on the pitch is without reasonable cause.”

It's not known whether any of the on-field umpires have reported this matter to the Match Referee who again is former India pacer Javagal Srinath.

Considering such sticky and delicate issues and developments, it'll be good on the part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India to step in and ensure there are no further controversies that could sully its and the country's image on the international stage.

Team India's fearless Young India players have provided you, their ardent fans, with exemplary performances worth emulating. You'd want the sport to progress on these lines. Correct?




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