Virat Kohli played well for his 44 runs in the first innings of the 2nd Test going on at Arun Jaitely stadium in Delhi on Friday, February 18. His innings came to an end with a controversial decision going against him. In the 50th over of the innings, bowled by spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, Kohli played a straighter one on front foot. The ball dipped in after pitching and appeared to be hitting Kohli’s pads first. There were two sounds though. But umpire Michael Gough believed Kohli was out as the ball would have crashed into the stumps. The India batter felt otherwise and instantly took the review. The UltraEdge clearly showed that the ball hit the bat and pad both.
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However, it was not very clear whether the ball had hit the bat first or the pad. If in such a scenario, the ball has hit the bat first, then it cannot be given out leg before wicket. Despite there being no clear evidence, third umpire Richard Illingworth made up his mind and said, on air, that the ball appeared to be hitting pad first. He hurriedly asked the TV director to show the ball tracker. There were 2 reds and umpire’s call on ball hitting the stumps. Kohli had to go but fans felt that he was hard done by the umpires over there. On air, Ravi Shastri too felt the same.
Check out Team India fans’ reaction to the controversial Kohli dismissal on Saturday afternoon:
Umpires never support Virat kohli like Mumbai Indians _ pic.twitter.com/SOTDQFhkM5Vishal. (@SportyVishaI) February 18, 2023
Virat Kohli is unlucky here. pic.twitter.com/cK3vSOKYa0— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) February 18, 2023
It’s bat first, shit umpiring by the third umpire again. how unlucky can a man be??? Virat Kohli goes for well made 44 runs.#INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/Ydh5VRCBBQ
— Akshat (@AkshatOM10) February 18, 2023
While sympathizing with Kohli, it is also important to look at the third umpire’s perspective. The umpiring thumb rule is that you cannot reverse the on-field decision unless you get conclusive evidence by looking at the replays. There was none when Illingworth had a hard look at the dismissal and had to stick to the on-field decision. That is the gray area in cricket and cricket umpiring. This is something that as a cricket fan and player, one has to accept and move on.
Earlier, Nathan Lyon struck four times in the lunch session on Day 2 to push India on back foot before Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli got together to steady the sinking ship for a while.