What’s the story?
Australian batsman Peter Handscomb has taken the blame on himself for the DRS controversy which threatened to hog the limelight in the second Test against India in Bengaluru. While defending skipper Steven Smith for his role in the episode, the 25-year-old cited his own lack of awareness for the rules surrounding the system and urged everyone to focus on the thrilling contest instead of such incidents.
“I referred smudga (Smith) to look at the box… my fault and was unaware of the rule. Shouldn’t take anything away from what was an amazing game!” (sic), Handscomb wrote in his official Twitter handle.
With the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on the line, the second Test at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium witnessed an intense tussle for supremacy in front a packed stadium. As the contest entered its tipping point, emotions began to boil over and both sets of players were at each other’s throats.
The heart of the matter
Requiring 188 in the fourth innings on a rapidly deteriorating pitch, Australia struggled under the relentless pressure applied by the Indian bowlers. They certainly did not help themselves as better usage of DRS could have prevented Shaun Marsh’s wicket at a critical stage in the contest. Things soon turned to worse for the visitors when Smith was undone by a delivery that hit a crack and kept particularly low.
The skipper was spotted having a chat with his batting partner, Handscomb, following which the latter gestured to him to look towards the dressing room for DRS pointers. Upon realising what was going on, Indian captain Virat Kohli became incensed, prompting the on-field umpires to intervene. With such a tactic in violation of the rules, they immediately sent Smith on his way.
In the post-match press conference, Smith attributed the DRS fiasco to a ‘brain fade’. However, Kohli refused to buy his excuse and claimed that the Australians had been resorting to such a ploy from the start of the match.
While Cricket Australia described those accusations as ‘outrageous’, BCCI firmly backed the Indian captain. Eventually, ICC has decided not to take action on the Australian skipper.
Even though ICC has had the final say on this matter, the vestiges surrounding the DRS controversy can still rear its ugly head when the teams take the field for the third Test in Ranchi next week. Amidst the added pressure, it will be interesting to see how Smith responds should the Indians remind him of the Bengaluru episode.
In the case of DRS calls, ICC has highlighted that receiving any help from the dressing room is not permissible. Also considering the fact that the review system is not new to Australian cricket, Handscomb’s claims of not being aware of the rules do not come across as convincing.
In either way, the incident also points out the importance of international players getting acquainted with the game’s regulations.
I referred smudga to look at the box... my fault and was unaware of the rule. Shouldn't take anything away from what was an amazing game!— Peter Handscomb (@phandscomb54) March 7, 2017
Well played India. Great Test match cricket. Looking forward to the next match in Ranchi— Steve Smith (@stevesmith49) March 7, 2017