What’s the story?
In the second Test match at Bengaluru, Steven Smith’s decision to look towards the dressing room after he was given out LBW went down to be a controversial one. The match referee for the third Test of the series, Richie Richardson, had called both the captains separately in order to calm the tension between the two teams.
While speaking to the media on the eve of the third Test match, Smith said, “I spoke to Richie Richardson and the other umpires just now. Basically, they said cricket is the winner in the Test. Both teams turn to play within rules of the game. We always know that a series between Australia and India is fiercely contested.”
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In the post-match press conference of the second Test, Smith had conceded that his actions – after he was ruled out by the umpire – was a ‘brainfade’. Contrastingly, his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli had lashed out at the Australian’s antics and had also asserted that it was the third time the visitors indulged in such actions in the second Test.
However, Smith escaped any sanctions from the ICC’s disciplinary body over the same which has raised a few eyebrows, including South Africa’s captain, Faf du Plessis. The respective boards – BCCI and Cricket Australia – were also quick to release a joint statement after the second Test match saying that they have resolved the matter in the best interests of the game.
The heart of the matter
The Indian team tasted a shocking defeat in the first Test match of the series, which saw Kohli’s 19-match unbeaten run end unexpectedly. The team put up an impressive display in the second Test match at Bengaluru spectated an action-packed contest and India eventually levelled the series 1-1.
The Test also witnessed the infamous ‘Reviewgate’ controversy for which the Indian skipper fell short of calling the visitors ‘cheaters’ in the post-match press conference. In the wake of the same, former West Indian batsman Richie Richardson, who replaced Chris Board as the match referee for the third Test, asked both the captains to meet him separately.
Richardson met both skippers on Wednesday and asked them to put the controversy behind and play a good brand of cricket.
Both the sides have started afresh in the on-going third and penultimate Test match at Ranchi. The focus has now turned towards playing better cricket and winning the evenly poised Test series which is now tied at one each.
In a series taking place between the top two ranked sides, controversies and aggression are omnipresent. However, we have to credit the match referee for dousing the tensions and ensuring that the competition is between the bat and the ball in the ‘Gentlemen’s Game’.