The on-going series between India and Australia has been filled with numerous on-field incidents. A few of them were amusing while a few had tempers flaring high. However, the one that took place on the first day of the third and penultimate Test match at Ranchi falls under the former section.
In the 80th over of the Australian innings, a funny yet questionable incident happened. On the third delivery of Ravindra Jadeja’s over, the ball missed Smith’s bat and went straight into his pads and lodged itself there for a brief period. Indian wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha was extremely alert and tried to get hold of the ball.
The Indian gloveman cautiously tracked Smith’s movements but the Australian captain was clever enough to try and go to the ground so that any possibility of a catch is ruled out. However, Saha managed to get hold of the ball before it fell to the ground and then went on to appeal for it.
Post the incident, everyone on the ground shared a laugh, including the umpire Ian Gould who walked aside shaking his head in disapproval. The only player who did not take the incident lightly was Smith himself, who probably felt that Saha’s actions were unnecessary.
The umpire then ruled the delivery a ‘dead ball’ because according to Law 23.1 (Dead Ball), “The ball becomes dead when whether played or not it lodges in the clothing or equipment of a batsman or the clothing of an umpire.”
Therefore, the England-born umpire was right in his decision to rule the ball dead. In addition to this, the ball had not struck any part of Smith’s bat or the glove in the first place, so there is no question of a potential dismissal.
The gritty Aussies were reeling at 140/4 before skipper Smith, along with comeback man Maxwell added 159 runs for the fifth wicket. Smith is unbeaten on 117 while Maxwell is batting on 82. Australia ended Day 1 of the third Test at 299/4 in 90 overs.