You might have all the talent in the world, but without experience, it can all go down very fast. Matt Renshaw has been one of Australia’s consistent batsmen in this series thus far, but he gifted the Indians some great momentum, put the mostly-silent crowd against them and revved up Ishant Sharma, when it could all have been avoided.
Ishant was into his fifth over on Monday (March 20) in Ranchi, and was hardly effective in his previous four. Mid-way through his run in, Renshaw pulled out. Ishant was furious and flung the ball towards the keeper. When he turned back, there was no one at the sightscreen. It was unclear why Renshaw pulled out, but had he intended to frustrate the already irritated bowler, it back fired, and spectacularly.
The Indian team rallied around the bowler and started to offer some words of advice, to put it nicely, to both Renshaw and Steve Smith at the other end. Virat Kohli walked up to the umpire, while Murali Vijay and the other close in fielders got talking with the batsmen. The crowd too sensed that the hosts needed their support. It was by far the lowest crowd, but they roared the loudest. Ishant went back to his mark all pumped up and ready for revenge.
After the first ball was defended to gully, Ishant worked his pace to bowl two bouncers at the left-hander. Renshaw awkwardly avoided any damage. But when he was ready for a third one, Ishant surprised him with a full delivery. Ian Gould ruled Renshaw out LBW, and India, after an hour of toil, had their first wicket.
They carried the momentum forward into the next innings. Smith could perhaps have been distracted by all that was happening at the other end, and tried to lazily pad away a Jadeja delivery. The ball spun past the pad and uprooted the off-stump. India were cock-a-hoop and had Renshaw to thank for it all. Perhaps a more experienced player would have realised there was no need to needle an already tiring bowler.
DRS blushes for Kohli
India have been much better in their judgement of what to review in this Test but there was one instance where they went horribly wrong.
Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb had frustrated them for a long time in the second session. There were hardly any chances created as well. So when Umesh Yadav finally managed to hit Marsh on the pad, India went for a review in sheer optimism.
Yadav was in no position to judge the call, having fallen down on his follow through. Kohli shrugged his shoulders and flashed the ‘T’. But it took the third umpire just one shot to negate the review. The ball was pitching short and way outside the leg stump. The ball-tracker wasn’t even required to do its second and third functions. Even that might have resulted in three greens!
Needless to say, it had even Kohli in splits after he caught the replays on the giant screen. So embarrassed was he that he even raised his hand in apology to Ian Gould for questioning that decision.
Ishant, grace and the lack of it
One thing that you cannot fault Ishant for, is lack of trying. The pacer was still giving it his all on the fifth day pitch, trying to create chances. But grace is not something that Ishant is known for. Not in his mimicry of Steve Smith’s nods, and definitely not when he tripped himself over this afternoon.
Taking just a couple of steps into his delivery stride, Ishant took a tumble, again inciting chuckles from his skipper and teammates. The spike in his boot had done some damage to the advertisement poster stuck at the top of the bowler’s run-up. That one is likely to make it straight into the highlights packages of gaffes.