Third umpire Anil Chaudhary has struck again, this time with a poor LBW decision in the India vs England second Test.
England, reeling after a dismal first innings of 134, appealed for LBW against Indian opener Rohit Sharma when he was on 21 in the second innings.
Rohit was struck on the pad by England off-spinner Moeen Ali in the 13th over, outside the line of off-stump but clearly not playing a shot, with his bat tucked well behind his pad.
On-field umpire Virender Sharma disagreed, giving Rohit not out. England reviewed and Chaudhary seemingly paid little heed to whether or not Rohit had played a shot, confirming that the batsman had been struck outside the line and telling Sharma to stick with his decision.
Ball tracking confirmed that the ball was hitting middle stump.
Indian great Sunil Gavaskar offered a frank verdict: “No, he isn’t playing a shot.”
Former England batsman Nick Knight said: “He’s tucked his bat in behind the pad there and it looks to me like he’s made no effort to play the ball.”
The blooper came just a day after Chaudhary inexplicably gave Ajinkya Rahane not out on a catch review, by looking at the wrong passage of play. Rahane gloved the ball off Jack Leach to short-leg fielder Ollie Pope, yet Chaudhary only reviewed the initial instance of the ball passing the bat, before it popped up on to his glove.
England captain Joe Root was furious in both instances. Rohit also survived a questionable stumping decision on the first innings, courtesy of Chaudhary.
The latest blunder brought another round of disbelief on social media.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned whether the third umpire was “pissed” after the Rahane incident. He has also been highly critical of the pitch, with the ball breaking through the surface from day one.
Yet India has handled the Chennai conditions far better. Rohit remains 25 not out in the second innings and India have built a lead of 249 runs after just two days.
England won the first Test of the four-match series by 227 runs. They appear headed for 1-1, with wicketkeeper Ben Foakes top-scoring with an unbeaten 42 in their first innings in Chennai and a huge fourth-innings task looming for the visiting batsmen.
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