Kapil Dev is not amused in the Press Box. An Aussie commentator on air defends Steve Smith. Virat Kohli is livid with the Australians for what he deemed unethical cricket. The umpires had to intervene, send the batsman on his way and calm the Indians.
At one point on day four of the Bengaluru Test, the tension threatened to spill over. In Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, however, there were two experienced umpires who diffused the situation effectively and let the focus stay on one of the most amazing Test matches in recent times.
That point turned out to be the one that swayed the game India’s way. They eventually won the contest by 75 runs and levelled the series 1-1.
Australia at 73 for 3, chasing 188, were just a tad more than 100 runs away from taking a 2-0 lead and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Steve Smith had batted himself to a decent position at 28 off 47 balls. And then the shattering shift occurred.
Umesh Yadav got one ball to barely rise from the surface off a back-of-a-good-length. Smith was deep in the crease and was caught plumb in front. The umpire ruled in India’s favour. Smith walked up to Handscomb to get his opinion, but Handscomb pointed to the dressing room. Smith immediately turned back to find out what they were saying about the DRS call, which was when it all went haywire.
Kohli and Pujara walked up swiftly to the Australian pair indicating what they were doing was unfair. Llong too, briskly marched towards Smith and told him he was not entitled to getting a view from the dressing room, and sent Smith on his way. The incident had done enough to pump up the Indians, the crowd and the commentators, with VVS Laxman even taking to twitter to say that what Smith did was not in the spirit of the game.
Earlier in the day, the Australians had stormed their way back into the fixture and slotted into a winning position by triggering another staggering Indian collapse. Mitchell Starc led the rout with a fiery spell that brought him the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair. But it was Josh Hazlewood who did most of the damage, taking three wickets to end the innings with career-best figures of 6 for 67.
If the variable bounce in the pitch and his accuracy did the trick for Hazlewood, Starc started it all with sheer pace. Rahane, who had notched up a fine fifty, and Pujara held onto their wickets in the early overs, but Starc, armed with the new ball, had the former caught in the crease with a fast inswinger. DRS came to Australia’s rescue as they managed to overturn the umpire’s decision.
Karun Nair was welcomed with a beast of a delivery – a full inswinger belted at 154 kmph. Nair went for an expansive cover drive and only turned back to see his middle stump out of the ground and his leg stump broken into two pieces.
Hazlewood did the rest. Pujara was out caught at gully for a well-played 92 and Ashwin and Umesh Yadav fell cheaply thereafter. India were bowled out for 274, leaving the Australians to get 188 to take a 2-0 lead.
India knew they had very little time to strike, and Ishant Sharma gave them that edge by getting Matt Renshaw for a single-digit score for the first time this series. With the pitch getting slower and lower, the Ashwin of old returned. After being hit for a six, he had David Warner out LBW while attempting to sweep.
Shaun Marsh was caught in two minds and left a ball that snaked into him. He would have been not out had he used DRS, but he didn’t and India had their third wicket. Seven runs later, the shift happened.
In the next 15 overs, the game was over. Mitchell Marsh edged his attempted flick to Nair off Ashwin, while Matthew Wade fell in the same over, smartly caught by Wriddhiman Saha off a bat-pad. Starc was bowled by Ashwin, O’Keefe by Jadeja. Ashwin wrapped it all up.
Ashwin ended with 6 for 41 and India drew level in style.
Brief scores: India 189 & 274 (Cheteshwar Pujara 92, Ajinkya Rahane 52; Josh Hazlewood 6-67) beat Australia 276 & 112 (Steve Smith 28; R Ashwin 6-41) by 75 runs.