KOLKATA: It has been more than eight months since that fateful day in Bengaluru. Steve Smith, struck on the shin by Umesh Yadav, had a brain fade and looked up at the dressing room before trying to refer a decision to the Decision Review System (DRS).
It sparked a wave of controversy as the rest of the series was played out under spiteful conditions. Sunday witnessed the spirit of Smith living on at the Eden Gardens.
Sri Lanka all-rounder Dilruwan Perera was batting on 0 off 7 balls in the 57th over. Mohammed Shami’s in-swinger beat his forward defence and hit him on the back pad. Umpire Nigel Llong upheld an lbw appeal and Dilruwan started walking towards the dressing room. After a few steps, he turned around and asked for a review.
Replays showed the ball had struck Dilruwan’s pad outside the line of off-stump and Llong had to change his decision. Speculation circulated that Dilruwan had received some sort of signal from the dressing room to turn back and ask for the review.
The Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) board sent out a release after the day’s play, supporting their cricketers. “Contrary to the assumptions made, there was no ‘message from the dressing room’ involved in the requested review.
“Having mistakenly assumed that Sri Lanka were out of reviews, Dilruwan Perera had turned to leave the field when he heard Rangana Herath inquire from the on-field umpire Nigel Llong if Sri Lanka have any reviews left, to which Mr Llong answered in the affirmative. It was then that Dilruwan requested the review.”
Herath, who was at the non-striker’s end at that time, defended his partner. “I asked umpire Nigel Llong whether we had any reviews left, maybe Dilruwan also heard that and after that he asked for it. I did not call him back. I was asking for a review, that’s all,” the 39-year-old said.
Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar played down the incident, saying, “That’s something I can’t speak on, because that should come out from the officials, and we haven’t heard anything from the officials.”
This incident highlights that the ambiguity surrounding the rule needs to be cleared, to prevent further such episodes.