England captain Joe Root urged umpires to be more consistent with decisions after a tough opening day of the crucial day-night third Test against India.
The tourists were bowled out for 112 after electing to bat first at the world’s biggest stadium in Ahmedabad with Indian spinner Axar Patel taking six wickets. India ended the day on 3/99.
But there were two calls by TV umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin that left England fuming and Root had a long conversation with the on-field umpire on both occasions.
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Root was overheard on the stump microphones telling the on-field officials “all we want is consistency”.
“The England captain and head coach (Chris Silverwood) spoke with the match referee (India’s Javagal Srinath) after play,” said an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman.
“The captain and head coach acknowledged the challenges the umpires faced and asked respectfully that in making any decisions there was consistency in the process. The match referee said the captain was asking the right questions of the umpires.”
Shubman Gill survived after Ben Stokes took his catch at second slip which the TV umpire turned down quickly with replays suggesting the ball had been grassed. Much of the uproar over this decision was the perception the third umpire only looked at one replay before quickly making the final decision, after the on-field umpire gave a soft signal of “out”.
Later in the day Rohit Sharma’s stumping was adjudged not out after the batsman’s back foot was in the air in one frame and grounded in another when wicketkeeper Ben Foakes took off the bails.
He was on 53 and remained unbeaten on 57 at stumps.
Zak Crawley, who top-scored for England with 53, said the decisions left them frustrated.
“It’s very frustrating. We’re behind the game and we need those little 50-50s to go our way. It seemed like none of them went our way today,” he said.
“When we batted Jack (Leach) had one where it didn’t quite carry and it seemed like they looked at it from five or six different angles. When we were fielding it seemed like they looked at it from one angle. That’s where the frustrations lie.”
England won the first of the four Tests convincingly only to lose the next with India levelling the series at 1-1.
Patel linked up with Ravichandran Ashwin, who took three wickets, while fast bowler Ishant Sharma, playing his 100th Test, claimed one.
Root (17), Foakes (12) and Jofra Archer (11) were the only others to get into double figures apart from Crawley, who returned to the top of the order after recovering from a wrist injury.
Johnny Bairstow was also back in the team at No. 3 but fell for a duck after opting for a horrible review when given out LBW to Patel. He indicated the ball was sliding down the leg side but replays showed it clattering into the stumps.
Crawley said England’s batsmen had let down their bowlers.
“I don’t think it will require a miracle actually,” he added, however, on the prospects of an England fightback.
“Things will have to go our way, we are going to have to play extremely well but we are very capable.”
Crawley predicted that the pitch will continue to break up which could help England’s bowlers.
“If we bat well in the third innings and put a bit of pressure on them we can defend anything if the pitch continues to get worse,” he said.
England hit back with two wickets after Jofra Archer sent back Gill for 11 and Cheteshwar Pujara fell for a duck off Leach. But Sharma stood firm for his 12th Test fifty and put on 64 runs with Virat Kohli, delighting the crowd at India’s revamped venue with a capacity of 110,000 fans.
Kohli was bowled by spinner Jack Leach for 27 late in the day.