India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 3rd day November 25, 2012

England asked for Bairstow reprieve


The Wankhede Test had a tryst with minor controversy when Jonny Bairstow was given out caught at silly point even though the ball had hit Gautam Gambhir's helmet before he completed the catch.

The dismissal came in what turned out to be the last ball before lunch, and everybody - the batsmen and the umpires - walked off satisfied with the dismissal. According to England sources, their director of cricket, Andy Flower, approached the match referee, Roshan Mahanama, to ask for the decision to be reversed. Mahanama informed him that as Bairstow had left the field of play, the decision could only be withdrawn if India's captain, MS Dhoni, withdrew his appeal on the umpires' request. Dhoni, with the support of his coach, Duncan Fletcher, chose not to do so.

The only replays shown before the break were inconclusive, and more importantly unsuspecting. No one had explored the possibility of an unfair catch going into the break. Thirty-five minutes later, replays in the live transmission confirmed the ball had indeed hit the helmet. Law 32 is clear that a catch is not considered fair if the ball hits a fielder's external protective equipment before the catch is completed.

The Law, 32.3 (e), says: "A fielder catches the ball after it has touched an umpire, another fielder or the other batsman. However, it is not a fair catch if the ball has previously touched a protective helmet worn by a fielder. The ball will then remain in play."

At the end of the day's play, Gambhir said he knew the ball had hit the grille before he completed the catch, but he was not completely aware of the Law. "It happened in such a quick time, that by the time I realised it…" he said. "I personally felt when we went into lunch that once it hits your body and then the grille, that's out. Just didn't come straight off the grille. It just happened so quickly that later on I got to know. I haven't had a word with MS that whether we wanted to call him back or not."

This would not have been a big issue but because the new batsman had not yet walked in and there was a 40-minute break in action, there was scope for the officials and captains to get together and correct the decision. However, after lunch, Samit Patel, the new batsman, walked out with Kevin Pietersen. The scenes were reminiscent of Trent Bridge in 2011 when Ian Bell was reinstated during the tea break after being run out, but the outcome here was different.

India do have recent history of calling batsmen back. At Trent Bridge, Bell seemed to have wrongly assumed the last ball before tea had gone for four, and had started to walk off for tea when India ran him out. The umpires ruled Bell out, but England asked India to reconsider their appeal during the tea break. Twenty minutes later, India walked out to the crowd's jeers, which turned into cheers when they realised Bell had been recalled.

In an ODI in Brisbane in February this year, R Ashwin mankaded Sri Lanka middle-order batsman Lahiru Thirimanne after having warned him previously, but when the umpires asked India if they wanted to continue with the appeal, the stand-in captain Virender Sehwag withdrew it. Sehwag later said, "It's soft, but that's the way we are."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kristin on November 27, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    Only thing any of the players involved in ths are guilty of is a bit of naievity. Not the greatest thing for them not to know the rule, but if Bairstow walked then so be it, end of story. Do have to say that I am starting to lose respect for Andy Flower continually running to the match referee when things arent going his way. Toughen up princess, it all levels out, did you by chance pull young Mr Trott aside after his claimed catch in the first test? I think not.

  • Akhtar on November 26, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    ICC should make DRS compulsory for all the teams and bear it's cost also. ICC is a rich body and should do all it can to run the game smoothly. Australia and South Africa are playing with DRS and there are no controversies. Check the reports of the Captains and Managers and you will come to know that series' with DRS run more smoothly than the series without DRS.

  • Andrew on November 26, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    @ pitch_curator on (November 26 2012, 03:49 AM GMT) - no matter of whether you think the Punter "no-catch" was a catch or not, it NEVER bounced!! The ball bouncing was never the issue, it was he caught the ball before it touched the ground. I believe he caught that, but am happy to go with the umpire's decision regarding benefit of the doubt.

  • Kiran on November 26, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    @ Humprey Hollins -- Wasnt Bell aware that you need to complete the run and stay in your crease till the ball becomes dead and the umpire calls over?? Then what was he doing running around like an idiot on the field when the ball was in play? THAT is called cheating because he would have run an overthrow if the ball was not collected cleanly by Dhoni.

  • Vikram on November 26, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    If there is one thing that England could ask, that would be a book on the laws of the game and ask everyone to read it.

  • Manesh on November 26, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Lunge. ha ha ha it is clear that you have hidden agenda against India. Read the last paragraph of this report and comment. India won fir -play award for its acts in the field. And regarding appealing, I just wonder how can you forgot the appealing for every ball from Engalnd bowlers from ball 1!!. Its a pure tactics from England and ICC should ban those players for it. English players think they do not have to obey the rules! what a shame for the gentleman's game!

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge- Seems like you are an expert in Spirit of the Game - especially India. I hope you are referring to the fact that some of the players may be inebriated after consuming alcohol. If however you are referring to the Bairstow decision,

    I am thinking you are a Pommie supporter and & as such you don;t like it. wake up son and get your facts right. Jog your memory to Ian Bell being recalled, Thirimanne being called back, BTW, what about a certain Mr. Trott persisting with his appeal, even after he clearly dropped the ball. If you are looking for an excuse- pls at least give an exciting and original one.

  • Baskar on November 26, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    @Front Foot Lunge

    No reasonable-minded person takes what you say seriously even if you are making a valid point. Such is your bias, bordering on prejudice, that come through your comments.

  • Rahul on November 26, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Flower going to the match referee and asking the reversal of the decision does make sense. What doesnt make sense is match referee instead requesting the umpires to ask MSD to reconsider his appeal. Why should a law maker and a judge be asking the inquirer to withdrew his appeal just because they are not certain of their decision or in fact have erred in making the right decision. This is not fair on MSD. In today's environment when each and every ball, wicket, decision is dissected to the hilt by pundits and fans it puts a lot of pressure on the captains to walk the fine line of morality. Captain is not a dictator or president who should have power to overrule the decisions made by the highest bodies.

  • Rajit on November 26, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    @ Foot-Foot-Lunge and Death Knell. Did you see what Trott did in Ahmedabad? And what happened to Bell last year? Let the on field umpires decide, and stop this whining.

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