India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 4th day December 16, 2012

Series finally gains an edge

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the fourth day in Nagpur

Heated moment of the day
For the first time in the series, there was some confrontation after Jonathan Trott, on 43 with the total 123 for 3, played and missed attempting a cut off the bowling of Ishant Sharma. MS Dhoni, behind the stumps, went up for the catch immediately with Sharma soon joining in. But, after Kumar Dharmasena made it clear that he thought there had been no edge, several players - notably Dhoni and Virat Kohli - gathered round Trott and the umpire to make their displeasure known. Trott did nothing to appease Sharma by appearing to blow a kiss at him next ball. The arguing carried on for a couple of overs until a drinks break calmed tempers.

Subsequent replays and the use of Snicko suggest that Dharmasena's decision was correct but it was another example where the use of DRS may have quickly resolved the dispute. It is also somewhat ironic to note that one of the reasons the BCCI have resisted the use of DRS is because they feel it questions the authority of the umpires.

Error of the day
It would be a shame if a series that has lasted over a month and seen fine performances from individuals on both sides were to be defined by poor umpiring decisions. But, for the second time in the match, umpire Dharmasena gave Alastair Cook out incorrectly. This time Cook missed a delivery from R Ashwin by some distance but the umpire, perhaps mistaking the noise of Cook's bat hitting the ground for an outside edge, raised his finger.

Some will point that such moments are all part of the fluctuations of fate that must be accepted and that Cheteshwar Pujara was also dismissed by an umpiring error. But the fact remains that such errors could be easily be avoided with the introduction of the DRS. It is surely absurd that television audiences around the world have access to technology that umpires do not. The decision also renewed one of the great mysteries of cricket: how on earth was Dharmasena rated No.1 umpire by the ICC this year?

Decision of the day
This was not a day of bold decisions. Runs came painfully slowly for both sides and, with little in the pitch for the bowlers, the game descended into a battle of attrition. India were unable to make the progress they would have liked in the first hour - they scored 29 in just over an hour - but Dhoni did attempt to force the pace a little by declaring with his side still four runs behind. While it was a tactic that made sense in the context of the match - with five-and-a-half sessions left India needed time to bowl England out.

But it is worth noting that only two sides in the history of Test cricket have declared their first innings behind their opponents and gone on to win the game. Both matches took place in Barbados, the first in 1935, when England declared 21 behind West Indies' first innings total of just 102 but still went on to win by four wickets, with the second occasion coming in April of this year, when Australia won by three wickets despite declaring 43 behind on first innings.

Boundary of the Day
Bearing in mind the torturous rate of scoring - there were only three boundaries off the bat in the first 50 overs of the day and one of those was an edge - it was understandable that Trott's eyes should light up when presented with an unusually poor ball from Ravindra Jadeja. After the bowler lost control as he released the ball it rolled into the legside and, having been called as a no-ball, came to a halt several yards from Trott in the short-leg region. Seizing upon a rare scoring opportunity, Trott ran towards it and thrashed it to square leg boundary.

Ja-deja vu of the day
When Kevin Pietersen was dropped on two - Virender Sehwag, at slip, slow to react to an edge off the bowling of Jadeja - it appeared that India may have spurned a golden opportunity. They need not have worried: in Jadeja's next over, Pietersen, playing for non-existent turn, left a straight one and was bowled. It was an almost identical dismissal to that of Trott in England's first innings and an episode that will do little to dissuade those who believe Pietersen has a weakness against left-arm slow bowlers. It was reward for some disciplined bowling, though. While Jadeja is not the biggest spinner of a ball, he has good control and varies his pace and his angle of delivery cleverly.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo