And so ends Day 4 of the 1st Test in Chandigarh. So many highs and lows in one day of Test cricket.. 14 wickets falling on the day... but alas, a good proportion of them were down to truly awful umpiring blunders.
This really would have to go down unfortunately as one of the absolute worst displays of umpiring I've seen in over 20 years of cricket watching - so comical were the series of mistakes that the only things missing were Billy Bowden treading a unicycle at the bowler's end, chucking pies in the batsmen's eyes. This was right up (or down) there with the infamous Adelaide Oval Test between Australia and South Africa in 1994 - where blatantly biased home town umpiring conspired to allow Australia to level a series they couldn't bear to lose.
A brief list of obvious howlers that immediately springs to mind:
-Billy "The Clown" Bowden's confusion over Ishant's no ball to dismiss Clarke first ball, holding up play at a totally inappropriate moment to check with the third umpire as he was unable to trust his eyes enough to make a simple call
-Billy later making an even bigger cock up, calling Ishant for another no-ball to deny him a probable LBW dismissal, when it should have been no such no-ball with Ishant's foot actually inches behind the legal line
-Ian Gould's refusal to grant a plumb LBW shout against Simon Katich from Harbhajan.
-Gould's appalling LBW decision against the solid Mr Cricket, Mike Hussey when the ball clearly pitched at least 6 inches outside leg stump. This was the only bad decision to go against Australia however
-And worst of all, Billy giving Gautam Gambhir out in possibly one of the worst made LBW decisions ever seen in televised cricket - the ball in the first over from Hilfenhaus was angled across Gambhir, who took a good stride forward hitting it with bat and pad as the ball struck him outside off stump and angling further away. How on Earth a batsman can be given out LBW to a ball that's missing off stump by so much it would have been safe to leave the ball alone is a bit beyond this blogger! Is Billy on pillies?
Now, clear incompetence is one thing, and it does strike me that these umpires have started to grow accustomed to the admirable new decision review system, which was a brilliant success in eliminating all blatantly wrong decisions - to the point where they are now dependant on it and cannot think for themselves without it. Today's decisions were so desperately poor and numerous that it leads one wondering deplorably into the well trodden recent realm of corruption. With the "Spotfixingate" saga still fresh in our minds, how can we be sure that these match officials are not similarly living in the pockets of the betting crooks in India where this match is being played?
Unfortunate really that such an important Test match should be marred and unduly influenced by the men in white coats whom are not there to entertain. A hark back to the bad old days, before technology were readily available. Why the world's richest cricket administration India doesn't see fit to adopt this technology is of course the million dollar question...
Edit: Let's not forget the ridiculous decision yesterday by the 3rd umpire, when Shane Watson "caught" Dhoni.. as we all know fielders in general, and Australian fielders in particular, usually have no scruples about claiming dubious catches unless they're sure they haven't carried, and Watson's body language told all as he looked anything but optimistic and immediately showed he didn't think it had carried. That didn't stop the joker upstairs from giving it out on evidence showed the ball clearly touching the ground before the hands. Maybe even instant replays are no match for umpire's idiocy.
And so, what was shaping up to be a grand and rousing Test match performance with brilliant bowling by India turned into an unfair flop, with the clearly inferior team helped to an utterly undeserved win by the twats holding the hats.:(
And best of all we'll now have to listen to the uncouth yobbish Aussie players brag about it for months until the Ashes when they're put in their place for good.. bring on the real cricket, please.