Visakhapatnam: English openers took Indian bowlers by surprise on a misbehaving wicket on Day 4 of the Visakhapatnam Test, as they came in to bat with a clear intent of saving the match instead of attempting to chase down an impossible looking 405-run target. Skipper Alastair Cook (54 off 188) and young Haseeb Hameed (25 off 144) didn’t even offer a defence to the balls away from the stumps and batted for 302 balls for 75 runs before their partnership was finally broken by Ravichandran Ashwin by sending the 19-year-old Hameed back to pavilion.
Despite India managed to claim two late wickets to again put England under pressure at 87/2 with both openers back to pavilion, Indian team’s intelligence in using the DRS facility is again being questioned as the Virat Kohli-led team used both their referrals fruitlessly in consecutive overs. Cheteshwar Pujara, however, strongly believes that team India’s calls to review the umpires’ decisions were absolutely correct as they were very close ones.
“From my point of view, these were the correct calls (to go for DRS) as we wanted a breakthrough. On both occasions, the boys close to the stumps felt they were really close ones and we decided to go for the DRS. I personally think that it was right to go for the referral as if the decisions would have been in our favour, we could have got two more wickets, you never know,” said Pujara after the end of fourth day of play at Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
“We have a clear vision about DRS. Before its implementation, we sat together and discussed how are we going to take calls while going for a review. We have decided to go for the review only after discussing with the players close to the wicket as a fielding unit and with the non-striker batsman while batting,” added the Mr. Dependable of India’s Test batting.
Pujara, who has slammed three hundreds in back to back Tests, feels it is not going to be easy for English batsmen to play complete 90 overs on a wicket which is already showing uneven bounce. England still needs 318 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand. To their relief, Joe Root (5) is still batting at the crease who will have to play an extraordinary innings to save the Test for England.