CAPE TOWN: The Indian cricketers came under fire after they reacted with dismay and anger when a decision against South African captain Dean Elgar was overturned on review at a crucial stage.
Television viewers heard several Indian players complaining within range of the stump microphone after what seemed a straightforward leg before wicket decision was reversed during the third day of the Cape Town Test.
A still picture of the moment of impact showed the ball from off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin hitting Elgar below the knee roll of his front pad, in line with the stumps.
He had, however, pushed forward and was well outside the batting crease. The ball-tracking technology showed it was bouncing just above the stumps.
Commenting on the Indian team’s reaction, former Proteas pacer Morne Morkel felt that they should have kept their "emotions in control".
"I think it's very important, you know when you want to win the series, to keep your emotions in control. It's obviously not great to see, you know obviously there are a lot of young people watching the Test match and series," he was quoted as saying on Star Sports.
Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra also lashed out at the Men In Blue and said that shouting over the stump mic could "come back to bite" India.
"There are perils of bumping up the stump mic. You are breaking down the fourth wall, sounds very good but sometimes it comes back to bite you. Because, you have the right to voice your dissent but is that the right manner? I'm not 100 per cent certain because as Morne said there are lots and lots of kids watching this game and they may actually form an opinion about this game, DRS, umpires", he said.
He reminded the Indian players that in this game, umpires are sacrosanct and that's why they are umpires and not referees.
After the DRS fiasco, Virat Kohli went up to the stump microphone at the end of the over and reportedly shouted: "Focus on your team while they shine the ball. Not just the opposition. Trying to catch the opposition all the time."
The relevance to the decision was not obvious but Kohli was probably referring to the "Sandpapergate" controversy when host broadcaster SuperSport’s cameras caught Australia’s Cameron Bancroft using sandpaper on the ball during a Test at Newlands in 2018.
Indian vice-captain KL Rahul and Ashwin both appeared to accuse SuperSport of influencing the ball-tracking device.
Rahul was heard to say, "The whole country is playing against 11 guys."
Ashwin, who had celebrated what he thought was a vital breakthrough, said, "You should find better ways to win, SuperSport."
Elgar, star of South Africa’s successful run chase in the second Test, was on 22 and the total was 60 for one when the incident happened with South Africa chasing a target of 212 runs to win the match and the series.
Elgar added only eight more runs before he was out - also after a successful review, this time by India after he had been given not out for a catch by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant - in the last over of the day.
But the total had advanced by 41 more runs, leaving South Africa almost halfway to the target on 101 for two, 111 runs short of victory.
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