Smith’s error not a brain fade, says Kohli

In a match which at times threatened to match the levels of notoriety seen in the India-Australia Test match in 2008 in Sydney, Steve Smith's dismissal proved to the biggest flashpoint.

Virat Kohli wasn’t happy with Steve Smith’s injudiciousness on Tuesday.   -  Reuters

 

Steve Smith called it a “brain fade.” Virat Kohli just stopped short of calling it outright “cheating.” In a match which at times threatened to match the levels of notoriety seen in the India-Australia Test match in 2008 in Sydney, where India's then captain Anil Kumble famously said, “Only one team was playing with the spirit of the game,” Smith's dismissal proved to the biggest flashpoint.

Read: Ashwin rips apart Australia; India levels series

Chasing 188, Australia was 74 for 3 when the Australia skipper was struck on the pads by Umesh Yadav and was given out by umpire Nigel Llong. After a discussion with non-striker Peter Handscomb, Smith looked towards the Australian dressing room for inputs before deciding whether to review or not. Immediately Llong walked down to remonstrate with Smith. Kohli too rushed over but was asked to move away.

Read: Kohli’s DRS nightmare continues

“I saw that happening two times when I was batting,” said Kohli later. “I pointed out to the umpire as well that I’ve seen their players looking upstairs for confirmation. We told match referee also that they’ve been doing that for the last three days and this had to stop. That’s why the umpire was at him. When he turned back the umpire knew exactly what was going on.”

After Llong's intervention, Smith walked and even in the event of him not doing so, he would probably have been denied the chance to review, for, according to the DRS rulebook, “If the umpires believe that the captain or batsman has received direct or indirect input emanating other than from the players on the field, then they may at their discretion decline the request for the Player Review. In particular, signals from the dressing room must not be given.”

‘There’s a line that you don’t cross’

“I was looking at our boys,” admitted Smith. “So shouldn't have done that. A bit of brain fade. I got hit on the pad and looked down to Handscomb and he said look out there. Then I just turned around and said what do you reckon? Shouldn't have done that.”

Even as Smith said that it was the only such instance, Kohli would have none of the explanation. “Honestly, if someone makes a mistake while batting, for me personally, that's a brain fade,” he said. “The way I left the ball in Pune, you know, getting hit on the off stump. That was a brain fade. But if something is going on for three days, then that's not a brain fade, as simple as that.”

“There’s a line that you don’t cross on the cricket field,” Kohli added. “Because sledging and playing against the opponents is different, but… I don’t want to mention the word, but it falls in that bracket. I would never do something like that on the cricket field.”

Was that word “cheating,” he was asked by an Australian scribe. “I didn’t say that. You did,” Kohli retorted. The official BCCI twitter handle too, for the second day running, waded in, asking if DRS meant “Dressing room review system?”

Match referee Chris Broad, reportedly told The Daily Telegraph after play that the only time the umpires were aware of Australians looking up to the dressing room was the Smith incident. Kohli, on the contrary, had said that he had seen the Australians doing it at least twice before that.

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