India vs England: How Joe Root's lbw dismissal after DRS decision caused confusion in fourth Test

February 25, 2024

Joe Root's lbw dismissal caused confusion and controversy during the third day of the fourth Test against India, leading to fresh questions over the DRS system.

Root and Zak Crawley helped the tourists recover from losing Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope in successive deliveries to increase their first-innings lead on Sunday morning, with the pair putting on 46 for the third wicket before the Yorkshireman was rapped on the pads.

Ravichandran Ashwin's delivery initially appeared to pitch outside of leg stump and was given not out by the umpire, only for India to review successfully and claim the key wicket of England's unbeaten centurion from the previous innings.

India's review by captain Rohit Sharma returned three reds and saw Root dismissed for 11, with ball-tracking showing that the ball pitched fractionally inside the line of the stumps.

The decision caused scepticism on social media and from the batter himself about the result that the technology returned, with Root seen looking frustrated and questioning the call on his return to the changing room.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was among those baffled by the decision, writing on X - before later deleting his post: "That looked a shocker for the technology. More than half the ball was outside leg stump, yet it came up red! Hawkeye is having an average series."

Vaughan's view was backed up by former England fast-bowler Steve Harmison, who said on talkSPORT: "It didn't look right. For me, the angle that it's gone with, for it to hit the stumps you'd have said it'd hit middle-and-off, not leg-stump.

"From the naked eye, it just didn't look right. From where the technology said the ball hit the stumps, from the angle Ashwin is bowling at I just don't see how the ball can hit the stumps from that point from where it's pitched."

Was the correct decision made?

For a ball to be given out lbw, it has to be inside the line of the stumps, with the ball tracker then using where the centre of the ball is projected to go to make its decision.

The middle of the ball - or at least 50 per cent of it - has to be pitching on the line of a stumps for it to be given out, with the technology assessing that Ashwin's delivery was fractionally inside the required mark of a wicket.

Former England bowler Steven Finn, speaking on TNT Sports, explained: "From the naked eye, when you're watching the delivery, you think that pitched outside leg and all your cricketing intuition sort of kicks in, and it's like it can't have pitched in line with the stumps and ended up where it did.

"There's no umpires call on where the ball pitches so, when the projection comes through and the DRS has pulled its numbers into his computer on the initial contact with the pitch, there's no contention about where that has pitched as a result of the technology.

"Where that ball pitches, according to the technology that is meant to be very accurate, they're saying that what it looks like is 51 per cent of that ball is pitching within the outside line of the stump and therefore it's out."

England crumbled from 110-3 to 145 all out, having earlier let India add 130 for their last three wickets, with the hosts closing on 40-0 to leave them requiring 152 more runs for a victory and unassailable 3-1 lead in the series.

Follow text commentary of day four of the fourth Test between India and England live on and the Sky Sports App from 3.45am on Monday (4am first ball).

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