Monday, August 01, 2011

Cricket in heaven; the triumph of Spirit over Law.

So England easily beat India at the cricket to take 2-0 lead in the test series. The match was chiefly memorable for an unusual incident just before the tea-break on the third day. Ewan Morgan had just whacked the last ball before tea to the boundary fence and the batsmen had run three. Kumar the Indian fieldsman made an heroic effort to save the boundary, but everybody thought he had failed and the ball had run over the boundary to become 'dead'. He threw in the ball to the wicket keeper very nonchalantly and Ian Bell the England batsman who had scored 137 not out began to stroll towards the pavilion for his cup of tea and cucumber sandwich.

However, Mukand the Indian fielder thought that he wasn't sure that the ball had run 'dead' and took off the bails with the ball in hand and then appealed for Bell to be given out, 'run out'. The umpires called for a TV replay and sure enough the ball had been still 'live' and strictly obeying the Laws of the game, they gave Bell out.

This incensed the crowd, since it seemed like gamesmanship. The Indians couldn't get Bell out and so had undertaken a subterfuge to pretend that the ball had gone dead when it was still alive. Of course, there was nothing intentional about it and Bell should have stayed in his crease until the umpires had indicated that the tea break had begun, but everyone's body language, including that of at least one umpire was giving that impression.

In the end, better spirits triumphed and the appeal was withdrawn so Bell could resume his innings after tea. In real life it didn't matter. Bell only scored another 22 runs before he was out, caught in the slips, and the margin of the England victory was over 370, but it did restore a good relationship between the two teams and most spectators are happy that the Spirit has overcome the Law. Which is why they say that cricket will be the only game played in heaven.

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