England v India Test - Men's

Former players back Root catch decision

England captain seemingly at odds with call on his dismissal, but ex-Test stars largely side with umpires' call

Louis Cameron

20 August 2018, 10:47 AM

Joe Root was visibly upset at the contentious decision on his dismissal at Trent Bridge on Sunday, but a number of former Test players backed the call to send the England captain packing.

The hosts spectacularly lost their grip on the third Test after being bowled out by India in a session, with Root the fourth victim in a collapse of 9-74 on day two of the third Test.

Having fended at a back-of-a-length delivery from Hardik Pandya (5-28 off six overs), the England skipper walked off shaking his head after being given out to a low KL Rahul catch at second slip.

Umpire Marais Erasmus gave a 'soft signal' of out after consulting with his on-field counterpart Chris Gaffaney. Third umpire Aleem Dar concurred, with video replays providing no conclusive evidence to suggest the on-field decision was incorrect.

KL Rahul's low catch off Joe Root // Fox Cricket
KL Rahul's low catch off Joe Root // Fox Cricket

Despite major advancements in broadcast technology in recent years, catching attempts where a fielder's fingers are touching the grass upon contact with the ball remain arguably the hardest decisions for officials to adjudicate.

Umpires must allow for the fact that zoomed-in replays are only a two-dimension representation of a three-dimensional puzzle, a detail former England batsman Mark Butcher noted in his reasoned interpretation of the contentious Root decision.

"(The) ball travels horizontally, not vertically towards an object that is curved, not flat. Therefore the ball can, and did in this case, bounce off the fingers into the palms. Out!" Butcher tweeted.

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan agreed, suggesting the ball bounced up off Rahul’s finger rather than the turf.

"A lot of controversy over the catch - I thought he was caught. I think it bounces off the finger," he told the BBC.

On commentary for Sky Sports, Test legend Kumar Sangakkar added: "It does look out ... it looked as if the fingers were underneath the ball. You do need conclusive evidence to overturn any signal from the on-field umpires."

The bigger issue for England, Vaughan said, is their propensity to fall in a heap with the bat when put under pressure, having lost all 10 wickets in a single session for the third time in two years.

England lost 10-64 in under two hours against Bangladesh on a turning Dhaka wicket in October 2016 and again folded in record time in Auckland earlier this year as they were dismissed for 58 before lunch on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand, before Sunday’s first-innings crumble in Nottingham.

"Having to fight for a few overs or a session ... England's mindset can't seem to cope with that," said Vaughan. "When it does a bit or when the game is going against them, they find it difficult.

"The top order got a good start today, they were 54 for none, then there were two wickets in two balls and you close the curtains and hide.

"It's been an issue for the Test team for a while now. Yes, they weren't ideal conditions for batting but they made the same mistakes they have made consistently for a number of years. I am learning nothing about the Test team in this series. Absolutely nothing.

"As soon as they are under pressure and there is a little bit there in the pitch they have so much fragility. They have so much talent but the collapses are happening on a regular basis now."

England vice-captain Jos Buttler explained there'd been some "very honest conversations" in the England dressing room.

"We let that slip," said Buttler, who top-scored with a brisk 39. "Rightly, people say it's been happening too often - which it has. Guys have got to improve."