India vs Australia 2017, 2nd ODI: Virat Kohli denied a boundary as freakish towel drop leads to dead ball
Even as India were looking to set a formidable total for the visiting Australian team in the second ODI at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata, a freakish incident denied them four vital runs. The event occurred in the 34th over of the innings when a rampaging Virat Kohli was batting on 81.
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar began his ninth over with a well-flighted delivery that was manoeuvred through the mid-wicket region for a couple of runs. His next one was a juicy good-length delivery in the vicinity of off-stump. After his eyes had lit up, Kohli played a delicate late cut to beat a sprawling Marcus Stoinis at short third man. Such was the timing on the shot that the ball crossed the boundary rope despite a valiant dive from the Australian fielder.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the batsman, the umpire had signalled a dead ball long before the events were set in motion. Upon noticing that Agar's blue towel had dropped to the turf from the back of his trouser, umpire Anil Chaudhary quickly made the signal.
But Kohli's eyes were fixated on the bowler's arm and he did not notice the umpire's signal of crossing and uncrossing the arms in front of the body. When the ball sped away to the ropes, the right-hander thought that he had accumulated another boundary. After the umpire repeated the signal, he soon realised that the ball was dead and proceeded to sport a wry smile on his face.
At the other end, Agar had a wily grin on his face as the boundary did not count. Australia certainly did not complain as they have four fewer runs to score when they come out to bat later in the evening.
Needless to say, the ball did not count and Agar had the opportunity to bowl again. When the second delivery of the over was bowled again, Kohli could not score off it this time around. But Jadhav ensured that India had the last laugh by plundering consecutive boundaries off the last two deliveries of the over.
A few overs later, Kohli chopped on to his stumps when confronted with Nathan Coulter-Nile's tight line and narrowly missed out on his 31st ODI century (which would have helped him overtake the legendary Ricky Ponting and slot in to second on the all-time list).
What do the rules exactly state?
According to Law 23.4 of MCC's playing regulations, the ball is dead when:
(vi) the striker is distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while he is preparing to receive, or receiving a delivery. This shall apply whether the source of the distraction is within the game or outside it.The ball shall not count as one of the over.
(vii) there is an instance of a deliberate attempt to distract under either of Laws 42.4 (Deliberate attempt to distract striker) or 42.5 (Deliberate distraction or obstruction of batsman). The ball shall not count as one of the over.
(viii) the bowler drops the ball accidentally before delivery.