When Indian team turned from villains to heroes

July 31st, 2011 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Nottingham, July 31 (IANS) They were the villains of the piece on a day of high drama and suspense Sunday, but within minutes the Indian team and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned heroes for the packed crowds at Trent Bridge who gave the visitors a standing ovation.

The crowd booed the Indian team as they took the ground for the post-tea session. But the boos gave way to a round of applause when they saw centurion Ian Bell, who was adjudged run out at the stroke of tea in a bizarre way, walking out with Eoin Morgan to bat. The crowd cheered the Indian team and gave a standing ovation after they withdrew the run-out appeal.

England had entered tea 254/4 but resumed the last session at 254/3.

At the last ball before the tea, Morgan flicked Ishant Sharma to deep square, where Praveen Kumar lunged to save the ball at the boundary rope. The fielder thought it was a four and so did the England batsmen. But it wasn’t.

Bell, who was leading England’s charge and batting at 137, casually left his crease thinking the ball had crossed the boundary and it was tea time. The ball was still in play and the umpires had not called tea.

The throw came back and the Indian fielders took off the bails and appealed for a run out, much to the shock of English batsmen.

The field umpires after deliberation referred it to third umpire Billy Bowden, who after seeing that it was not a boundary, ruled in favour of India.

The mood in the England dressing room turned dark and sour as a bewildered Bell, clueless over his dismissal, and Morgan walked to the pavilion.

The scoreboard showed Bell was out.

But there was a twist in the tale.

As per the book, the two umpires during the tea break gave the Indian captain a chance to withdraw his appeal against Bell. Dhoni showed sportsman spirit and called Bell back to the crease.

However, the crowd unmindful of what conspired in those 15 minutes, booed the Indian team when they walked in.

It did not help that England players, who by then must have known about Dhoni’s decision, still looked discontent.

The commentators had begun to discuss what this controversy could mean for the series as Indian players gathered for the huddle.

To everyone’s surprise, Bell walked in with Morgan and the crowd was stunned for a few seconds before roaring in delight.

“According to the rules, the ball was in play and he should not be walking off the field. You can’t be getting off the park like that,” Ravi Shastri said.

“Full marks to Dhoni for calling Bell back,” he added on seeing Bell coming into bat.

–Indo-Asian News service

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