Ganguly runs into trouble with umpires before declaration
By S S Ramaswamy
Ahmedabad, October 9, 2003
Sourav Ganguly’s penchant for getting into trouble with the match officials came to the fore once again when he was denied two legitimate runs for transgressing the law on ‘Unfair Play’.
The Indian captain, who was gloriously stroking the ball to all parts of the field to put the New Zealand bowling to the sword with his deputy Rahul Dravid, was issued two warnings by the umpires officiating the first Test between the two teams here for running on the danger area of the pitch.
After being warned first by umpire David Shepherd before tea for what the umpire constituted as ‘damaging the pitch’, the Indian skipper – who seemed to be in glorious touch in the latter part of his innings – was warned for the same transgression of the law by umpire Rudi Koertzen when he square cut left arm spinner Daneil Vettori and scampered off for two runs in the company of Parthiv Patel in the third session of play.
The second warning robbed the Indian captain and his team of the two runs because as per the recent revised laws a second warning will result in the runs taken being denied to the batting team.
The relevant portion says: If a batsman damages the protected area (5 feet from the popping crease and one foot on either side of the line joining the two center stumps) it is deemed to be unfair play. All runs scored off that delivery will be disallowed.
A third offence would have invited a further punishment in the form of five penalty runs to the opposition. Before things could reach to that end the Indian captain, who had been suspended for a match each on three occasions in the past for bad behaviour by match referees in the past, completed his tenth Test hundred in his 68th appearance and then applied the closure with his team’s first innings total reading an imposing 500 for 5.
Ganguly’s unbeaten knock of 100 took him over four hours to compile and he struck eight fours and three sixes while facing 387 balls.
Parthiv Patel was the other not out batsman when the Indian captain declared the innings closed and had brought the stadium roof down with a flurry of three fours in one over from the big built Jacob Oram, two to the extra cover region and once – a nonchalant flick over the infield – to the long on fence. Patel made 29 not out off only 24 balls with five fours to his credit.
The Indian edifice had been mainly built around Rahul Dravid’s masterly career-best innings of 222, that took him all of nine and a half hours to compose and included as many as 28 fours and a six, Ganguly’s well-paced and compiled 100 not out, Venkatasai Laxman’s pleasing knock of 64, and the two century stands that Dravid was involved in – with Laxman for the fourth and Ganguly for the fifth.
Dravid was finally out soon after tea when he poked at a wide ball leaving him and edged Oram to 'keeper Mathew Hart. It was his career-best effort, eclipsing the 217 made at the Oval against England earlier this year, and was also the third double century of his 70-Test career.