AS MARTIN Guptill prepared to face the first ball of New Zealand’s innings, the scoreboard showed that the visitors were already off the mark. It read 5/0. The penalty runs had of course come the way of the Kiwis after Ravindra Jadeja was found guilty of running twice down the middle of the pitch during his brief innings on Sunday. Umpire Bruce Oxenford had already given the Indian left-hander a warning previously and as the MCC constitution opines, the visiting team was awarded five ‘extra’ runs.
Interestingly, Jadeja had been asked by umpire Rod Tucker during the Kolkata Test on a few occasions for running across the ‘danger area’ on the pitch whenever he launched himself into loud appeals while bowling. He had also then received an official warning from the Australian official. New Zealand coach Mike Hesson though chose to deal with a question over whether the ‘five-run penalty’ was a harsh enough penalty with a straight bat. “In countries where the wickets deteriorate like this, the umpires have to be very decisive around how the look after the middle of the wicket. There are rules in place and the need to stick to those,” he said suppressing a smirk.
He did, however, hint at his worries over the nature of the pitch from hereon—especially with his batsmen now expected to bat out a majority of the remaining three days to save the Test—and hoped that vital parts of the surface don’t deteriorate to any alarming extent. “Surface still pretty good, fair to say footmarks building as they tend to do, but body of surface is good,” he said.