England's Ian Bell (right) looks bemused as he is controversially given out last ball before tea, a decision which was later reversed during the second npower test match at Trent Bridge yesterday. Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

How one England cricketer was out... and then not out

You wouldn’t see this in Croke Park – but was India’s captain right to invite Ian Bell back into the fray?

YESTERDAY, ENGLAND BATSMAN Ian Bell was granted an extraordinary reprieve at Trent Bridge.

Bell was run out from the last ball before tea on the third day of the second Test against India. Here’s what went down – and what it means for the ‘spirit of cricket’:

  • Irishman Eoin Morgan clipped the last ball before tea from Ishant Sharma to the square-leg boundary where Praveen Kumar completes an awkward piece of fielding. He hesitates before returning the ball to the middle.
  • Bell completes a third run and touches his bat down inside the crease. He then jogs towards his team-mate Morgan believing the ball has gone for four and is therefore dead. That would bring about the tea-time interval.
  • Morgan holds up a hand in warning to Bell but he continues and bumps gloves with Morgan.
  • India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni tosses the ball to Abhinav Mukund, who breaks the stumps at the striker’s end. Bell remains out of his ground, closer than Morgan to the striker’s end stumps, and thus stands to be dismissed, run out.
  • Bell is shocked and says: “He called over”. Had the umpire done so the ball would indeed be dead but TV replays failed to back Bell’s claim.
  • The third umpire confirms the dismissal before India players are asked if they wish to uphold the appeal. The verdict is displayed on Trent Bridge’s big screen to boos from angry England fans.
  • After the tea break however, Bell surprisingly re-emerges alongside Morgan, to a massive reception.
  • It is reported that England coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss visited the India dressing room during the tea interval to ask them to retract the appeal, which Dhoni agreed to do after consulting with his team. Sky sports reported that India players said ‘they felt bad’ about the incident.

This morning, former England skipper Michael Atherton says that the decision impinges on the ‘spirit of cricket’ however.

“Dhoni will be congratulated for his sportsmanship… but he would have been well within his rights not to have withdrawn the appeal regardless of the unpopularity and possible ramifications that would have inevitably followed,” he wrote in the Times of London (subscription required).

Does any of that make sense? Watch for yourself below: