During the fifth Ashes Test, Indian umpire Nitin Menon made a call that surprised the entire stadium, particularly during Steve Smith’s innings. The second day of the Test match witnessed an intense battle, with Australia strategically countering England’s attack and securing a slim 12-run lead. Notably, it was a resilient lower-order effort that pushed Australia beyond England’s total, and the key figure behind it was the talismanic batter, Steve Smith.
Smith’s partnership with captain Pat Cummins for the eighth wicket added 54 runs off 103 balls, proving to be Australia’s best of the innings. However, an intriguing moment arose during this stand when Smith appeared to have run himself out with only 10 runs added to the partnership.
The situation unfolded when Smith tapped the ball from Chris Woakes to midwicket on the third ball of the 78th over and attempted a challenging second run. A swift and precise throw by substitute fielder George Ealham reached wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, and upon the initial replay, it seemed that Smith was well short of his crease. He even started walking away, and both England players and supporters began celebrating what looked like an inevitable dismissal.
However, the third umpire, Nitin Menon, reviewed multiple replays and determined that, at the moment the bails were dislodged from the stumps, Smith’s bat had crossed the crease. Menon’s decision led to boos from a majority of the crowd at The Oval, while Australian fans rejoiced. Throughout the rest of the day’s play, the commentators debated the decision, eventually acknowledging the accuracy of Menon’s call. Social media also reflected this sentiment, as opinions shifted from initial mockery to appreciation for Menon’s sharp judgment.
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In fact, even star India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin weighed in on the matter, sharing his verdict on the controversial decision made by Umpire Menon during the thrilling fifth Ashes Test.