I hate talking about umpires. The umpire should never be the man in focus during a test, however, that's exactly what's happened in Chennai.
First, let me just say that India have been dominant. It was a pleasure to watch Ashwin navigate this tricky wicket on his way to a century, his patience, shot selection and technique were outstanding. Hopefully, a few of the English lads were up on the balcony focusing in on how India's #8 did it.
It's also been a pleasure to watch the Indian spinners use the wicket to their advantage, Axar Patel looks like he's never been away, despite a three-year absence from the test arena. England struggled to both read and play his spin and it's been enjoyable to watch his return.
The toss was key on a pitch that was turning a couple of hours into the first session, the Indian batsmen got the best of the conditions, but they've performed where England have failed. Our batsmen have played poor shots and our spinners have failed to get the same kick out of the pitch, I believe on a pitch like this, India would have always come out on top.
However, this test match has been clouded by the performance or more accurately the under-performance of the home officiating crew. Now I'm not going to scream bias here, I'm just going to say it's pure negligence, which brings into question if this crew is good enough to officiate at the highest level.
3rd umpire Anil Chaudhary has been under the microscope more than most. After failing to use multiple angles to check a stumping, he failed to see an entire review through to completion, which would have resulted in an Indian dismissal. He rightfully returned England's review to them, but that's not the point. Not only did he get the decision wrong, we're all fallible, he actually got the process wrong, which at international level is unacceptable.
Chaudhary is not an experienced umpire, in fact the first test between England and India was his first on-field test appearance and it shows in his haste to make a decision rather than taking his time and using the technology that is available to him. It seems he wants to make a quick decision and not a correct one, perhaps letting his inexperience cloud his judgement.
Chaudhary is not the only culprit however. The on-field umpire decided that Rohit Sharma was playing a shot to a big LBW appeal yesterday, which was one of the strangest decisions I've seen. Rohit even seemed surprised that the umpire had outlined he was playing a shot, the Indian opener hid his bat behind his pad, in no position to make an attempt to play the ball. Ball-tracking showed that it would have gone on to hit the stumps, which only added to England's frustrations.
It's one thing to miss a feathered edge or a 50/50 catch that is millimetres above the ground. We all make mistakes on occasions. It's an entirely different thing to not go through the standard process and not use the technology that's available. The technology isn't perfect, Joe Root survived an LBW on umpires decision late on day 3 which made very little sense to those of us watching on TV. The ball seemed to clearly hit him inside the line of off-stump, maybe a review of DRS is needed.
However, DRS was not to blame for the umpires mistakes in the instances outlined above. This, is simply not good enough and the ICC should look into the match officials, not because of bias, not because they're home umpires, but because they've failed in their responsibilities and have underperformed.