Controversy has delayed the start to the third day’s play between Sri Lanka and West Indies at St. Lucia, and raised the possibility of a Test match being forfeited for just the second time in history before play finally got underway.
The situation started before the scheduled start of play, as it emerged that the umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar had concluded that the condition of the ball had been changed by the fielding Sri Lankans, and as such awarded the West Indies five penalty runs and allowed them to choose a replacement ball.
Though no official reason for the delay has been forthcoming, from the heated discussions shown on television cameras between Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha, captain Dinesh Chandimal and team manager Asanka Gurusinha with match referee Javagal Srinath, it would appear the touring side are unhappy with the decision.
At one stage, after about an hour of delay, play had been set to get underway before Dinesh Chandimal led his team off the pitch.
Under Law 16.3.12 of the MCC Laws of cricket, “a match shall be lost by a side which in the opinion of the umpires refuses to play. If so, the umpires shall award the match to the other side”, but this eventuality has not yet transpired.
There are bound to be many more details to emerge, but this incident will surely re-ignite the debate surrounding the issue of ball-tampering, whether it should be allowed, and what the punishments should be for doing so, especially coming so soon after the incident which led to Australian captain Steve Smith and opening pair David Warner and Cameron Bancroft receiving lengthy bans.
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