Gros-Islet, Saint Lucia: An apparent ball-tampering controversy threatened play on the third day of the second Test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka yesterday with only an hour’s play possible on a bright, sunny morning after the Sri Lankans initially refused to take the field.
Following concerns raised by umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould about the condition of the ball nearing the end of the second day, the Sri Lankans were advised before the start of play yesterday that they could not continue with the existing ball.
This resulted in Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal declining to lead his team onto the field with the West Indies set to continue their innings at 118 for two in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 253.
Animated discussions then ensued involving match referee Javagal Srinath and the Sri Lankan pair of coach Chandika Hathurusingha and team manager Asanka Gurusinha and it appeared for some time that the day’s play at least and possibly the rest of the match might be in doubt.
However it was after these deliberations that the Sri Lankans agreed to the change of ball and to continue playing although it is understood that they will be contesting the ball-tampering charge.
Five penalty runs were added to the West Indies total. After initially appearing to be prepared to resume the match, the Sri Lankan cricketers then hesitated even as they were making their way out to the middle.
Further discussions ensued which brought Srinath onto the field while the West Indies contingent, headed by team manager Rawl Lewis, coach Stuart Law and captain Jason Holder, appeared bemused by the entire situation and sought clarification from the match referee.
Unconfirmed reports coming out from these deliberations suggest that the Sri Lankans were reluctant to continue the match under the cloud of suspicion of ball-tampering.