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Sri Lanka captain Chandimal charged for “changing the condition of the ball” against West Indies

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has been charged for breaching Level 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct- “changing the condition of the ball” in the 2nd Test against West Indies.

Issue raised by the umpires is the alleged use of the tape by Dhananjaya when shining the ball during play yesterday.

An apparent ball-tampering controversy threatened play on the third day of the second Test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka on Saturday 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 on Saturday 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 2-118 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.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) confimed that a five-run penalty had been added to the West Indies total.

“The ICC can confirm the match officials in the second Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka changed the ball and awarded 5 penalty runs to West Indies,” the ruling body tweeted.

“If there are any, Code of Conduct charges will follow as per usual at close of play.”

When play eventually resumed, the West Indies progressed from their overnight position without too many alarms until Suranga Lakmal produced an excellent delivery to have Shai Hope caught by Dhananjaya de Silva at slip for 19.

Opening batsman Devon Smith progressed to 60 at lunch in partnership with Roston Chase with the home side at 3-154.

Sri Lanka Cricket later put out a statement saying team management had informed them the players “had not engaged in any wrong doing”.

SLC said the players had been advised to take the field to continue the match “under protest” to uphold the spirit of the game.

Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara, part of Sky Sports’ coverage of the second ODI between England and Australia in Cardiff, said Sri Lanka may “feel hard done by”.

“Maybe (umpire Ian Gould) was just being over-cautious”, Sangakkara said. “They saw something maybe that the ball needed to be changed, maybe it was the shape, and the Sri Lankans would have taken offence at that and made their case.

“The team manager, coach, captain will all have to get involved. I know (Chandika) and he will not take this lying down, he will go out there and be very strong and vociferous in presenting his case.

“But if there has been five penalty runs added, there has to be reasons and causes shown by Sri Lanka in defence as to why there was any damage on the ball, and how it could have happened.

“The umpires themselves will have to be pretty certain using the cameras as well to see if they were justified in changing the ball and adding five penalty runs.

“I absolutely think umpires should be very strict on ball tampering. You saw what happened with Australia, they should have had harder sanctions years ago, it might not have led to sandpaper.

“But at the same time everyone needs to have perspective.

“Give a fair hearing, see what everyone has to see and then make a very objective position to what’s happened and if it merits the sanctions they’ve already imposed or if any further action needs to be taken. ”

There is a precedent for a team refusing to take the field after a brush with the umpires.

The first and only time a match has been forfeited in the history of Test cricket was in 2006, after Pakistan were penalised five runs for ball tampering by umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove in the fourth Test against England at The Oval.

The Pakistanis did not return to the field after tea on the fourth day and the umpires deemed this to mean they had forfeited the match, even though Pakistan later said they were willing to play.

It was in March that Australia were caught tampering with the ball illegally on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Following their admissions of guilt and an investigation, Steve Smith and David Warner were stripped of the captaincy and vice-captaincy respectively and banned from playing international cricket for 12 months. Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, the player caught on camera applying sandpaper to the ball, was banned for nine months.

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