Sri Lanka play on ´under protest´ after ´ball tamper´ row

Devon Smith scored his first Test fifty after three years out of the West Indies Test side

Devon Smith scored his first Test fifty after three years out of the West Indies Test side

A late strike by speedster Shannon Gabriel gave West Indies control of the second Test against Sri Lanka, but a ball-change controversy marred proceedings, headlining the third day and threatening to disrupt the series here yesterday.

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has been charged with ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould had raised concerns about the condition of the ball towards the end of day two.

Animated discussions ensued involving match referee Javagal Srinath and the Sri Lankan pair of coach Chandika Hathurusingha and team manager Asanka Gurusinha.

The Sri Lankans were told on Saturday that play could not continue with the existing ball.

Sri Lanka held up play for almost two hours having been penalised five penalty runs ahead of the third day of the second Test against the West Indies due to a ball-tampering row.

In a pre-emptive move on Saturday evening, Sri Lanka Cricket issued a media release saying it would defend any "unwarranted allegation" against any player.

"The team management has informed us that Sri Lankan players have not engaged in any wrongdoing", said SLC.

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"They say something, maybe, that meant the ball needed to be changed; maybe it was the shape".

This was the second such instance within three months, after the Australians were found guilty of ball-tampering in South Africa in March during the third Test between the two nations.

Leading by 47 runs after racking up 300 in their first innings at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, West Indies reduced the visitors to 34 for one in their second innings at the close, leaving them still in deficit by 13 runs.

Bancroft was subsequently whacked with a nine-month ban from global and first-class cricket by Cricket Australia.

That match was the only Test in the game's history to be forfeited after Pakistan refused to return to the field. Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, the player caught on camera applying sandpaper to the ball, was banned for nine months.

Opener Devon Smith fell for 61, having added only eight to his overnight half-century, while wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich followed up his century in the first Test with 55.

Despite being at the centre of the storm, the Sri Lankan skipper put aside that vast distraction in supporting the in-form Kusal Mendis in a fifth-wicket stand of 117 runs that lifted the visitors from the depths of 48 for four in their second innings on Sunday.

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