GROS-ISLET, St Lucia – Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal denied tampering with the ball by using a sweet in his pocket on Sunday before rescuing his team in partnership with Kusal Mendis on the fourth day of the second Test against the West Indies.
Following the controversy of day three, when the start of play was delayed by two hours with the Sri Lankan captain refusing to lead his team onto the field for the continuation of the West Indies first innings, the International Cricket Council confirmed a charge of “altering the condition of the ball” – effectively ball-tampering – against Chandimal.
Match officials charged Chandimal after television footage from the final session’s play on Friday appeared to show the captain taking sweets out from his left pocket and putting these in his mouth, before applying the artificial substance to the ball which the umpires viewed as an attempt to change its condition.
Chandimal will face a hearing at the end of the Test on Monday.
The allegations echoed a 2016 controversy when South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was fined 100 percent of his match fee after being caught on camera applying sugary saliva from a mint in his mouth to the ball during a Test in Australia.
It is understood that the Sri Lankans were angered by the umpires, Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, only informing them of the charge and applying a five-run penalty just 10 minutes before the scheduled start of play on Saturday.
It resulted in lengthy discussions involving match referee Javagal Srinath and Sri Lankan team officials and an intervention by Sri Lanka Cricket authorities in Colombo before the tourists took to the field for the continuation of the match.
SLC confirmed support of their players in a subsequent release – saying their team was continuing the Test “under protest” – while Chandimal has formally denied the charge as laid by the umpires.
Despite being at the centre of the storm, the Sri Lankan skipper put aside that immense distraction in supporting the in-form Kusal Mendis in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 88 runs that lifted the visitors from the depths of 48/4 to 136 without further loss at the lunch interval on Sunday.
Trailing in the three-match series after losing the first Test in Trinidad by 226 runs, Sri Lanka lead by 89 runs and will be looking to Mendis (53 not out) and Chandimal (27 not out) to carry their effort deep into the afternoon session.