Sri Lanka players refused to take the field in the second test against the West Indies. Photo: ICC, icc-cricket.com

GROS-ISLET Sri Lanka refused to take to the field on the third day of the second Test match against the West Indies in St Lucia on Saturday after the umpires demanded a change of ball.

Umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould instructed that the ball be changed before the start of play, which could be because they were not satisfied with the condition of the ball being used at the end of the second day's play.

West Indies are batting and have reached 118 for two in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 253.

The Sri Lankan team reacted to the umpires' decision by refusing to come onto the field to allow play to restart.

Discussions are ongoing with the umpires, match referee Javagal Srinath and Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal.

The Cricinfo web site reported that near the end of play on Friday the umpires checked on the ball and Gould could be seen asking to see Dhananjaya de Silva's hands. He was the player shining the ball and he had bandages on, although that is not uncommon in modern cricket.

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.

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