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Chandimal banned from final Test for cheating
Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal has been banned for one Test and fined 100 per cent of his match fee following an International Cricket Council (ICC) charge of ball tampering that was brought against him during the second Test of the three-match series between Sri Lanka and Windies at the Darren Sammy National Stadium in St. Lucia.
At the end of the second day’s play, the standing umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar requested video footage of the final session. They found that Chandimal was putting sweets into his mouth and then applying saliva unto the ball. The umpires then decided to report him for ball tampering and a decision was made to award the Windies five runs and change the ball.
The Sri Lankans did not take to the charge kindly and decided to protest by refusing to take the field for two hours. Play on the third day was set to start at 9.30 am but they did not come out until 11.31 am, protesting the umpire's decision. The matter was reported to the ICC match referee Javagal Srinath and a hearing was set for after the match.
On Monday, the game ended in a draw with the Windies batting at 147 for five, looking for 296 runs to win the Test. The third session of the match was badly interrupted by rain and the game ended as a stalemate.
Sri Lanka will now head to Barbados for the day/night Test match starting on Saturday at 3 pm, without their captain.
After meeting with Srinath on Monday evening, Chandimal admitted to putting something in his mouth but he said he could not remember what it was. Srinath in a release stated: "After reviewing the footage of the incident, it is clear that Dinesh applied an artificial substance to the ball, namely saliva containing the residue of something he had in his mouth, an action which is prohibited under the ICC Code of Conduct.
"The footage shows that upon receiving the ball, Dinesh took something from his pocket and put it into his mouth. After sucking or chewing whatever he put in his mouth for a few seconds, Dinesh then proceeded to spit on his finger and polish the ball with his saliva which would have contained the residue of the artificial substance that he had in his mouth, on two separate occasions.
"During the hearing, Dinesh admitted to putting something in his mouth but couldn't remember what it was, which I found unconvincing as a defence and the fact remains it was an artificial substance.
"In the pre-series briefing held on the back of the ICC Cricket Committee recommendations, both the sides were explicitly told that the match officials would be extra vigilant towards all aspects of fair play, including changing the condition of the ball and as such it is disappointing that this has happened."
Chandimal has 48 hours to lodge a complaint, but it is more than likely he will not be able to play in Barbados because the ICC committee will not be able to meet until Saturday when the game is due to start. Also if he loses the appeal he could stand to miss a total of four Tests and the punishment will also be meted out to coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinghe.
If Chandimal cannot get to play in the final Test, then his leadership role could go to the veteran Rangana Herath who was dropped for the last Test. Vice-captain Ruranha Lakmal is another option to lead the side.
Additionally, Sri Lankan coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha were also charged with a breach of Article 2.3.1, a Level 3 offence which relates to “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.
They have been charged with their involvement in the Sri Lankan cricket team’s refusal to take to the field at the start of Saturday’s play, causing a two-hour delay in the start of play.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson in supporting the punishment handed down, said he would be seeking to have stiffer sanctions imposed on those persons found guilty of similar offences.
“The ICC fully supports the match officials in their decision and will continue to do so in any other such instances. The strong message from last month’s ICC Cricket Committee was that there needs to be stiffer sanctions for offences such as changing the condition of the ball, and as such, we will be recommending to the ICC Board at next month’s annual conference in Dublin to upgrade this to a Level Three offence,” Richardson said.
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