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Kumara and Rajitha annihilate West Indies, amid ball tampering charges

Sri Lankan quicks managed to bowl out the West Indies batsmen for 300. Kumara and Rajitha led the attack, pulling things back for Sri Lanka at the end of day 3 of 2nd Sri Lanka – West Indies test match. But that’s not even the biggest news. Earlier in the day, the game lost 2 hours of play thanks to the Sri Lankan team refusing to take the field.  This was in light of ball tampering allegations made towards the Lankans.

What ball tampering?

The Sri Lankan players were charged with changing the condition of the ball during the second day of the test match against the West Indies. The umpires made these allegations after reviewing footage. It appeared, or so it seems, that there was evidence of a substance being applied on the ball.

Although initially, the Lankans were hesitant to take the field, they eventually did so. The West Indies were awarded 5 penalty runs and the ball was changed before play. Not long after, without a single over being bowled, the Lankans walked off the field. It was reported that at the time, one of the main reasons was that, “the umpires informed them about the ball change just 10 minutes before the start today without evidence of any footage.”

The Sri Lanka Cricket board later sent out a statement defending their players. The management believes that the players “have not engaged in any wrongdoing”, and that the SLC “wish to commend the decision taken by the team to continue with the game ‘under protest’.”

Will they contest the charges?

It’s still unclear whether SLC will contest the accusations when an inquiry is held. But based on the official statement, it’s likely that we’ll see Sri Lanka Cricket officially contest the charges. Kumar Sangakkara commenting on the issue stated that “they feel hard done by, as per the pictures they are shining the ball in an allowed manner, they are not using any foreign objects.” 

Of course, this isn’t the first time Sri Lanka faced controversy over the condition of the ball. Back in November, Dasun Shanaka faced a similar charge by the ICC. However, in that case, there was no contention and the team accepted the sanction.

Kumara, Rajitha and the quicks rip through the batting lineup 

Ball tampering controversy aside, day 3 had plenty of action on the field. Play kicked off with West Indies at 118 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Lakmal made first blood when he made Hope edge the ball, to Dananjaya de Silva’s hands. A few overs later, Dananjaya broke through Smith’s defenses, the highest contributor of the innings (61 runs), for an lbw.

West Indies | Sri Lanka | Kumara Rajitha bowled out

West Indies scored 300 in their first innings, with DS Smith top scoring 61 runs (Image Credits: Cricket West Indies)

Despite contributions from the West Indies middle order, the quicks managed to grab wickets at regular intervals. Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha, the debutant, claimed 5 of the wickets on day 3. Kumara ended up with 4 for 86 while Rajitha made 3 for 49. The West Indies were eventually bowled out for 300 runs, with the final 6 wickets falling for a mere 59 runs.

A well-balanced test

The West Indies looked to pose a much stronger lead at the start of day 3. But now the game look to be well balanced. Sri Lanka, in their second innings, has scored 34 runs so far, only 13 runs behind the hosts. The final session of the day saw Indies’ Gabriel claim the wicket of Kusal Perera, for a thick outside edge.

Kumara and Rajitha bowled out the West Indies

The quicks managed to rip through the batting line up, despite losing hours of play on day 3 (Image Credits: Cricket West Indies)

So, will this test match yield a result? It certainly looks that way. Assuming no hiccups, the visitors are poised to post a big lead going into the remaining 2 days. But then again, one can never say. After all, we’ve seen how things can turn around pretty quickly, even in a test match.



Feature Image Credits: Sri Lanka Cricket

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