Chandimal denies ‘sweet in pocket’ ball tampering as Sri Lanka pile on runs


GROS-ISLET, Saint Lucia, June 18, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Sri Lanka captain
Dinesh Chandimal denied tampering with the ball by using a sweet in his
pocket before his team raced into a substantial 287-run lead on the fourth
day of the second Test against the West Indies on Sunday.

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 them in his mouth, before applying the artificial
substance to the ball which the umpires viewed as an attempt to change its

Chandimal will face a hearing at the end of the Test on Monday.

If found guilty, he could be suspended from the third and final Test of the
series, beginning in Barbados on Saturday.

While the ICC’s cricket committee has recommended increasing the punishment
for ball tampering to a ban of four Tests or eight one-day internationals,
that suggestion has yet to be ratified. The allegations echoed a 2016
controversy when South Africa captain, Faf du Plessis, was fined 100 per cent
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.

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 a fifth-
wicket stand of 117 that helped lift the visitors from the depths of 48 for
four to 334 for eight in their second innings and a lead of 287 by the close
of play on Sunday.

Chandimal eventually fell for 39 in the afternoon session but Mendis
continued to anchor the Sri Lankan middle-order rally with a top score of 87.

There was further resistance in an innings of 62 from Niroshan Dickwella
and 48 from Roshen Silva which tilted the balance of the match in Sri Lanka’s

Once again Shannon Gabriel was the spearhead of the West Indies bowling
effort, his figures of six for 57 giving him ten wickets in a Test for the
first time.

His match analysis of 11 for 116 is already the best by a West Indian
against Sri Lanka and the best by a West Indian in Tests in St Lucia.

As well as they played, both Mendis and Chandimal had their moments of luck
in the morning session.

Mendis touched a leg-side delivery from Jason Holder through to
wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich when on 14 but was reprieved as the West Indies
captain had overstepped the front crease.

Gabriel, who appeared to have solved his perennial no-ball problem in his
first innings haul of five for 59, committed the indiscretion again when he
should have had Chandimal, on 21, fending a lifting delivery to Shai Hope at

That incident actually would not have transpired had the West Indies
reviewed a not out verdict by umpire Gould to a leg-before appeal by Gabriel
to Chandimal just two deliveries earlier.

Television replays showed that the on-field decision would have been
reversed with a challenge from Holder.