Sri Lanka captain denies ball tampering

Devon Smith and Kraigg Brathwaite put on a 59-run stand for the opening wicket

Devon Smith and Kraigg Brathwaite put on a 59-run stand for the opening wicket

A late strike by speedster Shannon Gabriel gave West Indies control of the second Test against Sri Lanka, but a ball-change controversy marred proceedings, headlining the third day and threatening to disrupt the series here yesterday.

"The officials laid the charge after television footage from the final session's play on Friday appeared to show the Sri Lanka captain taking candies 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", the ICC statement said.

The right-hand batsman was also seen in a long discussion with the umpires while match referee Javagal Srinath was also spotted having a discussion with the Sri Lankan team management.

However it was after these deliberations that the Sri Lankans agreed to the change of ball and to continue playing.

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But scoring goals was never going to be the main problem for this side, the question was whether they could avoid conceding them. The ref pointed to the spot and naturally Messi was decided amongst his teammates he was the worthy choice to play "God".

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal denied tampering with the ball by using a sweet in his pocket before helping to rescue his team with the bat in partnership with Kusal Mendis on the fourth day of the second Test against the West Indies on Sunday.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) stoutly defended the team, saying it would defend any "unwarranted allegation" against any player.

SLC had however advised the team to take the field to ensure the continuity of the match and the cricket board commended the decision taken by the team to continue with the game "under protest" to ensure the upholding of the spirit of the game.

This was the second such instance within three months, after the Australians were found guilty of ball-tampering in South Africa in March during the third Test between the two nations.

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Following their admissions of guilt and an investigation, Steve Smith and David Warner were stripped of the captaincy and vice-captaincy respectively and banned from playing worldwide cricket for 12 months.

The hosts were eventually dismissed for 300 - a first innings advantage of 47 - with Devon Smith (61), Shane Dowrich (55) and Roston Chase (41) leading the way with the bat and Kamara (four for 86) starring with the ball for Sri Lanka. Pakistan eventually forfeited that game.

Despite being at the centre of the storm, the Sri Lankan skipper put aside that vast 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.

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