Sri Lanka defends cricket team over ball tampering allegation

Sri Lanka will need quick wickets early on Day 2 to put pressure on the hosts

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has been charged with ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council (ICC) during a series in the West Indies.

But the players eventually came onto the field at 10.50am, West Indies were officially given five extra runs and umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar oversaw the changing of the ball.

The umpires had also levelled a penalty of five runs against Sri Lanka 10 minutes before the start of the play on Day 3, and made a decision to change the ball.

Match referee Javagal Srinath and the Sri Lankan support staff were seen having an animated discussion before the start of the third day's play.

The Sri Lankans were told on Saturday that play could not continue with the existing ball.

The latest incident was akin to the 2006 one where Pakistan chose not to return after tea on day four against England at The Oval, after umpire Darrell Hair changed the ball and awarded five penalty runs.

"The team management has informed us that Sri Lankan players have not engaged in any wrongdoing".

It is the second time in two years Sri Lanka have been in controversy over the condition of a ball, after Dasun Shanaka was charged for a similar offence by the ICC in November 2017.

"If there are any, Code of Conduct charges will follow as per usual at close of play", tweeted the ICC.

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.

Earlier, Australia's Cameron Bancroft, Sri Lanka's Dasun Shanaka (2017) and South Africa's Faf du Plessis (2016) were also held for the same charge.

Steve Smith, along with David Warner, was handed a one-year ban from both domestic and global cricket by Cricket Australia while batsman Bancroft was handed a nine-month suspension for their involvement in the incident.

Chandimal is deputising for the injured Angelo Mathews who flew back to Sri Lanka following the first test due to a family issue.

Opening batsman Devon Smith top scored with a painstaking 61 while Shane Dowrich, fresh from a match-winning unbeaten century in the first Test in Trinidad, contributed 55.

In its second innings, Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera to a thick edge behind off Shannon Gabriel two overs before stumps.

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