Sri Lanka vs England 3rd Test: Umpires failed to detect 10 front-foot no-balls

Sky found that out of the 30 deliveries that Sandakan bowled during the day in his five-over spell in the morning, 12 were no-balls.

Lakshan Sandakan
Lakshan Sandakan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sri Lanka crashed to yet another defeat in Tests at home, this time to England as they squandered the three-Test series 0-3 against England, the second best ranked side in the longer format. However, besides the tourists’ win, it was another matter which caught all eyes on the penultimate day of the final Test at the Sinhalese Sports Ground and it was about umpiring.

It was reported that the two umpires officiating the third Test – New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney and India’s Sundaram Ravi — failed to spot as many as 13 front-foot no-balls bowled by Sri Lankan spinner Lakshan Sandakan who took seven wickets in the match, including a fifer in the first innings.

The home team was left disappointed after Sandakan dismissed England all-rounder Ben Stokes twice (on 22 and 32) but yet failed to see his back since the deliveries were invalid. Suranga Lakmal, who was captaining Sri Lanka in the game in place of an injured Dinesh Chandimal, could not believe his luck and spoke to the chinaman bowler often.

Yet, broadcaster Sky found that out of the 30 deliveries that Sandakan bowled during the day in his five-over spell in the morning, 12 were no-balls but the umpires managed to detect only two of them – the ones that dismissed the England all-rounder.

The incident created a controversy on the social media for it was said that had all the no-balls were called, England would have added more runs to their total. The visitors won the match by 42 runs after bowling the hosts for 284 in their second essay. They were set a target of 327. England won the first Test in Galle by 211 runs and second Test in Kandy by 57 runs.

Bowling coach backs Sandakan

The 27-year-old Sandakan who has played 11 Tests, however, got backing from Sri Lanka’s spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge who said the no balls happened perhaps because the bowler was trying too hard to extract bounce from the wicket. “This is the first time it has happened with Sandakan. Perhaps he was trying too hard and trying to get the bounce off the wicket. That is not an excuse. We must work on that,” Wijetunge was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

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