Ben Stokes caught applying saliva on the ball, umpires have a word during India vs England 3rd Test
England all-rounder Ben Stokes did not have the best of days on the cricket field on Day 1 of the India vs England third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. After he was criticised heavily on social media for wrongly claiming Shubman Gill’s catch, Stokes was caught using saliva to shine the pink ball in the final session on Wednesday.
In what appeared to be an honest mistake, Stokes took the ball from Stuart Broad at the end of the 12th over in India's first innings and applied saliva to shine the ball, that too in front of on-field umpire Nitin Menon.
The umpire was quick to spot Stokes’ error. He first sanitised the ball and then called Stokes for a chat in what appeared to be a friendly warning as there was no official word from the umpires.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had banned the use of saliva to shine the ball due to the Covid-19 pandemic in June last year.
As per the ICC's Covid-19 regulations, a team can be issued up to two warnings per innings but repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a 5-run penalty to the batting side.
Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires have to clean it before play recommences.
Stokes was dismissed for 6 off 24 balls by Axar Patel as England were bowled out for their second-lowest total India. In only his second Test match, Axar registered his career-best figures of six for 38 to bowl England out for 112 after they opted to bat first.
Ravichandran Ashwin played the supporting act by picking up three wickets, including the important one of England skipper Joe Root.
For England, Zak Crawley was the top scorer with 53.
In reply, Rohit Sharma struck a fighting fifty as India got close to England’s first innings total.