Video: Ben Stokes sends-off Virat Kohli with a mocking gesture on day two
The charismatic England all-rounder makes a statement with Kohli's wicket in Mohali.
Even as India and England are engaged in an enthralling third Test at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, there is a personal battle brewing between two of their most vocal players. Star all-rounder Ben Stokes produced a key wicket for the visitors by getting rid of Virat Kohli and celebrated the breakthrough in a mocking manner.
The 25-year-old seamer had been involved in a heated exchange with Kohli during the opening day following which he was reprimanded by the ICC. Careful not to attract any more scrutiny, Stokes reacted to the Indian skipper’s dismissal by placing his hands over his mouth.
Underneath the supposed display of changing attitude, there was a hint of dry humour in his celebration. At a time when the players are kept under constant supervision by the game’s apex body, the outspoken Durham lad’s gesture added drama to the proceedings.
Catch the highlights of Stokes’ send-off to Kohli here
Yesterday, Stokes was in the midst of resurrecting England's innings when he suffered a momentary lapse in concentration. The left-hander tried to skip down the track in a bid to take the aerial route. However, he was deceived by Ravindra Jadeja's drift and paid the ultimate price.
Before leaving the arena, he fervently looked back hoping for the umpires to check Jadeja's front-foot. Kohli joined in on the act and seemed to ask Stokes to walk back to the dressing room. Naturally, the situation threatened to escalate as the Englishman did not shy away from the confrontation. Umpire Marais Erasmus defused the tension by having a word or two with Kohli.
At the end of day press conference, non-striker Jonny Bairstow said, “Verbals and things like that if you go back ten years, it was a bigger part of the game and there has been a lot of clampdown (recently). At the same time, you also got to respect the fact that you have got guys out there who are very passionate (who are) representing the country in the heat of the battle and at some point, there are going to be words said that’s the nature of professional sport.”
While the Indian captain escaped without any warning, Stokes was found to have breached Article 2.1.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct pertaining to “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match.”
Stokes admitted to the offence and did not contest the addition of a demerit point to his record. As per Article 7.6 of the Code, the all-rounder faces a potential ban from one Test or two ODIs/T20Is if he accumulates four or more demerit points within a 2-year period. Pertinently, a verbal altercation with Bangladesh batsman Sabbir Rahman in Dhaka had resulted in a demerit point against his name.
Understandably, Stokes did not want to risk further sanctions and saw-off Kohli’s dismissal in Mohali with a mock gesture as if to suggest that he was doing everything possible to prevent himself from indulging in a verbal exchange once again.
Meanwhile, the match in itself is on a knife-edge as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja led India to within a stone’s throw of England's first-innings total with four wickets left intact at the end of day two.