Umpire sanitizes ball after Ben Stokes mistakenly applies saliva on it

Ben Stokes seen applying saliva on the ball. Pic: Twiter
Ben Stokes seen applying saliva on the ball. Pic: Twiter
Modified 24 Feb 2021

England all-rounder Ben Stokes mistakenly applied saliva on the ball following the conclusion of the 12th over of the Indian innings on Day 1 of the pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has banned the use of saliva to shine the cricket ball as a precautionary measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Following Ben Stokes' mistake, the umpire sanitized the ball before action resumed.

While players are banned from applying saliva on the ball, they can use sweat as an alternative to shine the ball. As per ICC rules, a side can be given up to two warnings per innings for using saliva. Repeated use can result in 5 runs being awarded to the batting side.

India finished Day 1 of the pink-ball Test on 99 for 3 in 33 overs, after bowling out England for 112. Shubman Gill was the first Indian batsman to go after scoring 11 runs, top-edging a short ball. Cheteshwar Pujara was then trapped lbw by Jack Leach without scoring.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli bottom-edged Leach onto the stumps for 27 just before the close of play and Rohit Sharma remained unbeaten on 57.

Axar Patel’s 6 for 38 saw England crumble to 112 all out in 48.4 overs. Zak Crawley (53) was the only English batsman to show some application during their innings.

A forgettable day for Ben Stokes

While England cricketer Ben Stokes is undoubtedly one of the greatest all-rounders the sport has produced, he had a rather forgettable outing on Day 1 of the pink-ball Test against India.

The saliva applying incident apart, Stokes also failed with the bat. The Englishman was part of a middle-order meltdown when he was trapped lbw for 6 by Axar Patel.

In the field, Stokes claimed a catch off Shubman Gill in the slips. However, replays suggested that the ball hit the ground. While the soft signal for the catch was out, the third umpire adjudged Gill not out after watching the replay.

England players, including skipper Joe Root, were seen arguing with the on-field umpire and Ben Stokes' smile seemed to suggest that Gill was clearly caught. The England all-rounder was heavily trolled on social media about the incident.

Published 24 Feb 2021
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