The ongoing ‘Raise the Bat’ series between hosts England and West Indies saw the return of international cricket after four months of prolonged COVID-19 crisis.
The matches are played under the new norms stipulated by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which involves saliva ban.
During the second Test match at Old Trafford in Manchester, opener Dominic Sibley became the first cricketer to breach the no saliva rule.
The incident unfolded during the fourth day’s play in the penultimate over before the lunch break when Sibley accidentally applied saliva on the ball.
Standing umpires Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth instantly applied disinfectant wipes after the English opener admitted to the accidental transgression.
According to the new rules of ICC, only sweat can be used to shine the ball as saliva is known to be a carrier of the deadly coronavirus.
If found guilty, umpires will issue a couple of warnings to the team before awarding five runs as a penalty to the opposition team.
The saliva ban caused a lot of furore in the cricketing fraternity who stood divided on the ban. ICC’s technical committee, headed by Anil Kumble, also recommended the prohibition of saliva usage on the cricket ball. Bowlers and fielders apply saliva on the cricket ball to shine the red cherry, which helps in conventional swing and reverse swing.
After the end of fourth day’s play, England remained well poised with a lead of 219 runs in the second innings and eight wickets in hand.
Sibley scored his second Test ton in the first innings to help England post a daunting total of 469.
West Indies, in reply, were bundled out for 287. England will resume their batting effort on Day five with the score at 37 for the loss of two wickets.
English think tank raised a few eyebrows when Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler walked in to open the innings. However, the move did not pay rich dividends as Butler was dismissed on the fourth ball he faced, registering a duck.