Ben Stokes embroiled in a no-ball scandal when the front-foot technology is compromised

Ben Stokes

When Ben Stokes bowled David Warner with a no-ball in his first Test over after his sabbatical, he denied himself a wicket. It was then discovered that he had overstepped on the first three deliveries of the over, but due to a faulty system, the third umpire did not call them under the new guidelines. Cricket betting lost their cool over this wicket.

It was subsequently verified that the equipment installed to enable the TV official to watch the frontline had failed before the start of the match. Hence this cricket match is being played under the former playing circumstances, in which only wicket-taking deliveries are examined. Channel Seven subsequently revealed that there had been 14 no-balls in Stokes’ first five overs, with just one called on the field.

The story that caught the attention of the media and every cricket fan around the globe

Stokes almost interrupted his celebration when Warner reached 17 on the second morning when he played around a full delivery. It seemed if Stokes was concerned that Warner had crossed the front line. The host broadcasters repeated video of the start of the over shortly after the non-dismissal, and Stokes had no-balled each time.

After the day’s play, England bowling coach Jon Lewis expressed disappointment that Stokes had not had the chance to change his delivery after he originally overstepped. Stokes played at the Gabba for the first time since an ODI in 2014.

“Would be the first time he’s run-up from that end in eight years, so he’ll need some input from the umpires as to where his feet are to then make a change,” Lewis said. “It’s difficult if you don’t know where your feet are. It would have been good for the initial no-ball to be called so he could make the adjustment and then be behind the line since he knows where his feet are landing.”

The ICC trialled the use of a TV umpire watching the front line with every ball in 2019, and it was utilised for the first time in Test cricket when England faced Pakistan in 2020.

According to the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship playing conditions, “The third umpire shall review television replays of the bowler’s front foot landing and, if he/she is satisfied that any of these three conditions have not been met, he/she shall immediately advise the bowler’s end umpire, who shall in turn immediately call and signal No-ball.”

What did Joe Root say after the whole incident had happened and the visitors were just not happy with the controversy?

During the drinks break, Joe Root maintained a diplomatic tone while speaking briefly with Fox Cricket. “It is a little annoying, but we cannot let it get to us,” he said.

This is Stokes’ first Test match since returning to the game, and due to the inclement weather in Brisbane, he has had very little practice building up to the series.

Stokes was denied his maiden Test wicket during the 2013-14 Ashes when Brad Haddin was caught behind off a no-ball in Adelaide. During England’s 2018 tour of Sri Lanka, commentators recorded up to 12 no-balls missed by umpires during one five-over stretch. Channel Seven counted up to 21 missed sessions in the 2019-2020 Australia-Pakistan series over two sessions on the second day in Brisbane.

Who will win this game eventually; or will it be yet another draw?

Right now, though the scorecard may showcase a balance in the match and either team can win it, the Aussies do have a slight advantage. All-rounder Ben Stokes has said to have picked up a knee injury and his contribution to this game is still a doubt.

There is no doubt that the visitors will want to continue to bat the way that they have in the second innings and score a huge total. However, whether that happens or not, remains to be seen. The home side still have a lead and will want to get the opposition bowled out as soon as possible.

It could be a great Test match if England can score more runs on day 4 and challenge the hosts to chase it down. At the end of the day, whichever team does win this game, will have an advantage going into the next for sure!!

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