The 53rd over of the Indian innings saw a controversial call as Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal wasn't penalised for the "fake fielding" that has been in effect from 1 October 2017. The five penalty runs India should have been awarded for the Sri Lankan fielder breaking the law during Dasun Shanaka's over wasn't added as the umpires failed to spot the offence.
The fourth ball of the 53rd over bowled by Shanaka was pushed past cover by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Chandimal chased the ball and put in a slide and got in position to throw the ball even though the ball was nowhere near him. The ball was fielded by the sweeper coming in from the deep but the Sri Lankan captain wasn't punished, a decision which didn't amuse Virat Kohli in the dressing room as it cost India five runs.
Law 41 of the MCC rulebook which deals with unfair play was amended and here is what it states:
41.5 Deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of batsman
41.5.1 In addition to 41.4, it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball.
41.5.2 It is for either one of the umpires to decide whether any distraction, deception or obstruction is wilful or not.
41.5.3 If either umpire considers that a fielder has caused or attempted to cause such a distraction, deception or obstruction, he/she shall immediately call and signal Dead ball and inform the other umpire of the reason for the call.
On this occasion, although Chandimal was nowhere near the ball, he deliberately attempted to deceive the batsman by winding up for the throw. Although he didn't complete it, since it was a wilful attempt to deceive the batsman, the rule should have been applied.
41.5.6 The bowler’s end umpire shall
- award 5 Penalty runs to the batting side.
- inform the captain of the fielding side of the reason for this action and as soon as practicable inform the captain of the batting side.
41.5.7 The ball shall not count as one of the over.
41.5.8 Any runs completed by the batsmen before the offence shall be scored, together with any runs for penalties awarded to either side. Additionally, the run in progress shall be scored whether or not the batsmen had already crossed at the instant of the offence.
As a result, India should have been awarded five runs and Shanaka would have had to bowl the ball again and the two runs taken off the delivery should have also counted to the team's total. However, the umpires Joel Wilson (who replaced Richard Kettleborough, who was indisposed and didn't come out for the third day) and Nigel Llong didn't.
In a Test match in which run-scoring has been difficult those five runs that India didn't get might turn out to be crucial. And it wasn't as though it hadn't been done before. During the JLT One-Day Cup, Australian Marnus Labuschagne became the first professional cricketer to be penalised under the MCC's controversial new law against fake fielding.
Dinesh Chandimal should have been the first fielder to be penalised for it in international cricket but got away with it.
Here is what happened: