Ben Stokes in no-ball drama with front-foot technology broken

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Under the ICC playing conditions the third umpire is meant to monitor the front line and relay any no-balls

Ben Stokes was denied a wicket in his first over back in Test cricket when he bowled David Warner with a no-ball. It soon transpired that he had overstepped on the first three deliveries of the over as well – but a broken system meant they weren’t called by the third umpire under the new protocols.

It was later confirmed that the technology put in place to allow the TV official to monitor the frontline had gone down before the match started so this Test is being played under the previous playing conditions where only wicket-taking deliveries are checked. Host broadcaster Channel Seven later showed that in Stokes’ first five overs there had been 14 no-balls with only one called on field.

Warner was on 17 during the second morning when he played around a full delivery but Stokes almost aborted his celebration, as if fearing that he was over the front line. Shortly after the non-dismissal the host broadcasters replayed footage of the start of the over and Stokes had no-balled each time.

The ICC first trialled the use of the TV umpire monitoring the front line every delivery in 2019 and it was used for the first time in Test cricket when England played Pakistan in 2020.

The ICC playing conditions for the World Test Championship state: “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.”

Joe Root maintained a diplomatic stance when speaking briefly to Fox Cricket during the drinks break. “Slightly frustrating but we can’t let that get to us,” he said.

This is Stokes’ first Test match since March following his break from the game and he has had very little proper preparation leading into the series due to the poor weather in Brisbane.

During the 2013-14 Ashes, Stokes was denied his first Test wicket when he had Brad Haddin caught behind off a no-ball in Adelaide.

On England’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2018, broadcasters counted as many as 12 no-balls missed by the umpires during one five-over spell. In the 2019-2020 Australia-Pakistan series, Channel Seven tallied up to 21 had been missed during two sessions on the second day in Brisbane.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo


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