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D-day for Chandimal
Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal will know today whether he will be able to walk unto the hallowed turf of the mecca of West Indies cricket Kensington Oval, for the third and final Test between the Windies and Sri Lanka tomorrow.
Chandimal was banned by match referee Javagal Srinath for one Test and ducked 100 per cent of his match fee from the second Test in St. Lucia after being reported by the on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould for ball tampering.
The duo together with Srinath looked at television footage of Chandimal putting something into his mouth and then spitting on the ball, before shining it. According to the ICC law on ball tampering, they ruled that he was applying a foreign substance to the ball and they found him guilty.
With Sri Lanka 0-1 down in the series, a loss or draw in Barbados will see them returning home with a series loss under their belts against the ninth-ranked Test team, Windies. Sri Lanka is rated number six at present and a series win here for the Windies will see them move up the ladder in terms of ranking points.
Chandimal’s matter today will be held before Michael Beloff QC who as chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission was appointed to hear the matter. Legal counsel for both parties, as well as the accused Chandimal, will speak via teleconference.
The Sri Lankans think that they have a strong case, as the ICC can’t prove what was put into the mouth of the captain from the available footage. As a result, they are saying that he cannot be punished if the proof cannot be produced. Srinath in a release on Monday had stated that:"Dinesh admitted to putting something in his mouth but couldn't remember what it was, which I found unconvincing as a defence and the fact remains it was an artificial substance."
If Chandimal loses the appeal he could be banned for as many as four matches and so too will be coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinghe. If he cannot take his place in the historic day/night match, then his place at the helm is likely to go to senior player and former captain Rangana Herath. Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal is the vice-captain on this tour but it is highly unlikely that he will be used to lead the side. Herath the most successful bowler in the team, was dropped for the last match in St. Lucia.
The Windies will be hoping to wrap up the series in Barbados, after a crushing win in the first Test in Trinidad and a lucky draw in the second in St. Lucia.
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