England and Ben Stokes were frustrated with the no-ball call that saved David Warner during the Ashes first test at the Gabba.
Stokes would have claimed Warner’s crucial wicket in his first over of his first Test over in more than nine months, but the Aussie opener was relieved to know that Stokes’ front foot had landed in front of the line of the return crease.
TV replays went on to show that all three of Stokes’ previous deliveries would have been no-balls too, but they had not been called by the umpire. Under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, the umpire is supposed to check every ball for a no-ball, but failed to do so in the opening Ashes Test on Thursday.
Broadcaster, 7 Cricket, later said on social media that the failure to check for no-balls had been due to a breakdown in the equipment used to check the front foot by the third umpires and they had to revert to protocols that were used before the technology was introduced.
Until the equipment is repaired, the on-field umpires will continue calling for no-balls when they spot one, but the position of the front foot will only be checked by the third umpire after a wicket falls.
England bowling coach Jon Lewis complained that Stokes should have been reprimanded for his first two wrongly bowled balls so that he would not continue making the same error which also resulted in England missing out on Warner’s wicket.
“What a fast bowler needs is some awareness of where his feet are,” Lewis explained.
“You’re unable to see your own feet. It would have been good if his first ball had been labelled a no-ball so he could make an adjustment.”
Overall, Stokes overstepped on 14 occasions but only two of them were called – one by the on-field umpires and the other on review.
The lack of the no-ball technology has raised numerous questions and could be one of the deciding factors in how this Test match, and the entire series, plays out.
Former Australian captain Ricky Pointing was not happy that Stokes’ no-balls had been missed by the on-field umpires. Speaking after the day’s play had ended, Pointing told Channel 7 that he knew the deliveries were no-balls even without looking at Stokes’ reaction, which further goes on to suggest that the England bowler knew he had overstepped a fair few times.
“If someone upstairs is meant to be checking these, and they haven’t decided that any of those are a no ball, it is pathetic officiating as far as I’m concerned,” Pointing added. “We watched what happened late in the game… It had been a wicket… If he’d been called for a no-ball on the first ball he bowled there, he’d be putting his foot back.”