A technology failure has been blamed after cricket legend Ricky Ponting questioned the “pathetic officiating” that preceded Ben Stokes’ costly no-ball at the Gabba.
Stokes struck gold with his fourth delivery on Thursday, bowling David Warner for 17 early on day two of the first Ashes Test.
But a muted reaction from England’s talismanic allrounder hinted at knowledge there was at least some risk he had overstepped.
Replays revealed a clear no-ball and third umpire Paul Wilson recalled Warner to the middle.
It soon emerged Stokes also overstepped while bowling all three preceding balls, raising the obvious question as to why they were not picked up by the third umpire.
“If someone upstairs is meant to be checking these … it is pathetic officiating as far as I’m concerned,” former captain Ponting told the Seven Network.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson later explained that the technology that allowed the third umpire to check for no-balls and inform the umpire had failed on Wednesday and had not been in use at all during the Test.
The International Cricket Council is responsible for the implementation of that system.
It means the onus has reverted to the on-field umpires to check bowlers’ delivery strides, as was the case before the technology was introduced at the 2020 women’s Twenty20 World Cup.
In Brisbane, only at the fall of a wicket when broadcasters have time to retrieve and replay footage, can a delivery be reviewed.
Before the tweak in 2020 it was common for on-field umpires to inform bowlers when they were on the cusp of overstepping the line.
That quick-fire demand proved extremely difficult for umpires though, prompting the ICC to introduce the new technology to ease the load on the on-field officials.
Stokes’ error comes in his first match back since July, with rain limiting the amount of centre-wicket work that England could do in recent weeks.
England captain Joe Root, speaking to Fox Cricket during a break in play, was diplomatic about the “frustrating” reprieve.
“The fact we’re creating a good number of chances is really pleasing. We’ve got to stay confident … keep trusting what we’re doing and believing we’ll get the rewards,” Root said.
Warner, who was dropped on 49, posted his half-century early in the second session on Thursday and he and Marnus Labuschagne settling proceedings after the dismissal of opening partner Marcus Harris.
Remarkably, Warner has posted four Test centuries after being dismissed off a no-ball.
That stretch includes a hundred in the Boxing Day Test of the 2017-18 Ashes, when he was dismissed on 99 by Tom Curran before the paceman was stripped of what would have been his first Test wicket.
Australian Associated Press