20 July 2020
In a first, England’s Dominic Sibley forced the on-field umpires to bring out their disinfectants and clean the ball during the first session of Day 4 of the second Test against West Indies at Old Trafford, Manchester on Sunday.
After England declared for 469/9 on day 2, West Indies had finished the day on 32/1 with Kraigg Brathwaite and nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph in the middle. Saturday was a washout. But the incident which occurred on the fourth day happened when England centurion Sibley accidentally used saliva on the ball at the end of a Chris Woakes over.After the 41st over of the innings, umpire Michael Gough unsealed a sanitised tissue and rubbed the ball on both sides. This is the first instance of a player applying saliva on the ball since the new rules came in.Under the COVID-19 protocols, deliberate or inadvertent attempts of using saliva on the ball will get the team a warning. Upon two warnings, the team will be imposed with a five-run penalty.
Before the second Test, Dom Bess had remarked that playing with the new restrictions wasn’t easy. “It’s certainly different,” said the England off-spinner.
“The first Test was a great challenge in terms of how we can get the ball swinging and how we can sort of look after the ball with just sweat. As a fielder who sweats a lot, I took responsibility to try to shine the ball. I guess the real challenge with it was making it not dull and not putting too much sweat on the ball.”