Ben Stokes no-balled twice in first three balls, risks bowling ban for repeated short-pitched deliveries
Ben Stokes was no-balled twice inside his first three legal deliveries in the second Test against New Zealand, receiving a final warning from the umpires for repeated short-pitched deliveries.
Stokes ran the risk of being banned from bowling for the remainder of the innings if he infringed again, with the rarely seen playing condition coming into play.
He chose not to bring himself onto bowl for more than 100 overs as England bowled New Zealand out for 209, enforced the follow on, and then toiled for more than 50 overs to break the opening stand in the Black Caps’ second effort, with Tom Latham and Devon Conway putting up a stand of 149.
The England captain took the ball for the first over after tea, and immediately signalled his intent, a short-pitched delivery ballooning over Conway’s head, called wide by the umpire. The second delivery wasn’t quite as short, but still passed above Conway’s shoulder height, in the judgement of the on-field umpires, as did Stokes’ next delivery.
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That brought ICC Test Match Playing Condition 41.6 into play, a variation on the MCC Law of the same number. The ICC’s rules specify that if a bowler bowls more than two deliveries above shoulder height in an over, the umpire will signal ‘no ball’ and give the bowler a first warning. Stokes was no-balled, but undeterred, with two more short deliveries following.
The first stayed below Conway’s shoulders and was pulled aerially for a single. The next, to Latham, was another above-shoulder-height ball, and Stokes was no-balled again. Under the ICC Playing Conditions, this led to a final warning, meaning Stokes was at risk of being barred from bowling from the remainder of the innings, and receiving a possible further sanction from the match referee, if he erred again. The rest of the over passed without incident.
Stokes’ attempted roughing-up seemingly had the desired effect. England soon broke through, though it was spin that did the damage, with Jack Leach removing Conway, caught by Ollie Pope at short leg, and Latham pinned lbw by Joe Root.