Dilruwan's Smith moment

Dilruwan's Smith moment

"Brain fade", "Smith moment", "Aussie inspiration", "Dressing Room Review." These were few of the reactions that started trending on the social media following Sri Lankan batsman Dilruwan Perera's request for DRS after he had been given lbw by umpire Nigel Llong on the fourth morning of the first Test here on Sunday.

In what was an eerie reminder of the Steven Smith incident earlier this year, it was speculated that the prompt to go for the review came from the Lankan dressing room.

Dilruwan was yet to open his account and Sri Lanka had lost three quick wickets when Mohammad Shami won an lbw verdict against the batsman. The right-hander, the last recognised batsman, began his walk back to the hut perhaps unaware of the fact that Sri Lanka still had one umpire's review left. But just then he turned back and signalled for DRS. It turned out to be a good move as the decision was overturned and he added 36 more runs in the company of Rangana Herath.    

It wasn't clear at that moment as to what or who nudged him to go for the review but a closer scrutiny of the replays and the narration of the sequence of events by TV commentator Simon Doull that Dilruwan was looking in the direction of the Lankan dug-out just before he had a change of mind, raised suspicion about a possible outside intervention. But then again it becomes a mere conjecture in the absence of hard evidence.

Interestingly, another Sri Lankan batsman Kusal Mendis was alleged to have sought a review in the first of the two Tests against Pakistan in the UAE in a  similar manner and it faced a protest from the fielding team. But once the TV umpire upheld the on-field umpire's decision, the issue died a natural death.    

Smith, too, had been caught in a similar act during the Bengaluru Test earlier this year when the Australian captain appeared to look in the direction of his dressing room to help him decide whether to review the lbw verdict against him. Llong, who incidentally was officiating in the Bengaluru Test as well, used his discretion to deny Smith the option of review.        

According to ICC's Test match playing conditions, in Appendix D that deals with DRS protocol, it is clearly stated that "signals, particularly from the dressing room, must not be given" to help a batsman review an umpire's verdict. But there is no way that an on-field umpire can penalise the erring player other than denying him the review.      

Under the head "the manner of requesting the player review", the rule says: "The captain may consult with the bowler and other fielders, and the two batsmen may consult with each other prior to deciding whether to request a Player Review. Under no circumstances is any player permitted to query an umpire about any aspect of a decision before deciding on whether or not to request a Player Review. If the on-field umpires believe that the captain or either batsman has received direct or indirect input emanating other than from the players on the field, then they may at their discretion decline the request for a Player Review. In particular, signals from the dressing room must not be given."

Given the friendly relations between the two teams and the respective cricket boards, it's unlikely the issue will snowball into a major controversy like it did in the case of Smith against whom India lodged an official complaint with the ICC only to the withdraw it later after some backroom negotiations. However, Dilruwan can still censured either by the match referee (in this case David Boon) or the ICC CEO if they feel there is enough to suggest the batsman acted against the spirit of the game.      

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