Controversy has erupted on the second morning of the opening Ashes Test, with officials coming under fire after a baffling situation.
Following a dismal day one for England that saw the tourists rolled for 147, things looked brighter for Joe Root's men they picked up the early wicket of Marcus Harris for just three runs.
England appeared to go one better when fellow opener David Warner chopped a delivery onto his stumps after Ben Stokes was introduced into the attack.
However, Stokes appeared to realise he'd bowled a no-ball and his head dropped when the on-field umpires asked to check his front foot.
Stokes' fears were soon realised as replays confirmed it was indeed a no-ball and Warner's blushes were spared.
Moments later, Channel Seven cricket analyst Trent Copeland pulled up a replay of Stokes' first over that showed he had not only overstepped the mark on the wicket ball, but three other times that went unnoticed by both the umpires out in the middle and in the studio.
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 9, 2021
The responsibility of the third umpire to check for front-foot no-balls on wickets is also supposed to extend to other deliveries, in order to stamp out persistent infringements from bowlers.
Copeland said by not informing Stokes that he was consistently overstepping the mark, the third umpire failed the England bowler.
“If you don’t know this is happening (as a bowler) and the review only happens when a wicket falls, I feel like we’re being failed by technology that could be used,” Copeland said.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting pulled no punches after describing it as "pathetic officiating".
“If someone upstairs is supposed to be checking these and they haven’t decided that any of those are a no ball, that’s just pathetic officiating as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
“It led to what we saw late in the over. If he’d have been called for a no ball the first one he bowled, then of course he’s going to drag his foot back.
“I’m not sure what’s happened. I’m keen to hear why it hasn’t happened earlier.”
Retired umpire Simon Taufel said he couldn't explain why the third umpire hadn't intervened on Stokes' previous no-balls.
“The third umpire’s job is definitely the hardest job in the book for me,” Taufel said.
“They really do have a lot going on but they do have the support of an ICC technician. They’re supposed to be looking at every ball.”
Cricket world slams farcical scenes
Unsurprisingly, the incident sparked widespread backlash from fans on social media, many of whom described the scenes as "farcical".
— liam.cbr (@liam_cbr) December 9, 2021
— CricketMAN2 (@man4_cricket) December 9, 2021
— Prasannakumar Palani (@prasannatrl) December 9, 2021
Nothing makes me feel like I don't understand cricket than the idea that you don't check for no balls except when there's a wicket #Ashes
— 🎄So This Is Chris 🎅 (@chrisjoregan) December 9, 2021
TV Umpire Sleeping, All Them No Balls And You Ent See None #Ashes
— Val 🐇 (@shinavy_14) December 9, 2021
— Gills (@gpricey23) December 9, 2021
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