Dilruwan Perera, the Sri Lanka all rounder, survived an lbw decision after an unusual route to taking the assistance of the Decision Review System (DRS). At the time of the incident, Dilruwan was batting on 0 off 7 balls. He went on to play out a further 27 balls, and add 43 for the eighth wicket with Rangana Herath.
In the 57th over of Sri Lanka’s innings, Nigel Llong upheld an lbw appeal from Mohammed Shami when an indipper beat Dilruwan’s forward defensive and hit him on the back pad. Dilruwan turned around and began walking back towards the dressing room, only to turn around and ask for a review.
With replays suggesting the ball had struck Dilruwan’s pad outside the line of off stump, Llong had to change his decision to not out.
It was not clear what prompted Dilruwan to change his mind, but the TV commentators speculated over whether he had received some sort of signal from the dressing room to turn back and ask for a review.
The SLC sent out a release after the day’s play, stating that: “Contrary to the assumptions made, there was no ‘message from the dressing room’ involved in the requested review.
“Having mistakenly assumed that Sri Lanka were out of reviews, Dilruwan Perera had turned to leave the field when he heard Rangana Herath inquire from the on-field umpire Nigel Llong if Sri Lanka have any reviews left, to which Mr Llong answered in the affirmative.
“It was then that Dilruwan requested the review.”
In his post-match press conference, the India fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not want to make an issue of the incident.
“That’s something I can’t speak on, because that should come out from the officials, and we haven’t heard anything from the officials,” he said. “So it won’t be fair to comment anything on that.”
Pressed further, he said the players had not really been looking at Dilruwan when he turned around to review. “We are quiet because until there is an official word about the incident, we cannot speak about it. If we talk about it, but match referee says that was fair, then it would be the wrong thing to do.
“We didn’t pay attention to the incident. We were busy celebrating, giving high-fives, and later we watched that on the [giant screen], but we didn’t comment on it because nothing was confirmed from the match officials. So we cannot say anything.”
The incident recalled a similar one from Sri Lanka’s recent Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. In Sri Lanka’s second innings there, Kusal Mendis was walking back towards the dressing room after Richard Kettleborough gave him out lbw to Mohammad Abbas, when he turned around and asked for a review. In that instance, the review was unsuccessful, returning an umpire’s call verdict. Llong, incidentally, was the other on-field umpire there.
In the Bengaluru Test earlier this year, umpires stopped Australia’s Steven Smith from reviewing an lbw decision against him after he was seen seeking advice from the Australian dressing room. Llong, again, was the umpire who had given him out off Umesh Yadav.
In that instance, Smith admitted he had sought help from the dressing room, calling it a brain fade. Virat Kohli, India’s captain, alleged that Australia had done this on at least three occasions during the match, and the BCCI backed him, filing a complaint with the ICC asking for a further investigation. The BCCI, however, withdrew its complaint hours later, after the ICC, having reviewed video footage from the Test match, spoke to the CEOs of both boards, impressing upon them that the charge was near-impossible to prove.