MCC instructed the Sri Lankan dressing-room to remove their national flag from the team balcony yesterday after the tourists unfurled it in protest at an umpiring decision.
Not long after, the Sri Lankan flag was draped over the railings of their balcony, where it remained in contravention of ground rules, which forbid banners or flags – for nearly 45 minutes.
It needed an intervention from MCC to have it removed, but not before Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala had given team management permission to display the flag.
Meanwhile, team officials visited match referee Andy Pycroft to ask why Tucker had called a no-ball when replays showed part of Pradeep’s heel behind the line a split second before he bowled Hales. The England opener, who had 58 at the time, went on to make 94.
Sumathipala said the appearance of the flag was a show of solidarity: ‘It was to say, boys get together. We’re not happy with the decision, but your country is more important than one or two decisions in life.’
The Sri Lankans feel decisions on this trip have started to go against them, with Sumathipala arguing that Pycroft should have intervened once the replays revealed a legal delivery.
‘In the spirit of the game, the decision has to be right,’ he said. ‘If it is right, everyone will accept that.’
The ICC Cricket Committee is understood to have discussed no-balls at their recent meeting.
In future, Tucker’s call may be able to be overturned, since the committee believe batsmen don’t in reality have time to adjust their shots to take advantage of a no-ball shout.