A cloud of suspicion hung over the England team after umpire Marais Erasmus changed the ball due to “unnatural deterioration” during the West Indies innings in the┬áthird ODI.

Erasmus, clearly suspecting that the wear to the ball was due to factors beyond those expected when it is used on an abrasive pitch or hit to the boundary, exchanged strong words with the England captain,Stuart Broad, in the 35th over but did not identify any specific culprit.

The match referee, Andy Pycroft, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the ball had been changed on the basis of playing regulation 42.1.2 – which comes under ‘Fair and unfair play’ – and that, as captain, Broad had been issued with a first and final warning that any further occurrence in the series would result in a five-run penalty and the reporting of Broad, as captain, to the ICC. As the series has now ended, that threat of penalty has disappeared…


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