Windies v England Test - Men's

Stokes involved in bizarre non-dismissal

England allrounder recalled from the dressing room after no ball spotted on St Lucia big screen replays

Dave Middleton

10 February 2019, 08:15 PM AEST

Recent rule change saves Ben Stokes

"It's a good job I didn't take my pants off. It was just a bizarre bit of cricket all round."

It's quite an incredible line from England allrounder Ben Stokes, but it summed up the quite incredible circumstances of his bizarre non-dismissal during the third Test against the West Indies in St Lucia.

Stokes had made a counter-attacking 52 when he pulled a ball back to Alzarri Joseph, who clung on well in his follow through to grab the shot.

Stokes reacted with dismay and headed straight for the sanctuary of England's dressing rooms, as No.7 Jonny Bairstow passed him on his way out to the middle.

Stokes was off the field and back in the change rooms where things got interesting – replays of the dismissal on the big screen drew the hoots and hollers of the travelling Barmy Army support, alerting the on-field umpires to what looked a close call for a front foot no-ball from Joseph.

The third umpire was asked to check, a no-ball was indeed found, and suddenly Stokes was on his way back out into the middle.

Stokes gets word from the fourth official // Getty
Stokes gets word from the fourth official // Getty

Traditionally, any chance of a recall is over once a player crosses the boundary and leaves the field of play, but a little heralded amendment to the code of the Laws of Cricket in 2017, allowed for Stokes's return.

Law 31.7, which governs the status of batsmen "leaving the wicket under a misapprehension" was updated in October 2017 and deals with when a batter may be recalled.

"A batsman may be recalled at any time up to the instant when the ball comes into play for the next delivery, unless it is the final wicket of the innings, in which case it should be up to the instant when the umpires leave the field," the Law states.

Jonny Bairstow made it to the middle but never faced a ball // Getty
Jonny Bairstow made it to the middle but never faced a ball // Getty

Crucially, the new batter Jonny Bairstow had not yet faced up so even though Stokes had exited the field, he could still be recalled under the Law. The whole sequence left players and pundits alike confused, with Stokes himself admitting he'd never seen anything like it.

"I’ve never been in the changing room and called out to bat again,” the allrounder said after play.

"It's a first for me and it's probably something they need to get control of. In international cricket you shouldn't be walking off, getting into the changing rooms, and then back out there two minutes later.

Ben Stokes resumes his innings after non-dismissal // Getty
Ben Stokes resumes his innings after non-dismissal // Getty

"It's a good job I didn't take my pants off. It was just a bizarre bit of cricket all round. Thank God for technology."

Stokes finished the day unbeaten on 62 and had put on a stand of 124 for the fifth wicket with Buttler, who reached stumps at 67 not out with England 4-231.

"I tried to get myself back in that same frame of mind I was when me and Jos (Buttler) were going well out there," Stokes said of his return to the crease.

"There was a lot of cheering going on so I had to blank that out and start again."

England trail the three-Test series 2-0.