LONDON – David Warner handled Jasprit Bumrah’s first fast-paced delivery by deflecting it off his bat, onto his boot, and watching it glance off the base of his leg stump.
The bails with the flashing lights inside lit up. The Australia opener was out. The huge pro-India crowd at the Oval roared with delight on Sunday.
Only Warner wasn’t out, because the bails didn’t fall from the top of the stumps.
Yet again the incident drew puzzlement and criticism. Former England captain Michael Vaughan said, “If you’re not getting out when you’re getting bowled, it’s a concern. Something needs to be done. It’s madness.”
New Zealand allrounder Jimmy Neesham tweeted: “I understand that the electronics in the stumps and the bails make them heavier. Why can’t the groove the balls sit in just be made shallower? Won’t that fix the problem?”
Because of the earlier incidents, the International Cricket Council has already defended the electronic zing bails, saying their use won’t be reviewed, and they’re actually lighter than regular wooden bails.
The zing bails have been in use since 2012, and featured in the last World Cup in 2015. There were also problems with them in the recent Indian Premier League.
But fortunately for the ICC, all the instances in this tournament have not been crucial, so far.
“It does seem to be happening more and more, which is unfortunate, because you’d hate to see something like that happen in a World Cup final or a semifinal,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said.
“I’m not sure what you can do. I don’t know how much lighter they can make the bails.”
Warner was on 1 in the second over of Australia’s chase when he got lucky. He smiled and Bumrah grimaced. Warner went on to make 56 but Australia lost by 36 runs. Finch said they were on the right side of luck this time, but he’d hate to be a victim.
India captain Virat Kohli liked the technology, but the problems were an issue.
“You literally have to smash the stumps really hard, and I’m saying that as a batsman,” he said. “These are fast bowlers. These are not your medium-paced bowlers.
“MS (Dhoni) said he checked the stump hole, as well. The stump was not in very hard, it was actually loose. So I don’t know what’s actually wrong with the stump, the outer coating of the stump. I have no idea what’s going on due to the lights coming on, if the stump is too thick or too rigid. But I’m sure no team would like seeing stuff like that when you actually bowl a good ball and the ball hits the stump and the lights don’t come on, or the lights come on and the bail comes back on to the stump.”
In previous instances:
England vs. South Africa, May 30: England’s Adil Rashid thought he bagged Quinton de Kock on 25 in the 11th over, when the South African missed a sweep and the ball hit his leg stump and set off the zing bails. But the bails stayed and de Kock got a boundary. He top-scored with 68 but England won by 104 runs.
New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka, June 1: Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne chopped on when on 9 in the sixth over at 35-1 and the ball brushed the stumps. Trent Boult didn’t get the wicket, but his New Zealand side won by 10 wickets.
Australia vs. West Indies, June 6: In an eventful third over, Chris Gayle survived two out decisions, this being the first, when video revealed a Mitchell Starc delivery nicked his off stump. Gayle was on 5. Starc eventually got him on 21.
England vs. Bangladesh, June 8: Bangladesh’s fate was already set when Ben Stokes appeared to bowl Mohammad Saifuddin on 5 with an audible hit of the leg stump. But the bails stayed. Stokes’ answer was to bowl him the next ball.