Leeds - The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have stepped in after a row erupted over a dead ball dismissal by Steven Finn on day one of the second Test at Headingley between England and South Africa on Thursday.
The England quick bowler was controversially denied the wicket of Proteas captain Graeme Smith in the 12th over of the morning session when the batsman edged Finn to England captain Andrew Strauss at first slip.
In a joint statement, the ICC and the MCC - the guardians of the laws of the game - confirmed umpire Steve Davis had ruled the ball was dead because Finn had dislodged the bails in his bowling follow through.
"Jeff Crowe, ICC Match Referee, (said) that Finn had broken the wicket at least three times prior to this specific incident," the statement said. "Both batsmen complained that it was a distraction and Finn was told to move over. The umpires decided that if it happened again they would call dead ball. It did and so Davis called it under 23.4(b)(vi)."
Strauss had an animated discussion with umpire Davis after the decision, but the law in question says: "An umpire shall call and signal dead ball when the striker is distracted by any noise or movement while receiving."
Smith clearly wasn't distracted when Finn collided with the stumps for a fifth time in the 20th over because he pulled the ball to the deep midwicket fence, only for Davis to again call dead ball and negate the boundary.
Davis then denied Smith a second boundary when Finn once again brushed the stumps in the first over after lunch.
"A precedent may have been set but it remains to be seen whether dead ball will be called on each occasion that this happens for the remainder of the match," the statement added. "Unlike some other laws, there is no specified warning procedure for this situation. MCC's Laws sub-committee will discuss the matter at its next meeting and will work closely with ICC on issuing guidance to umpires."