James Anderson has been cleared of any wrong-doing in his spat with Ravindra Jadeja during the Trent Bridge Test.
The England fast bowler was in danger of a ban of up to four Test matches if found guilty of a Level 3 charge of “pushing and abusing” India all-rounder Jadeja in the pavilion stairwell during the first Investec Test.
But International Cricket Council judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis decided neither player transgressed, meaning Anderson is free after all to play in his home Test at Old Trafford next week.
No verdict was expected until the weekend from the video-conference hearing held yesterday – in which Jadeja was appealing against a 50 per cent match-fee fine for a Level 1 offence relating to the same incident and Anderson’s case was being considered in full for the first time.
But the ICC announced in a press release: “His Honor Gordon Lewis AM, the judicial commissioner, has found both England’s James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja of India not guilty of breaching the ICC code of conduct.
“The judicial commissioner reached his decisions following a six-hour hearing, which took place via video-conference. Witnesses, including some Indian and English players, provided evidence and were cross-examined by the respective legal counsels.
“The ECB and Anderson were represented in the hearings by Nick De Marco, while Adam Lewis QC represented Jadeja.
“The hearings were also attended by the two team managers, the ECB’s Paul Downton, the BCCI’s Sundar Raman and MV Sridhar, the ICC’s general manager - cricket, Geoff Allardice, and the ICC’s ethics and regulatory lawyer, Sally Clark.”
The Investec series is level at 1-1, with two to play, after Anderson’s man-of-the-match performance helped England to their first Test victory in almost a year at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday.
It was alleged that, after Anderson and Jadeja had exchanged words as they left the field for lunch on day two of the first Test, their disagreement had escalated out of the public view.
Repercussions were significant, and England could ill afford to lose their lynchpin fast bowler and series leading wicket-taker.
Instead, though, Anderson is free to play for the remainder of the series after all after Lewis threw out the charges.
The BCCI is not in a position to appeal against the Anderson verdict, with only the ICC and ECB able to do so.
The ECB has no reason to, leaving the governing body – where India enjoy increasingly significant political sway – as the only means to extend the case.
England coach Peter Moores will be delighted to have the country’s all-time highest wicket-taker in all formats at his disposal and, speaking before the verdict, was full of praise for the Lancastrian’s performance at Southampton.
“I’m not going to start judging Jimmy Anderson on everything he does and doesn’t do,” he said.
“What I will say is that at the moment we celebrate the fact that he’s bowling at his best.
“The whole Test, he’s been great. But the spell he bowled on the last morning was a real masterclass of swing bowling.”