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Suppose 3rd innings of a Test match is in progress. The batting side has piled on a heap of runs. The fielding side has little success in getting wickets and they are only hoping for a declaration to put them out of their misery.

But then, the captain has a "bright idea" to save the game: simply refuse to chase the ball! The two batsmen can keep running to their heart's content, but they batting side cannot do a declaration while the ball is not dead!

The fielding side would probably be asked to part with some of their match fees for slow over rate, but it doesn't affect the result of the game. Are there any specific provisions in the law to prohibit this?

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    I've given a sensible answer, but in the spirit of the slightly silly question here's some silly ideas: one of the batsmen should pick up the ball. He can now do various things to make the ball dead: carry it over the boundary. Declare himself out handled the ball and leave the field of play (Law 27 specifically allows a batsman to leave his wicket without an appeal having been made). Use the ball to run his partner out, who then leaves his wicket without an appeal having been made. Place it in the clothing of the umpire (ball is now dead). I'm sure more ways exist here. – Philip Kendall Jan 2 '15 at 12:08
  • You are right, this does sound a silly question, but international cricketers have used silly loopholes several times to have their way, so you never know. ;-) – Masked Man Jan 2 '15 at 12:51
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I'd say this is a refusal to play the match, which would be covered by Law 21(3):

Notwithstanding any agreement under Law 12.1(b) (Number of innings), a match shall be lost by a side which [...] in the opinion of the umpires refuses to play and the umpires shall award the match to the other side.

Alternatively, if the batsman simply stop running, they could argue that the ball is dead under Law 23(1)(b):

The ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler’s end umpire that the fielding side and both batsmen at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play.

The fielding side could perhaps avoid this second one by repeatedly throwing the ball in the direction of the stumps but "accidentally" missing each time, and thus claiming that they're still trying to get the batsmen out.

A third possibility would be for the umpires to say this is unfair play on the part of the fielding side and simply declare the ball dead under Law 23(4)(b)(i):

Either umpire shall call and signal Dead ball when he intervenes in a case of unfair play.

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