Australia v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Sydney

Sri Lanka to query abandonment with ICC

Daniel Brettig at the SCG

January 20, 2013

Comments: 298 | Text size: A | A

When word filtered through that the fourth ODI at the SCG had been abandoned, it was not only the crowd of 22,521 who were intent on expressing their annoyance at the outcome. Sri Lanka's captain, Mahela Jayawardene, could not hide his frustration at seeing the match fail to resume in circumstances that heavily favoured his side, having beaten far worse conditions against New Zealand in Pallekele only three months ago.

Jayawardene said his team would write formally to the ICC match referee, Javagal Srinath, seeking an explanation for an inconsistency in rulings from one series to the next. Srinath had explained that play would not resume because he and the umpires Paul Reiffel and Marais Erasmus felt conditions were unfair, whereas in Sri Lanka the match referee, Andy Pycroft, had said play would only be stopped if deemed unsafe.

This robbed Sri Lanka of an ideal chance to finish the series off, having bowled superbly to restrict Australia to 9 for 222, and Jayawardene expressed surprise that a ground as rich in history and facilities as the SCG could not get the game re-started.

Conditions for calling off play

  • 3.5.3 Suspension of play for adverse conditions of ground, weather or light
  • If at any time the umpires together agree that the conditions of ground, weather or light are so bad that there is obvious and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire, so that it would be unreasonable or dangerous for play to take place, then they shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to commence or to restart. The decision as to whether conditions are so bad as to warrant such action is one for the umpires alone to make.
  • The fact that the grass and the ball are wet and slippery does not warrant the ground conditions being regarded as unreasonable or dangerous. If the umpires consider the ground is so wet or slippery as to deprive the bowler of a reasonable foothold, the fielders of the power of free movement, or the batsmen of the ability to play their strokes or to run between the wickets, then these conditions shall be regarded as so bad that it would be unreasonable for play to take place.

"We played New Zealand three months ago and the interpretation we got in that series was quite different to what we got today," Jayawardene said. "We played in Pallekele with a lot of rain and during the World Cup as well. I think we need to find a bit more consistency, so that's something we'll probably write and put across to them [the ICC] and see how we can go about it. At the SCG, I would assume that a ground of this magnitude you should be able to get a game in. Maybe they should do what we do back home and cover the entire ground.

"I think we can write to the match referee because the interpretation we got three months ago in the New Zealand series was something totally different. It was deemed that we'd only stop play if it was dangerous, not unfair, but today the interpretation was different. I accept that, it comes from the match referee and the umpires so I'm happy to take that on board, but it was two interpretations we got within a three-month period."

Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, had chosen to bat first upon winning the toss but Jayawardene, mindful of rain on the horizon and also the hosts' struggles against the swinging, seaming ball in the past two matches, had always set his mind on sending his opponents in.

"When we started today I was going to bowl," he said. "Purely because of the weather that was going to be around today, so we were going to bowl first thinking that if it comes to Duckworth-Lewis we would have a better idea of what we needed chasing, and our guys bowled brilliantly up front.

"With the rain coming in and the equation it would probably have been a much easier chase, but I guess we just need to put this behind us and look forward to the next game. We've played some really good cricket and it's just a little disappointment, but we can take a lot out of the last three games, how we've come back into the series and controlled things."

For his part, Clarke indicated his own surprise at the game not resuming, saying that he had seen matches played at the SCG where far more rain had drenched the ground. The curator, Tom Parker, had indicated that the delay was caused by light rain that sat on the surface rather than sinking in, while a lack of any breeze made evaporation more of a challenge.

"I think this ground is known for its drainage," Clarke said. "I've played a number of games here where it's held a lot more water than that and we've managed to get back on and play games of cricket. I think the hardest thing was the water didn't really sink in, it sat on top, there was no sun around and no wind.

"Sri Lanka would've loved to get back on there as the game got shorter. It was probably going to suit them a lot more. But we certainly wanted to play as well to give ourselves a chance to win the series. Unfortunately we can't win the series now, we can only level it."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mark2011 on (January 23, 2013, 15:29 GMT)

I think Srinath is no good as referee, as usual typical indian showing double standard,, ruin the good ODI match, whether it SL or Aus wins, this is poor decision by Javagal Srinath and he has simply taken different ground'unfiar'.. then how about SL playing in the dark of WC final in 2007, where was this unfair condition came to play. that was alsi against Aus. and even so called Gilchrist cheated using golf ball while batting... Aus are no gentlemen in plying the game. unfortunatley boneless Srinath just scared and favoured Aussies. Poor Javagak Srinath. No profesional at all.

Posted by Moppa on (January 23, 2013, 11:36 GMT)

@sri_Lankan_cric_fan, are you really saying that Sri Lanka were ahead of the Duckworth Lewis score after 17 overs before it started raining, and it was only the appalling weather conditions that led to them being 25 runs behind the DL score 8 overs later? Your desperation to find some excuse for Sri Lanka being beaten by the better team on the day is rather lame. Don't take it from me, take it from Mahela Jayawardene: "Australia deserved to win because the way they played today, simple as that." Source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/wc2007/content/story/292771.html As for the ICC apology, if you follow the same link you will see that the ICC apologised for the unnecessary bowling of the last 3 overs in terrible light - the game should have been called off before those 3 overs were bowled and Australia declared the winner at that point. The apology had nothing to do with the break after 24.5 overs of Sri Lanka's innings, at which point a full abandonment would have meant an Australian win

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 23, 2013, 0:18 GMT)

Danufur - I make no sense of your response, probably because you have no idea what I was talking about. Try and work it out before having a crack. There were comments on here saying that the only reason they were playing in the rain and darkness was because of Australia. This is untrue. Duckworth/Lewis was in application at the time and when it rained Australia would have been declared the winner so Sri lanka had to get on the field to win and they tried admirably. But this isnt Australias fault. How is squash ball in the glove manipulating the rule, how do Australia manipulate the rules, excessive trash talking - well thats barely been noticeable recently and Australia arent the only country that do it. Some Sri Lankan fans need to stop thinking the world is against them. There is always whinging whether it be Johnson legally breaking the hand of Sangakkara, neutral umpires calling of the game and seems the world cup final. It's country Vs country and the cricket should be competetive

Posted by sudakumbura on (January 23, 2013, 0:10 GMT)

Well said Mahela! It's not an insult but a fact. According to ICC standards, Pallekale is so much better than "SUPER" SCG and Australia can learn from Sri Lanka the way of dealing with weather.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 22, 2013, 22:08 GMT)

Habara - It seems Australians are excepting defeat in the first couple of games, but the Sri Lankan fans are not accepting that this is a draw. Feel sorry for us all you want, we're not delusional just realists.

Posted by Danufur on (January 22, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

@Shaggy076 - Since you want to talk about "how Australia got on with the job done in 2007"... Do you mean to say if this most recent ODI was played until the completion of about 25 overs and Sri Lanka was ahead on D/L, Australia would agree to call off the match and award the match to Sri Lanka due to "unfair" playing conditions? That statement is just bogus. Be it, squash balls in the gloves, manipulating the rules or excessive trash talking... Aussie cricket no longer has a brand worth watching.

Posted by bvnathan on (January 22, 2013, 17:35 GMT)

Aussies always figure out how to save a game when they are at the receiving end. I wonder what would have been the decision, if the Aussies were the team batting second with a chance to square the series.

Posted by Habara on (January 22, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

Feel sorry about poor Australia.simply they cannot accept a defeat.

Posted by kithsan31 on (January 22, 2013, 9:10 GMT)

The match was abandoned due to umpire error from the start. Both umpires gave 1 wrong decisions each in favor of SL and they needed to correct their mistake. both would have discussed this and rain would have been the blessing they would have been praying for. All in all every one in the ICC plays for AUS or ENG in one form or the other as every follower of cricket knows. Covering the who;e ground is not required as in most if not all the grounds have a good drainage system they boast of.

Posted by buwr on (January 22, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

Gyes think wisely it was cancelled simply because aussi number 9 batman scored a half century and if there was a match it was under D/L which is less target for sri lankans and they win it easily. Every time aussi tour comes it was with a lot of bull decisions and behaviors. They don't play any gentlemen game. and don't forget if sri lanka win tomarraw it will be only sri lanka who defeated aussies in Aussie for two times and clark and umpairs do what ever they can do to avoid this. For last game Lions have to fight against 14 (11 Playes, 2 Umpairs 1 Tv umpair)

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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