England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Edgbaston June 3, 2014

Jayawardene defends Buttler Mankading


Mahela Jayawardene has defended the Sri Lanka team after England's captain, Alastair Cook, suggested "a line had been crossed" in the deciding ODI of the series between England and Sri Lanka.

Jayawardene insisted that Sri Lanka were left with little option but to run out Jos Buttler in the 44th over after the batsman, at the non-striker's end, repeatedly backed-up too far. While it was the spinner Sachithra Senanayake who removed the bails midway through his bowling action, the umpires offered Sri Lanka captain, Angelo Mathews, the opportunity to withdraw the appeal before they gave Buttler out. It was the first instance of 'Mankading' in international cricket since 1992.

Alastair Cook, the England captain, denounced the incident as "a pretty poor act" and suggested he would not have behaved in the same manner.

"I thought it was disappointing," Cook said. "There's a line and that line was crossed here. I've never seen it before in the game and I was pretty disappointed by it. As captain of your country, there are certain ways you want your team to operate. And obviously he is fine with it. He has said he will do it again.

"You don't know what you would do if you were put in that situation, in the heat of the moment, until you are. I'd like to think I wouldn't do it, but I suppose you just don't know.

"I haven't been in the situation, as captain of England, where I have had to make a 'spirit of cricket' call. Paul Collingwood had one a few years ago and admitted afterwards that, in the heat of the moment, he probably made a mistake.

"If he was properly trying to steal a single, I could possibly understand it. But he was half a yard out of his crease. It's pretty disappointing."

But Jayawardene, defending his captain and his team, revealed that Sri Lanka had warned Buttler twice before the incident and felt he had been claiming an unfair advantage by leaving his ground early.

"We gave him a fair chance," Jayawardene said. "Twice. Before the first warning, we told the umpires that he was taking too much of a lead and then he was warned again. We had to do that, because they kept doing it.

"We analysed our game after Lord's. They took 22 twos in the last 12 overs. Ravi Bopara and him ran riot. And most of the time they were taking starts that are not legal by the written laws. We just wanted to make sure we got a fair chance. We warned them and we warned the umpires, but they didn't listen to us, so we had to take the right steps.

"We always try to play in the right spirit, but if the other team is not playing in the right spirit and not going with the law, then unfortunately we had to take the law into our hands. It was the third time. It is fair enough, I think. We all need to play by the rules.

"If the other sides are not going by the rules, then they're not playing by the spirit, so what can you do?"

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo; Alan Gardner is an Assistant Editor

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lalith on June 7, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    What Mahela said was exactly correct. England and Butler did not play the fair game or spirit of the game. Butler was at least 1 meter away from the crease before the bal was bowled in this instant. So what is the fair play?

  • Leonard on June 7, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    The Rules exist for a reason, so Eng have to respect that. Once again Cook looking for excuses for loosing the ODI series. Whether its in the spirit of the game or not,you have to front up and accept that Eng did not perform well enough. Watching England in this series, it made me feel like they were missing something,,Kevin Pieterson could have made a difference as ODI captain,,,Cook's batting seams to one dimensional,,,,his body language says it all.

  • Dummy4 on June 7, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    Cook says Angelo " Crossed a Line" , but the fact is Buttler " crossed the line" way too early !!!

  • Dummy4 on June 7, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Though I respect Alastair Cook as a cricketer and as a man, I cannot agree with his statement of Sri Lanka "crossing a line". What Senanayake did is within the rules of the game as well as giving him a couple of warnings prior to taking action. Sorry Jos Butler and Alastair Cook, you need to take your punishment and not complain.

  • Dummy4 on June 6, 2014, 20:07 GMT

    You warn the batsman first as a courtesy, after that he is fair game.

  • udaya on June 6, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Get your selves organized England, Do not blame the other side for your 'own mistakes' but try to rectify them like GENTLEMEN ,


  • Ramzi on June 6, 2014, 2:29 GMT

    @coldcoffee123 i played 9 years of 1st class cricket bt i nvr leave b4 ball hs been delivered itz a simple thing if u watching bowler bowled u will leave automaticaly it s simple thing.

  • Tim on June 5, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    A line was crossed, by Buttler. It was the crease and he crossed it too early too often.

  • Ajay on June 5, 2014, 22:49 GMT

    As a professional cricketer Buttler should have known better. In spite of being warned, if he still went out, at least a yard from the looks of it - it is difficult to find a good explanation for it that could complement Buttler's intelligence.

    Instead of asking Buttler what was he thinking, Cook complaining that a line was crossed is puerile. Are they school kids?

    For an international captain to say "a line is crossed" is rank disrespect for the game, opposition and rules. I can understand if Buttler was pushed out and then run out, then a line was crossed. He was plain dumb to do it. And paid the price for it.

    I respect Angelo for siding with him teammate - regardless of what his personal take on it was. That is leadership - back your team mates.

  • Dummy4 on June 5, 2014, 21:21 GMT

    Cook needs to stop resting on the traditional values of this gentlemenly game when they haven't existed for yonks.

    Does he forget when Ryan Sidebottom knocked Grant Elliot from NZ over, they ran him out - a disgrace, and Paul Collingwood upheld his appeal to the umpire. England's just as guilty of being poor sports as anyone else.

    And that's what the crease is there for.

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