England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Edgbaston

SL claim series amid Senanayake controversy

The Report by Alan Gardner

June 3, 2014

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Sri Lanka 222 for 4 (Thirimanne 60*, Jayawardene 53) beat England 219 (Cook 54, Malinga 3-50) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Jos Buttler was run out at the non-striker's end by Sachithra Senanayake after leaving the crease early

Anyone who thought that Sachithra Senanayake being reported to the ICC for a suspect bowling action might be a cue for Sri Lanka to excuse him from duty, and the added attention it would bring, did not reckon with the player himself. Figures of 1 for 36, including the wicket of England's top-scorer, Alastair Cook, were just one thread of Sri Lanka's series-clinching six-wicket win but, by running out Jos Buttler while the batsman was backing up, Senanayake ensured that the narrative would be wound around him.

Mahela Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirimanne scored half-centuries as Sri Lanka kept cool in an atmosphere that was simultaneously heated and damp. England's bowlers, in particular James Tredwell and James Anderson, managed to ratchet up the asking rate but some business-like thumping from Angelo Mathews, who had to contend with a commentary from the fielding side over his role in Buttler's dismissal, sealed victory and another fortifying series triumph ahead of the Tests.

Mathews had earlier expressed his disappointment over Senanayake's situation - he is required to undergo biomechanical testing within the next 20 days - but Sri Lanka's capacity for turning adversity in their favour is well known. A comparable incident came during the triangular Carlton & United series in 1999, when Arjuna Ranatunga led his players off at Adelaide Oval after Ross Emerson no-balled Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing. England were again on the losing side, Sri Lanka chasing down a target of 303 with one wicket and two balls to spare.


Sachithra Senanayake carried on regardless having been reported for throwing at Lord's, England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Edgbaston, June 3, 2014
Sachithra Senanayake's impact on the match stretched far beyond his bowling figures © PA Photos
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As then, an offspinner with a controversial action was central to the drama. Having twice stopped in his delivery stride during the 42nd over to warn the batsmen - both Buttler and Chris Jordan - for backing up too far, Senanayake followed through on the threat in the 44th, turning slowly to break the wicket with Buttler a yard or so down the pitch.

The umpires consulted Mathews, Sri Lanka's captain, and he nodded his assent in upholding the appeal. That meant the first instance of 'Mankading' in international cricket since Peter Kirsten's innings was ended by Kapil Dev in such a manner during an ODI between South Africa and India in 1992.

There was predictable hostility from the crowd, even without suspicions over the legality of his bowling, but Senanayake was within his rights to make the appeal; the ICC changed its playing conditions in 2011 to allow bowlers to run out a batsman backing up at any point prior to releasing the ball, rather than before entering his delivery stride, as the MCC Laws state.

Buttler's dismissal, alongside creating a potential flashpoint, deprived England of their firestarter-in-chief for the closing overs of the innings. Although each of the top eight made it into double figures, no one could go beyond Cook's stodgy 56, as they were bowled out for 219 with 11 deliveries remaining. Despite losing 3 for 7 in 21 balls and having to contend with the threat of rain throughout, Sri Lanka were not greatly taxed in overhauling their target.

The openers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera, raised 50 together in the seventh over but Tredwell's introduction briefly threatened to turn the match. His second ball was crashed by Dilshan to cover, where Joe Root took a fabulous diving catch, before a pearler two overs later straightened on Kumar Sangakkara to clip the outside edge and be taken at slip. Kusal's dismissal, lbw to Anderson, left Sri Lanka 62 for 3 but England were left to regret a missed opportunity off Jayawardene when the batsman had 8 - a thick edge flying between Buttler and Jordan at slip - as a fourth-wicket stand of 98 carried the game away from them.

Cook reversed one of the trends of the series on winning the toss at Edgbaston, becoming the first captain to choose to bat. The innings began in watery sunlight, though gloom enveloped the ground as the afternoon wore on and the floodlights were required earlier than expected. The start of Sri Lanka's innings was then delayed by drizzle.

A 76-run opening stand provided England with the foundation they set so much store by but no other partnership was worth 30 , as the batsmen battled to score on a surface that was tackier than a velour leopard-print tracksuit. Cook hauled along the tumbrel of England's innings in familiar, dogged fashion, scoring his first ODI half-century in almost a year but, having reached 50 from 69 balls, he throttled back even further, partly in response to wickets falling, before being caught behind trying to sweep Senanayake for 56 from 84.

As England subsided, doddering to a premature end from an initially promising position of 98 for 1, a player they have so far overlooked in one-day cricket was making a more positive statement elsewhere. Alex Hales' 96-ball Championship hundred for Nottinghamshire, which he extended to 167 from 133, may turn out to be the most significant knock of the day, should England finally decide their World Cup strategy needs revision.

With the series locked at 2-2 and both sides in search of a decisive advantage, Mathews turned to Senanayake in the sixth over, perhaps as a public show of support for the unorthodox spinner. His first ball was toe-ended for four through gully by Cook but his composure and control did not desert him, even with the additional scrutiny, a five-over spell costing just 18 despite coming during the period of fielding restrictions.

Mathews was able to get through a few cheap overs from Dilshan and Ashan Priyanjan, the latter picking up Root, and the captain later brought himself on to good effect, having Eoin Morgan caught in the deep as wickets fell regularly.

England took the batting Powerplay at the earliest opportunity, suggesting a show of intent, but Mathews, fronting up in turn, bowled his spinners throughout and he was rewarded when Ian Bell chipped a return catch to Ajantha Mendis. Bell's innings was something of a curate's egg and he should have been taken on 18, when Mahela Jayawardene seemed to misjudge a straightforward catch above his head at midwicket, off a Nuwan Kulasekara legcutter.

Lasith Malinga was the next to strike, with England making seemingly comfortable progress at around five runs an over. They had hit the buffers long before Senanayake stepped into the full glare of the spotlight but that did not stop words being exchanged between the captains at the end. The Test series could be interesting.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (June 7, 2014, 10:33 GMT)

From an "impartial" Aussie, if such is possible. Butler and Jordan were both warned aginst backing up to far in the bowler's previous over. He did the sporting thing and gave both of them a chance each. In my opinion, leaving the crease before the ball is bowled is either (1) cheating, in which case if shown, any run scored from it should be discounted, or (2) ligitimate, but then you take the chance of being out of your crease and dismissed, as was the case here and is part of the RULES. Don't criticise when you try to gain and advantage and it backfires. It's not Senanayake who brings the game into question, Butler should have taken the warning as a nice gesture and not tried agin. Having being caught out again & punished, shutting up and wearing it is the appropriate response from him, his captain and those who don't read the rules.

Posted by Vodi81 on (June 6, 2014, 10:26 GMT)

What if Sena didnt run him out and warned him another time, Will buttler stay in his crease? Its all in the game. We also need to realize that walking when you know the ball hit your glove lifts the sprit of the game, Some tend to forget it

Posted by   on (June 6, 2014, 9:10 GMT)

It's not just a win, it's how you win. Bell's run out as he was walking to tea a few years ago (reinstated by Dhoni) was an example of the right thing to do. It was also a pivotal moment, and Dhoni went on to lose the Test. Mankading Buttler was the wrong thing to do. Keep control of your emotions. It's how you play as well as the result. Otherwise, go do something else. SL may have been the better side and could have won anyway (Eng are at a low point in their trajectory). In their quieter moments, they probably all realise this was not a good look, and not good for cricket.

Posted by   on (June 6, 2014, 1:37 GMT)

England can never talk about the spirit of the game. If the way Butler got out is not within the cricket rules and regulations the umpires should not give him out. About the spirit of the game the worst act in this England/Sri Lanka series is hiring the Sri Lanka coach as assistant coach just before the beginning of this series by England. No one is talking about this third grade act. Understand why Sri Lankans did not talk about this point. Its just because they did not want to make this a big issue before the beginning of the series.They did not want to upset the good vibrations or the spirit of the game.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (June 6, 2014, 1:10 GMT)

How is it in the spirit of cricket to cut down the number of yards you will need to run by stepping out of the crease when you are not supposed to, even by a mm? How is it lacking in spirit to send such an unfair batsman back to the pavilion? And what's with the umpires getting on high horses and demonizing the bowlers who appeal, as though this is unfair? The umpires need to get proper training. A batsman taking unfair advantage was rightly shown his place. End of story. Don't look at it as a Brit or a Sri Lankan. Unfair advantage is not on, be it a batsman or a bowler. Is it ok if bowlers tamper the ball to gain an unfair advantage? Is it ok if bowlers overstep the crease by a mm, let alone a yard and a half? Batsman cannot be out for that mm overstep by the bowler and the next thing you see is a free-hit - play as you want and you cannot be out. Isn't it shameful that we all have been mute spectators to these kinds of step-motherly rules? People on high horses - are you all serious?

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (June 5, 2014, 8:54 GMT)

I expected better from SL. This happened once during my local cricket & it caused the only fight ive ever seen between cricket teams! The overall loser here is cricket.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 22:25 GMT)

Better team won the series. Everything else is just a bunch of distractions, just concentrate on the stuff that matters.

Congratulations, Sri Lanka! England, please, stop whinging.

KEEP ROARING, SRI LANKA! <3 <3

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 22:09 GMT)

Can someone please explain why this incident is not in the spirit of the game. It is clearly in the rule book, Butler didn't trip and fall he was trying to gain an extra yard to his run. I can understand if you runout a batsmen when the has collided with the bowler and people call it not in the spirit of the game.

Posted by athukorala on (June 4, 2014, 18:52 GMT)

It does not happen often because once a batsman is warned, normally we are more careful. If Butler was warned several times, but still continued to do so, he was pushing the envelope - daring the SLs. I fully support SL team's decision. It is hypocritical for Boycott say 'no unfair advantage'. Why would we have creases then…?

Posted by 5wombats on (June 4, 2014, 18:02 GMT)

The run out of Buttler backing up is DISGRACEFUL. I see school boys doing it. I don't expect to see adults doing it - but that's just what Sri Lanka did. Disgraceful. Shame on you Sri Lanka.

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