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

Senanayake catches Buttler dozing

Jos Buttler should have known better when Sachithra Senanayake warned him about backing up too far - the bowler does not deserve criticism for 'Mankading'
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Play 01:14
Highlight: Sachithra Senanayake runs out Jos Buttler after the non-striker left his crease before the bowler's delivery

There was little doubt what the Birmingham crowd thought to the run-out of Jos Buttler. Boos rang out around Edgbaston every time Sachithra Senanayake touched the ball following his decision to end Buttler's innings. Already utilising an action that some in England - a conservative country in cricketing terms - believe to be dubious, Senanayake will now forever be cast in the role of villain after running out the home side's golden boy in a rare instance of 'Mankading' in the international game.

Buttler, the non-striking batsman, had backed up too far. He was out of his crease. Senanayake, the bowler, had warned him in the previous over. He warned him, clearly and in sight of the umpires, that if Buttler continued to back up out of his crease, he would remove the bails and complete the run out.

After the incident, the umpires asked the Sri Lanka captain, Angelo Mathews, whether he wanted to withdraw the appeal. He confirmed that he did not and the umpires had no option. Buttler was clearly out. That left England 199 for 7 - they ended up making 219 in the deciding ODI of the series.

Such a dismissal is unusual, unpopular and creates a good deal of confusion. But it is not illegitimate and none of the umpires, Mathews or Senanayake deserve criticism. Indeed, you could argue that any other decision would have been illogical and, in an age where the game is on its guard against match-fixing, highly dubious. It might be compared to allowing a batsman a life after he had been stumped.

The confusion stems from the fact that the ICC playing conditions - effectively the rules under which international cricket takes place - differ from the Laws of the game as prescribed by the MCC. And, as a consequence, the rules that applied previously - the rules that most cricket lovers grew-up with - have also changed.

The MCC (Law 42.15) states that "The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible."

But the ICC's playing regulation 42.11, which replaces Law 42.15 in international cricket, states: "The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal dead ball as soon as possible."

The crucial difference is that, while the MCC states the run out attempt must come before the bowler enters his delivery stride, the ICC allow it to come any time before the bowler completes his "delivery swing".

Nor is there, within the ICC playing regulations, any requirement to warn the batsman prior to the appeal. Senanayake was not only quite within his rights, he had actually offered Buttler an unnecessary courtesy. In a game where fine margins can decide results, Senanayake's decision to deny Buttler a few inches was simply pragmatic. He would have been a fool to do anything else.

England would be better served to look at their own faults rather than wallow in the indulgent belief that they have been wronged. It is irrelevant if Sri Lanka were reacting to news that Senanayake's action has been reported as suspect and it is irrelevant that Buttler was 'only' a little out of his ground: a line has to be drawn in these matters and, when it comes to a batsman being within his ground, that line is the crease. Buttler was guilty of some dozy cricket and should learn from the experience.

It should also be remembered that England were still shy of 200 at the time. Twice they had gone seven overs in their innings without hitting a boundary. They were already coming second in this game. Senanayake's intervention only played a minor part in their sub-par total.

Besides, Buttler should have known better. Not only was he warned but he experienced a similar incident in a county match between Surrey and Somerset in 2012 when his team-mate, Alex Barrow, was run out by Murali Kartik, who was then playing for Surrey as an overseas player.

You do wonder what Chris Adams thought, though. Adams, who was the Surrey coach at Taunton and is currently on the Sri Lanka staff as a consultant, described the incident as "regrettable" at the time.

It is also unusual. In an ODI at the Gabba in 2012, Virender Sehwag, the on-field captain for India at the time, withdrew an appeal after Ravi Ashwin ran out Lahiru Thirimane. While Sehwag's action may warrant praise, it might also be considered weak. He later explained it by suggesting he would have been criticised for any other decision.

Cricket needs to move on from the nebulous concept of 'gentlemanly' play and 'spirit.' It has playing conditions. It has Laws. It should stick with them and avoid being dragged into the mire that will be inevitable if it applies them sparingly.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ultracoach on June 6, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    Does anyone here remember Murali-Gilchrist event. Just a reminder. Murali after completing the run, turns back to congratulate his partner who reached a milestone. Gilchrist received the ball and "Run-Out" Murali, because he walked out of the crease "the worng way". What was the argument then? "Batsmen at this level should know the rules, and Rules are Rules" was the line of argument in that incident. Why different views for different teams/situations?

  • on June 6, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    what is the next step after some one giving warning twice against an action taken by the opposite....(don't say "giving him another warning").iit's nothing else other than taking the due actoin..and that was what senanayke did...the rule was not set by the sri lankans...why have rules if those are not to be used?.if sri lankans did the same you people would have thaken the action...and in such a case we..sri lankans wolud take no offence as it was leggal

  • on June 5, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    I think this law is fine and should be followed just like getting stumped. No reason to leave crease prior to ball being delivered. Its high time fielding team gets something back. Its quite simple to be honest, a lesson well learnt.

  • on June 5, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    @DoctorBev - Are you being serious mate or is it another pom whining? No one starts sprinting unless the ball has been played or its the last ball and you need 1 run to win. Are you saying that Buttler would not have take a single if there was one to be taken, just because he had backed up? I bet he would have started sprinting to steal a single?

  • ultracoach on June 5, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    Cook should have realised, Buttler is the one who crossed the line. Thats why he was out. We all know how tight some run out decisions get these days. By moving out of the crease before the ball is delivered Buttler would have got an advantage over a tight run. Had Buttler taken a single and a tight run-out decision was to be made would he have given up a few inches and consider himself out? All the argument about spirit etc are irrelevant. Buttler was out of the crease which is not right, he was warned. What was he thinking when he continued to walk even after being warned. If one wants to talk about spirit of the game, then it should start with the batsmen staying behind the line. Nothing wrong with Sri Lanka's approach in this case.

  • DoctorBev on June 5, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Does anyone here actually play the game? Buttler was not sprinting halfway down the wicket to steal an unfair advantage. Senanayake was right to push the boundaries but Matthews should be ashamed of himself for upholding the appeal. Noone who has been involved in a game where this form of dismissal has taken place feels good about themselves (I have and all 22 players felt grubby) and to resort to reductive arguments about the laws being the only arbiters of justice is a massive cop out.

    I'm sure you all enjoyed the hard contest between Flintoff, Harmison and Lee in 2005 and the subsequent iconic Freddie-Brett handshake? How legendary would it have been if Harmison had Mankaded Lee or Kasprowiscz to win the crucial 2nd Test.

    As for criticising Cook for stating that Matthews has crossed the line. He's absolutely right! And his inadequacies and his squad's limitations are a totally separate issue. Don't be intellectually inadequate and conflate the two topics of discussion.

  • SingingShortLeg on June 5, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    Dobell is right to draw attention to the difference between the MCC and ICC laws. I was unaware of this difference and thought that the MCC rule was the only one. But has anyone thought of the implications of people doing this regularly. Most batsmen backing up move forward out of their crease as Buttler did, timing their movement to cross the crease as the bowler delivers. The fact is Senanayake dummied bowling and by the time he took the bails off Buttler had left the crease. Buttler would have not been out of his ground if he had carried out his action as normal. If this becomes a regular occurrence an IPL game for instance might last over 8 hours. Perhaps they will be able to work in some kind of Max mankad break. IMO the umpire should have stepped in when Senanayake warned Butller and said, 'what for? He isn't doing anything different to any other player every delivery'. If people can't see that this was unsportsmanlike, then a rule change is needed. MCC law or Mankad outlawed.

  • Kavum on June 5, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    This is a gift that just keeps on giving, innit? Some points: there is still confusion. Commentator Mikey Holding authoritatively read out MCC 42.15 and not the supervening ICC 42.11 as the applicable law. But he did say that Sachitra was not into his delivery stride. Second, amorphous concepts like "spirit" and other unwritten codes exist to supplement the written rules when there are gaps, NOT as superior norms that trump the laid down rules. When a comprehensive set of laws exists and is followed, no "spirit" argument should override rules set out in black and white. Third, what an absurdity it is to say that Buttler was not looking for a run (made easier by his "start") in the 44th over of an ODI when England was not doing so well. If he was merely taking a walk - he is incompetent and, as some have called him, "dozy" and deserved what he got. Last, Chef: is the non-striker taking a start before the ball is bowled your conception of acting in 'the spirit'? 'Nuff said.

  • ninjalord on June 5, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Buttler was warned twice. He would have known it was a possibility. I dont agree with the way it was carried out though. After the 2 warnings then the Mankad, the Sri Lankan team should have withdrawn the appeal. After that if he was Mankaded then he had it coming. I dont think what happened was in the spirit of the game.

  • md4cric on June 5, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    I watched the video.Senanayake is clearly in his delievery stride.His both feet are in the crease and the bowling arm rotating and now he Unbowls and uses the same arm to Run Jos Butler out. As of today's law he's delievering the ball--he should not be given run out. For future it Can not be Run out -Spinners run up is slow enough to trick the non striker and I think game can not be and should not be played with tricks. Table Tennis server must show the ball to the opponent , similarly the cricket ball once shown( not physically but the bowling arm movement) can not be recalled by the bowler.

  • ultracoach on June 6, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    Does anyone here remember Murali-Gilchrist event. Just a reminder. Murali after completing the run, turns back to congratulate his partner who reached a milestone. Gilchrist received the ball and "Run-Out" Murali, because he walked out of the crease "the worng way". What was the argument then? "Batsmen at this level should know the rules, and Rules are Rules" was the line of argument in that incident. Why different views for different teams/situations?

  • on June 6, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    what is the next step after some one giving warning twice against an action taken by the opposite....(don't say "giving him another warning").iit's nothing else other than taking the due actoin..and that was what senanayke did...the rule was not set by the sri lankans...why have rules if those are not to be used?.if sri lankans did the same you people would have thaken the action...and in such a case we..sri lankans wolud take no offence as it was leggal

  • on June 5, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    I think this law is fine and should be followed just like getting stumped. No reason to leave crease prior to ball being delivered. Its high time fielding team gets something back. Its quite simple to be honest, a lesson well learnt.

  • on June 5, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    @DoctorBev - Are you being serious mate or is it another pom whining? No one starts sprinting unless the ball has been played or its the last ball and you need 1 run to win. Are you saying that Buttler would not have take a single if there was one to be taken, just because he had backed up? I bet he would have started sprinting to steal a single?

  • ultracoach on June 5, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    Cook should have realised, Buttler is the one who crossed the line. Thats why he was out. We all know how tight some run out decisions get these days. By moving out of the crease before the ball is delivered Buttler would have got an advantage over a tight run. Had Buttler taken a single and a tight run-out decision was to be made would he have given up a few inches and consider himself out? All the argument about spirit etc are irrelevant. Buttler was out of the crease which is not right, he was warned. What was he thinking when he continued to walk even after being warned. If one wants to talk about spirit of the game, then it should start with the batsmen staying behind the line. Nothing wrong with Sri Lanka's approach in this case.

  • DoctorBev on June 5, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Does anyone here actually play the game? Buttler was not sprinting halfway down the wicket to steal an unfair advantage. Senanayake was right to push the boundaries but Matthews should be ashamed of himself for upholding the appeal. Noone who has been involved in a game where this form of dismissal has taken place feels good about themselves (I have and all 22 players felt grubby) and to resort to reductive arguments about the laws being the only arbiters of justice is a massive cop out.

    I'm sure you all enjoyed the hard contest between Flintoff, Harmison and Lee in 2005 and the subsequent iconic Freddie-Brett handshake? How legendary would it have been if Harmison had Mankaded Lee or Kasprowiscz to win the crucial 2nd Test.

    As for criticising Cook for stating that Matthews has crossed the line. He's absolutely right! And his inadequacies and his squad's limitations are a totally separate issue. Don't be intellectually inadequate and conflate the two topics of discussion.

  • SingingShortLeg on June 5, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    Dobell is right to draw attention to the difference between the MCC and ICC laws. I was unaware of this difference and thought that the MCC rule was the only one. But has anyone thought of the implications of people doing this regularly. Most batsmen backing up move forward out of their crease as Buttler did, timing their movement to cross the crease as the bowler delivers. The fact is Senanayake dummied bowling and by the time he took the bails off Buttler had left the crease. Buttler would have not been out of his ground if he had carried out his action as normal. If this becomes a regular occurrence an IPL game for instance might last over 8 hours. Perhaps they will be able to work in some kind of Max mankad break. IMO the umpire should have stepped in when Senanayake warned Butller and said, 'what for? He isn't doing anything different to any other player every delivery'. If people can't see that this was unsportsmanlike, then a rule change is needed. MCC law or Mankad outlawed.

  • Kavum on June 5, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    This is a gift that just keeps on giving, innit? Some points: there is still confusion. Commentator Mikey Holding authoritatively read out MCC 42.15 and not the supervening ICC 42.11 as the applicable law. But he did say that Sachitra was not into his delivery stride. Second, amorphous concepts like "spirit" and other unwritten codes exist to supplement the written rules when there are gaps, NOT as superior norms that trump the laid down rules. When a comprehensive set of laws exists and is followed, no "spirit" argument should override rules set out in black and white. Third, what an absurdity it is to say that Buttler was not looking for a run (made easier by his "start") in the 44th over of an ODI when England was not doing so well. If he was merely taking a walk - he is incompetent and, as some have called him, "dozy" and deserved what he got. Last, Chef: is the non-striker taking a start before the ball is bowled your conception of acting in 'the spirit'? 'Nuff said.

  • ninjalord on June 5, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Buttler was warned twice. He would have known it was a possibility. I dont agree with the way it was carried out though. After the 2 warnings then the Mankad, the Sri Lankan team should have withdrawn the appeal. After that if he was Mankaded then he had it coming. I dont think what happened was in the spirit of the game.

  • md4cric on June 5, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    I watched the video.Senanayake is clearly in his delievery stride.His both feet are in the crease and the bowling arm rotating and now he Unbowls and uses the same arm to Run Jos Butler out. As of today's law he's delievering the ball--he should not be given run out. For future it Can not be Run out -Spinners run up is slow enough to trick the non striker and I think game can not be and should not be played with tricks. Table Tennis server must show the ball to the opponent , similarly the cricket ball once shown( not physically but the bowling arm movement) can not be recalled by the bowler.

  • richcricketguru on June 4, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    George has missed the elephant in the room. The problem is that the Sri Lankan (and Australian, Indian, etc) batsman also move down the pitch out of their crease on many many deliveries. Usually it is not so much as to give an advantage but it happens - how much is too much? If you are over an inch then you are out! So what happens if every bowler now stops and takes off the bails on a regular basis to check or "teach the batter a lesson"? We will have many SL batters run out, many stops in play for dead balls and constant checking by the third umpire. The problem is the "law" is only applied in a haphazard manner by a bowler or team when they feel it will give them an advantage. How many times do you think Angelo Mathews and the other SL batters moved out of the crease "illegally" in the series? Lots! And did they get run out? Maybe it should become the umpire's responsibility to monitor and keep it within reasonable bounds?

  • on June 4, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    He was warned twice, end of story. There should be no further debate.

  • CamHodgson on June 4, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    What do people expect Sri Lanka to do? Say to Buttler, "Hey, we warned you twice already, let's make it three?"

    Buttler crept out of the crease, and got warned. He crept out again, and got warned again. He crept out AGAIN, and Sri Lanka did what they said they would do, run him out.

    Alistair Cook's complete lack of responsibility, and preference to blame others, makes their Ashes drubbing seem less surprising. Buttler screwed up despite being warned multiple times, so he faced the consequence, deal with it.

  • Ind_Fan_in_US on June 4, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    To Mike Leach - hear are the specifics of the situation. Buttler was warned, he should have been careful, wasn't, he was caught out of the crease. You wouldn't fault a wicket-keeper for stumping a batsman who didn't realize he was back in the crease after stepping out, would you? The batsman is responsible for his position, no one else.

  • on June 4, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    Matthews the 'team man' should be admired for standing by his bowler and for what he believed was right within the laws of the game just like he did during Chandiml's century in 2011, another instance Cook invoked his Cricketing Gods. If Buttler was repeating his behaviour after having been warned twice he was really thumbing his nose at the bowling side and the "spirit of cricket" Who crossed any lines here?

  • on June 4, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Alastair cook should focus on improving his captaincy rather than posting such comments. there was no senanayeke when england got drubbed 5-0 in the ashes. And yeah..if whatever joe root did was within the spirit of cricket den this too definitely was by some distance. cook is trying to hide his failures behind dis.

  • amitdi on June 4, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    @Mike Leach: Would a no-ball be deemed legit if "in principle" the bowler is not trying to gain by stepping out? Because principles are tough to determine, a line has been drawn. If principles worked, we would not have rules.

  • on June 4, 2014, 17:39 GMT

    @Mike Leach - So are you suggesting that if there was a single to be taken Butler would have denied it, simply because he was out of the crease? Or do you think he would have stolen the single?

    Do you know the reason for having a crease in the game of cricket?

  • xylo on June 4, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    Umpires should not put the captain in a spot and make it look like the batsman is innocent. The umpire does not ask the captain when the bowler appeals for an LBW or run-out. Just get the batsman out, and if the batsman resists, let the match referee deal with him.

  • md111 on June 4, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Firstly Buttler should have made sure he was well inside his crease when warned by the bowler (something he didn't have to do).

    All akin to underarm server in tennis, making your opponent putt from an inch away in matchplay golf. Something entirely legal but not great for the game. The image has been tarnished indeed on cricinfo itself it describes it as the gentlemans game. Well it isn't anymore it is professional sport and any edge as taken by the bowler/fielding team yesterday in the 'mankading' and root stading after the most obvious glove is common place.

    Incidents like this drive sport let's hope for some sensible reply to this.

  • Malij on June 4, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    I just can't see why umpire Michael Gough wanted to consult the Sri Lankan captain before giving Buttler out. Umpire's are supposed to be the judges of the cricketing laws in the middle. Hesitation to implement the law could be seen as partiality ....

  • on June 4, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    The spirit of the game cannot be made an excuse for utter ignorance and lack of awareness! The crease is there for a reason and that is so that the bastman stay inside the crease and the bowler bowls from inside the crease, if the bowler should ball from within the crease then why should a batsman be allowed to go outside the crease before a ball is bowled? How can that be within the realms of the spirit of cricket? Joe Root did not walk when he was caught after the ball hit him full on on the gloves and unless he has no feeling in his fingers he must have known where the ball hit him, he did not walk because it was within the laws of the game to continue unless the umpire gives you out, but then if the spirit of the game is such why didn't he walk? Where was the so called spirit of the game when Collingwood upheld the appeal when Sidebottom collided with Elliot and he was run out? the spirit of the game is not there to be used for your advantage or to cover up your ignorant mistakes!

  • willsrustynuts on June 4, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    You forget George that the game is played for the paying public. You and, more importantly, the players in the middle would do well to remember that.

    Cricketers live in a rarified environment so maybe they can be excused for forgetting that the paying punter does not want to see this. We are tired of 'gamesmenship' of this sort and we need journalists to support us in this, not defend the undefendable.

    Next time you should consider the punters as well as the players/coaches/administrators.

  • on June 4, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    The umpires should not ask the captain's opinion in any case. In which dismissal does the umpires ask for the fielding captain's opinion? Just like LBW, caught etc. this is another form of dismissal under the laws of cricket! mankading or whatever the pet name given it is a run out and that's what it should be called. There is no reason for the umpire to go seek the opinion of the fielding captain and make the fielding side look guilty if they stick to the appeal they made and escalate the whole issue! An appeal was made for a run out and if the bastman is out of his crease the umpire should simply raise his finger and get on with the game rather than acting like toddlers and going to get opinions and making it a big fiasco! Butler was run out in my opinion and that is all there to it.

  • priya65 on June 4, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    Why bring the MCC laws in here? This is not a game played at some remote village. Players are well aware of the rules when it comes to sponsorship and details and fine details of IPL advertising so on. Suddenly do they become innocent bunch of kids who just have the curious habit of walking about before the bowler delivers? Senanayaka didn't fake it. He took some time even before breaking the stumps. If you are a good kid who just happens to walk isn't it nice to come back to the crease before starting to run? He never did anything of that sort during the other day where they ran like hares, always sneaking a lead This is good. People will find the courage to do it in future, this is part and parcel of the game let's go ahead with it. By the way England played an awful game on the day, No Mankad can cover it up for 'the Cook" who says that they were waiting till the 44 th over for the golden boy to spice up the soup !

  • ruester on June 4, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    I was warned once by a bowler in club cricket about backing up out of my crease. The result I stayed in my crease and wasn't dozy enough to ignore the warning.

  • on June 4, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    'Mankading' in principle is perfectly fine if the batsman really is stealing ground. Buttler, however, was still in his crease when Senanayake began his delivery stride and was, effectively, dummied out. Why are so many people reluctant to address the specifics of a situation?

  • on June 4, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    Return to the MCC Law 42.15 but allow the umpires to give a first and final warning to the batsman, thereafter awarding 5 penalty runs. This will place the responsibility where it belongs, with the umpires, and will avoid accusations of unfair or unsportsmanlike behaviour.

    Please stop tinkering with tried and tested Laws of Cricket.

  • DrJez on June 4, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    When arguing about what is acceptable, as opposed to what is legal, it is not sufficient just to look at what Buttler did. That is only one side of the story. What we should also be looking at is the way the other players behave. If 22 players are out of their crease, it is unreasonable to pick out Buttler, regardless of whether he was actually in breach of the regulations. So let's see some film of the other players before condemning Buttler.

  • Bansam on June 4, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    In present day cricket everything is fair if permitted by rules. There was a time when batsman walked away before umpires decision, Fielders admitted to taking bumped catches. Cricket has become so competitive that players now play only by the rules. So mankading is fair after giving sufficient warning. Any side cannot allow batsman to get runs by being halfway down the pitch before the ball is released, Previous match both Butler and Ravi collected many runs by doing this, Finally the booing crowd at Birmingham should realise that England cannot talk of ethics after pinching the Sri Lankan coach just before the matches against Sri Lanka.

  • IndianInnerEdge on June 4, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    Vinoo Mankad had given the Aus Batsman-Bill Brown a warning before running him out in this manner this led to this dismissal being labelled as being Mankaded'. The mankad's are a fine cricketing family of at least three generations who have played cricket at the highest levels (at least two gen) in the fairest of spirits, with fun and joie-de-vivre as part of their game. It is a pity and a travesty of the game that their fair name has been linked with this controversial form of dismissal. I would prefer this to be called a bowler's runout or some other fancy jargon. coming back - dunno why AC is trying to mask his team inadequencies by playing up this incident, well this will spice up the test series for sure. SL was correct in appealing and getting the dismissal , similar to lahiru thirimanne's incident in 2012 when he was warned before the ump offered the decision to viru who retracted the appeal. I do recall Mahela saying-'We dont play this way'!...any ways looking 4 a good test m8

  • TommytuckerSaffa on June 4, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    Probably the best headline summing up the situation. Having watched the replay on the internet. It must be the most slack bit of backing up I have seen in a long time. Literally dozing off. I am not sure if he is arrogant in thinking he wont be given out for stealing ground or unaware of the rules.

  • Anurag_Chandak on June 4, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    There is no scope for the 'Laws' and the 'Spirit of the game' to take opposite views in Cricket. Anything that is in the law is well within the spirit of the game. I agree with the actions of Murali Kartik, Ashwin and Senanayake. An alternate solution to this conundrum can be -5 penalty runs for the batting side each time such a run-out is affected. By introducing such a direct correlation with runs, the laws and the 'spirit of the game' will be synergystic.

  • on June 4, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    A very fair article. Although the incident was regretable it was within the rules. A talented batsman like Buttler should have known better and been more responsible, as much was expected from him. I was also impressed with the other very fair comments by English fans. A lesson for all our South Asian writers who take defeat very badly. We grew up admiring the fairness of the English and their appreciation of good cricket, irrespective of the country you represented. This article by George Dobell confirmed that this fading light of fairness is still flickering.

  • ladycricfan on June 4, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    Icc and mcc should make the rule clear cut. The batsman can be run out any time between the bowler starting the run up and he releases the ball. No ambiguity. The ball become alive when he starts the run up. Bowler can't Mankad when the ball is not in his hand. It should be a straight forward out like hit wicket / ball gracing bowlers hand and hit the wicket off the striker's straight drive.

  • on June 4, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    Well said, George!. Mankading is a very legitimate form of dismissal and bowlers should use it as much as possible. The umpires should stop making a seen out of it, just decide whether the batsman is out or not and get on with it.

  • on June 4, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    Keith John's comment is very thought provoking now it is up to the ICC to include in the rule books a firm clause on this issue that umpires need not consult the fielding side captain to rule out the batsman when so called mankading is effected. As it appears now that the umpire begs for mercy on behalf of the batsmen a very cockeyed situation.

  • KeithJohn on June 4, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    In my opinion, a mankad is no less fair than when a striker's straight drive rockets through the bowler's hands and hits the stumps with the non-striker out of his ground. Of course, umpires rightly treat that as they do a regulation run-out. Just as they should with the mankad. I see no reason whatsoever for the on-field umpires to ask the Captain. Do they do that for all other decisions???

  • Copernicus on June 4, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    Mankading is fine - with so many other rules stacked in batsmen's favour why should they be allowed to steal singles as well? Senanayake's disgracefully blatant chucking is another matter entirely however.

  • NAKumar on June 4, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    English players and a section of of the media are creating a controversy out of nothing to divert attention from the fact that they played poorly and lost to Sri Lanka.

  • on June 4, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    Yeah,as a Sri Lankan i feel these kinds of incidents create animosity BUT at the same time what Butler did too was not correct after 2 warnings he did not respect the warnings given to him.I am undecided.

  • on June 4, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    Finally an English writer who is not prejudice and seems to understand how the game should be played fairly and squarely.

  • on June 4, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    Wonderful analysis by George. This spirit of the game was applcable to bygone years before the game was professionalized and commercialized beyond imagination. What is the difference between running out of the non-striker by the bowlerr and batsmanr being stumped by the wicket keeper? Only difference is that it takes places at the opposite ends of the 22 yards. Why such a big commotion? Cooks remarks and behaviour aftter the incident was highly uncalled for. It should have been the main umpire who should have given Buttler out in the first place without waiting for Matherw's confirmation. Would an umpire wait for the fielding captian's approval for a stumping by his wicketkeeper? What is this nonsense? What I see as showing of the spirit of the game could be attributed to some other incidents where no governing laws and written regulations are available. It could be an incident such as a fielder deciding not to run out a batsman hurting himself before completing a run.

  • on June 4, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    well commented. its all vey well to call on the spirit...when it suits. Forewarned and given out all within the law. Beautiful.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on June 4, 2014, 1:28 GMT

    thank you mr Dobell. now just hope team england and Mr cook sees and reads this article before continuing to cry 'un-spirited display' by SL !

  • Draconarius on June 4, 2014, 0:13 GMT

    Great article. The hatred held for 'Mankading' has been a source of confusion for me for some time. If the batsman is out of his crease while a member of the opposing side has possession of a live ball, he should expect to be run out. If he doesn't want to be run out, he should stay in his crease. End of discussion.

  • on June 3, 2014, 23:51 GMT

    I agree with Karthik. When TV replays are being used for no balls, run outs and stumpings, why not this? He had no business to leave the crease before the ball is delivered. Why is it a bowler is punished for bowling a no ball? England, do not be cry babies. Sri Lanka were right in their decision.

  • jj0685 on June 3, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    Don't understand why it is considered to be controversial, Bulter was trying to get an unfair advantage, he was warned by the bowler. I don't know why the umpire needs to consult the captain. He was out. It does not matter if the batsman was a few inches out of the crease or half way down the pitch, he was trying to get an unfair advantage. England should be disappointed with the way played today. I don't for one minute think the SL bowler did anything wrong.

  • jmcilhinney on June 3, 2014, 23:21 GMT

    With regards to the non-dismissal of Thirimane, it's worth remembering that, at the time, SL were quite vocal about the incident and Mahela Jayawardene said "we don't play that way", i.e. that SL would not try to dismiss a batsman that way. They were quite within their rights to dismiss Buttler but you can't take the moral high ground on both sides of the debate.

  • porty13 on June 3, 2014, 23:16 GMT

    The Laws of Cricket also have a preamble. It shows pretty poor reasoning to use the Laws of Cricket to argue against the very first.

  • yorkshirematt on June 3, 2014, 23:13 GMT

    Yep, absolutely fine. But I just fear a Buttler backlash in the Roses T20 match on Friday!

  • millsy24 on June 3, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    Totally agree with you. He was apparently also warned in the previous game as well for the same thing and then twice in this game. How many times does someone have to be told? Keep your bat behind the line and it won't happen. They obviously assumed he wouldn't go through with it I imagine. The bowler was perfectly within his rights and showed enough sportsmanship to warn Buttler twice (and I think Jordan in that over as well), but Buttler chose to keep pushing the boundaries and he lost.

  • LankaPuthra on June 3, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    The spirit of the game IS important for cricket, both players and fans. How does one display the spirit of the game? Simply obey the rules and show courtesy, both of which was displayed by the bowler. It is in that context Buttler was offered the warning by the bowler; it was out of courtesy and a respect for rules/laws of the game. If anyone, it was Buttler who was not displaying the spirit of cricket. He lacked respect for the rules and bowler when he decided to ignore the rules and the courtesy offered by the opposition.

  • on June 3, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    Disappointed with Mathew's actions. He should have given a second warning, and shown the gentlemanly side for Sri Lanka. But Buttler appears to have completely ignored Senanayake's warning and kept walking. Why?

  • on June 3, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    Well Said : "Cricket needs to move on from the nebulous concept of 'gentlemanly' play and 'spirit.' It has playing conditions. It has Laws. It should stick with them and avoid being dragged into the mire that will be inevitable if it applies them sparingly"

    "Senanayake was not only quite within his rights, he had actually offered Buttler an unnecessary courtesy. In a game where fine margins can decide results, Senanayake's decision to deny Buttler a few inches was simply pragmatic. He would have been a fool to do anything else."

  • on June 3, 2014, 22:02 GMT

    Excellent article, cannot possibly agree more. As a Sri Lankan and an avid fan of the game, I was rather nonplussed with the reaction from the English coach and Cook peri- and post-presentation.

    I thought Angelo made his rationale crystal clear during the presentation and there seems to be a poor recognition of the fact that he plays cricket for his country, not for the pleasure of self-professed puritans and definitely not by their pompously subjective interpretations of what is and isn't in the spirit of the game.

    Where do you draw the line...? If you review a clear edge that hasn't been given out, is that then in breach of the spirit of cricket?

    The modern sport is governed by laws which provide a clear basis for legitimacy in action and anyone who whines citing impropriety regarding Mathew's decision has regrettably just adopted an imperious stance which effectively screams "I'm righteous and you're all just not."

  • Hardy1 on June 3, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    Oh, my bad, you talk about the Thirimanne incident in the article but I was so keen to express my view first I didn't read it!

  • Ravendark on June 3, 2014, 21:56 GMT

    Spot on, George. Spot on.

  • Hardy1 on June 3, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    I seem to remember Thirimanne doing what Buttler did against India a couple years back & Ashwin mankaded him. Sehwag who was captain at the time pulled the appeal with Tendulkar weighing in heavily & now Sri Lanka have refused to do the same.

    I personally think there's nothing wrong with mankading & while it seems somewhat picky, this is only because the culture (not the so called 'spirit' ) of cricket has always allowed for backing up. It's pretty easy for a batsman to not back up, but it seems unlikely there will be a culture shift in this respect.

    What the Sri Lankans did however just represented double standards, which really is disappointing. I will confess to not watching the non-striker every ball in Sri Lanka's innings & so if they (Thirimanne in particular) did not back up for a single delivery & have not done so since Thirimanne's mankading, then fair enough.

    Otherwise I've lost a lot of respect for their team.

  • KosalaDeSilva on June 3, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    Well said....simple as that..:-)

  • on June 3, 2014, 21:47 GMT

    Well said!

  • grizzle on June 3, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    Mankaded = OUT. Let's move on. I have no idea why this is still an issue. I've lost all respect for Alastair Cook after seeing him moan about this.

  • YsaKaru on June 3, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    Good article, well explained! I'm with mathews.......

  • Lassie.Perera on June 3, 2014, 21:34 GMT

    George Dobell, you are spot on mate. I'm a SL fan and not saying this because of that. " Nor is there, within the ICC playing regulations, any requirement to warn the batsman prior to the appeal. Senanayake was not only quite within his rights, he had actually offered Buttler an unnecessary courtesy. In a game where fine margins can decide results, Senanayake's decision to deny Buttler a few inches was simply pragmatic. He would have been a fool to do anything else". Mr Dobell, I like the way you have explained this matter in your article.

  • WaltonGentlman on June 3, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    George. I generally love your insightful, evenhanded reporting, but in this instance your defending the indefensible. There can't be any cricket player or fan who wants to see the game played like this. What next, bowlers constantly stopping mid delivery trying to run out batsmen? Football has been spoilt by diving and play acting, getting opponents booked, please don't let cricket go the same way.

  • Lakpj on June 3, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    If something is against the spirit of the game then why have it as a law. If a bowler can't over step when bowling why do you allow a batsman to do so.

  • on June 3, 2014, 21:11 GMT

    I have nothing but admiration for Joss Butler. As a Pakistan supporter I have to say he is a frightening prospect. He should be an opener as he bats with such ease. His century was incredible

  • zafar_tayyab on June 3, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    Suppose if 'Spirit' is not of any importance in this advanced world, then why it is still a common phrase worldwide 'act according to letter and spirit'. Actually 'Spirit' for which 'Letter' is written is always be of prime importance. Cricket was, is and will remain gentleman's game. There have been players in all eras who would not wait umpire's raising finger when they have been caught behind on very thin edge. Majority of bowlers would still ignore batsman's advance momentum at nonstriker's end.

  • on June 3, 2014, 20:13 GMT

    Excellent article. Senanayake will always be booed by a home crowd, pretty clear to me that this wasnt the sort of entertainment Cookie promised for england fans though...

  • on June 3, 2014, 20:06 GMT

    What a fantastic article.

  • Montlaur on June 3, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    Its not whether he was right or wrong in doing it though. The fact is he ruined what was building into an exciting climax to the innings in a very unsatisfactory way. I doubt you will find any Sri Lankan who is proud of getting out the best English player in this way. Imagine if this kind of thing became standard practice. Wouldn't the IPL be fantastic? Add to that the context of him twice pulling out of his delivery in previous overs because the batsman was moving in his crease-also in my view bad sportsmanship.

  • on June 3, 2014, 20:01 GMT

    Well done, very well written article!

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    George Dobell is usually an excellent journalist. However this article is lacklustre.

    The spirit of cricket can and must coexist with the actual laws. The same way that it was 'legal' for England to run out Grant Elliot a few years ago - after Elliot had been knocked over whilst attempting a run by Sidebottom - it was also shameful. I was, as an England supporter, embarrassed by an action which whilst legal, was reprehensible, and not in keeping with the spirit of the game.

    The key point is that Buttler was no more than an inch or so out of his ground as Senanayake was about to deliver. Furthermore, when Senanayake's back foot landed Buttler was still inside the crease, he was clearly not attempting to steal a run, and was doing something observed almost all the time: leaving the crease as the bowler delivers.

    Senanyake's actions have brought the game into disrepute. No-one is talking about cricket, and everyone about an action completely alien to the spirit of cricket

  • Taimor-016 on June 3, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    Excellent work George Dobell. Love the way you're honest and state facts about the game.

    However, I have a feeling there will be a lot of arguement here regarding this incident.

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    I agree with George. Taking a running start is unfair before the bowler has released is unfair anyway, so more power to Mankading. Why do we still play the game by these arbitrary Victorian standards -- wake up, England, this is not the 19th century anymore.

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    senanayke did the right thing what abt players not walking off when they know they hv snicked but umpire says not out where is the spirit of cricket

  • play_fair on June 3, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    Nicely said...To the point....

  • LAKINGSFAN on June 3, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    It was in CB tri-series in Australia 2012. A match between SL and Ind(8th match of the series at Brisbane. Ashwin mankad-ed Thriminnae. But, Shewag, the stand in captain for that match withdrew the appeal.

    "Angelo to face his first ball. Oh dear, Ashwin has Mankad-ed Thirimanne. Ashwin was walking in to bowl, Thirimanne was backing up, Ashwin knocks off the bails and asks the umpire "How's that?". Third umpire called for. I think Sachin Tendulkar has walked up and asked Sehwag to withdraw the appeal. Sensible stuff." And, at the end of that over "Thirimanne was strolling out of his crease even before Ashwin delivered the ball this time."

    But, Ashwin, being sensible and level headed, didn't try to mankad second time.

    It was poorly done by SL players today. Very poor I would say.

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    I mean, there are some good points here, but it's weak territory to say the dismissal wasn't significant, I imagine all of England's hopes as in the previous game, were vested in Buttler. I think you're right, though, that the trend is away from any spirit of the law, and we end up hard up against the literal letter of the law, as in soccer, where the whole exercise is conducted in an atmosphere of gamesmanship, each player appeals when the ball goes out, even when he himself has been the one to kick the ball out. Falling over to try to win free kicks and penalties. It's all fine because it's all about the rules and how the umpire manages to interpret the events he is witnessing.

    Not sure it's much to crow about though.

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    I agree with the general theme of the article, but surely that's inaccurate re 2012? the laws were different in 2012 (and presumably still are for county games?), and in fact Sananayake would have been breaking the laws by stopping to run him out once already into his delivery stride?

    Would you be able to make enquiries as to whether all of the players had been made fully aware of this ICC international rule change? Poor if not, but it's not beyond the realms of imagination that Buttler wasn't aware of it, and so thought that as the bowler had entered his delivery stride, he was free to leave the crease.

  • NWorsn on June 3, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    Sure, cricket has "playing conditions" and "laws", but evidently (on this particular issue) something needs to be changed.

    I like the idea of a 5-run penalty against the batsman's team, just as if the ball hits a helmet lying on the field of play. It would be due punishment for the batsman doing something 'dozy' or deliberate, without giving the fielding team an undeserved wicket.

    That would make it much more acceptable and commonplace, with anger directed towards the batsman's infringement, and not the circus that goes on as is the case currently.

  • hhillbumper on June 3, 2014, 19:22 GMT

    Does one think that Buttler spoke to the umpires re his bowling and this was his response. It was his choice to make and so all is fine. Please pick him for the test matches though. love to see him bat against fast bowlers who can bounce him all day long. Settle it on the pitch and beat him.

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  • hhillbumper on June 3, 2014, 19:22 GMT

    Does one think that Buttler spoke to the umpires re his bowling and this was his response. It was his choice to make and so all is fine. Please pick him for the test matches though. love to see him bat against fast bowlers who can bounce him all day long. Settle it on the pitch and beat him.

  • NWorsn on June 3, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    Sure, cricket has "playing conditions" and "laws", but evidently (on this particular issue) something needs to be changed.

    I like the idea of a 5-run penalty against the batsman's team, just as if the ball hits a helmet lying on the field of play. It would be due punishment for the batsman doing something 'dozy' or deliberate, without giving the fielding team an undeserved wicket.

    That would make it much more acceptable and commonplace, with anger directed towards the batsman's infringement, and not the circus that goes on as is the case currently.

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    I agree with the general theme of the article, but surely that's inaccurate re 2012? the laws were different in 2012 (and presumably still are for county games?), and in fact Sananayake would have been breaking the laws by stopping to run him out once already into his delivery stride?

    Would you be able to make enquiries as to whether all of the players had been made fully aware of this ICC international rule change? Poor if not, but it's not beyond the realms of imagination that Buttler wasn't aware of it, and so thought that as the bowler had entered his delivery stride, he was free to leave the crease.

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    I mean, there are some good points here, but it's weak territory to say the dismissal wasn't significant, I imagine all of England's hopes as in the previous game, were vested in Buttler. I think you're right, though, that the trend is away from any spirit of the law, and we end up hard up against the literal letter of the law, as in soccer, where the whole exercise is conducted in an atmosphere of gamesmanship, each player appeals when the ball goes out, even when he himself has been the one to kick the ball out. Falling over to try to win free kicks and penalties. It's all fine because it's all about the rules and how the umpire manages to interpret the events he is witnessing.

    Not sure it's much to crow about though.

  • LAKINGSFAN on June 3, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    It was in CB tri-series in Australia 2012. A match between SL and Ind(8th match of the series at Brisbane. Ashwin mankad-ed Thriminnae. But, Shewag, the stand in captain for that match withdrew the appeal.

    "Angelo to face his first ball. Oh dear, Ashwin has Mankad-ed Thirimanne. Ashwin was walking in to bowl, Thirimanne was backing up, Ashwin knocks off the bails and asks the umpire "How's that?". Third umpire called for. I think Sachin Tendulkar has walked up and asked Sehwag to withdraw the appeal. Sensible stuff." And, at the end of that over "Thirimanne was strolling out of his crease even before Ashwin delivered the ball this time."

    But, Ashwin, being sensible and level headed, didn't try to mankad second time.

    It was poorly done by SL players today. Very poor I would say.

  • play_fair on June 3, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    Nicely said...To the point....

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    senanayke did the right thing what abt players not walking off when they know they hv snicked but umpire says not out where is the spirit of cricket

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    I agree with George. Taking a running start is unfair before the bowler has released is unfair anyway, so more power to Mankading. Why do we still play the game by these arbitrary Victorian standards -- wake up, England, this is not the 19th century anymore.

  • Taimor-016 on June 3, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    Excellent work George Dobell. Love the way you're honest and state facts about the game.

    However, I have a feeling there will be a lot of arguement here regarding this incident.

  • on June 3, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    George Dobell is usually an excellent journalist. However this article is lacklustre.

    The spirit of cricket can and must coexist with the actual laws. The same way that it was 'legal' for England to run out Grant Elliot a few years ago - after Elliot had been knocked over whilst attempting a run by Sidebottom - it was also shameful. I was, as an England supporter, embarrassed by an action which whilst legal, was reprehensible, and not in keeping with the spirit of the game.

    The key point is that Buttler was no more than an inch or so out of his ground as Senanayake was about to deliver. Furthermore, when Senanayake's back foot landed Buttler was still inside the crease, he was clearly not attempting to steal a run, and was doing something observed almost all the time: leaving the crease as the bowler delivers.

    Senanyake's actions have brought the game into disrepute. No-one is talking about cricket, and everyone about an action completely alien to the spirit of cricket