Sri Lanka v New Zealand, tri-series, 4th ODI, Dambulla August 20, 2010

Mills punished for breaching warm-up rule

Kyle Mills was bizarrely banned from bowling for half an hour in Friday's rained-out game after breaching a little-known rule which states that a warm-up delivery can't bounce on the pitches in the middle. Mills, the New Zealand vice-captain, was given the ball for a new spell in the 39th over but the umpires stopped him from bowling after he was deemed to have broken Law 17.1 by pitching a practice delivery on the popping crease. The over was then bowled by Jacob Oram.

At the post-match press conference, Ross Taylor seemed amused by the incident. "He bowled a warm-up ball with BJ Watling coming on (to catch it). I saw it landed on the popping crease," Taylor said. "Mills' knowledge of the rule - 17.1 was it? He wasn't aware of the rule."

Though he laughed off the Mills half-hour bowling ban after the match, Taylor said it could have proved costly for New Zealand. "I must say we were lucky," he said. "Kyle being our best bowler and he could have only been able to bowl seven overs. In hindsight, it's funny but then it wasn't funny. But Kyle won't do that again."

This isn't the first time New Zealand have been at the receiving end of such a ban. "We had a similar situation in a warm-up game last year when Chris Martin did a similar thing. I am not sure where the rules say 30 minutes but I think he was off for an hour."

The incident comes four days after the Suraj Randiv no-ball controversy, which also involved a rule several players - including Virender Sehwag, Kumar Sangakkara and Taylor - said they were unaware of.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo