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

Sangakkara cleared of offence after collision

Kumar Sangakkara was found not guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct after colliding with offspinner Nathan McCullum during the abandoned ODI against New Zealand in Dambulla. He had been initially charged with breaking clause 2.2.4 which deals with "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between Players in the course of play during an International Match". But match referee Alan Hurst cleared him of any offence.

The incident occurred in the 27th over of the Sri Lankan innings. Sangakkara guided a McCullum delivery to fine leg and set off for a run. He was turning for the second when he bumped into the bowler, who had his back to Sangakkara. McCullum complained to the umpire and Sangakkara also had a word with him.

Had Sangakkara been found guilty, he could have been fined between 50 to 100% of his match fee and/or handed two suspension points (a ban of a Test or two ODIs or two Twenty20s).

"I looked at video footage of the incident from various angles and considered the detailed evidence of the umpires. I found that video evidence that was put forward by the player provided reasonable doubt as to whether the contact was deliberate," Hurst said.

Sangakkara defended himself when asked about the incident during a press conference. "When I was finishing the first run, the bowler has to be behind the wicket or aside, especially a spinner. When I ran for the first run, I knew there were two runs. That's my duty. On my last two steps, for some reason, Nathan McCullum came out of the crease and was obstructing my way.

"I don't know whether it was done purposely, I didn't have anything to do. When I [was at the] crease, there was some contact. When that happened, my head also had turned the other way. He took offence to that and complained to the umpire. On that incident the umpires told the match referee that I was at wrong. Not McCullum but Tyron Wijewardene, Ranmore Martinez and Gamini Dissanayake. But the match referee saw all visuals and decided that I was not at fault."

Sangakkara added: "The bowler moves in the line of a batsman and the batsman has no way to avoid contact, if he does, he can be run out. Sometime, bowlers may tend to do it to deny the batsmen being comfortable and going for the second. That's bit of speculation. The match referee, after viewing the footage, didn't find anything wrong."

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

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