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June 11, 2009
Angelo Mathews' acrobatic fielding effort in Sri Lanka's match against West Indies at Trent Bridge on Wednesday conformed to the Laws of Cricket, the MCC has said. Such "brilliant and quick-thinking" acts, it said, are good for the game and should not be deemed illegal.
Mathews was stationed on the wide long-on boundary when, in the 17th over of the chase, Ramnaresh Sarwan lofted Ajantha Mendis in his direction. He caught the ball on the right side of the line but, realising the momentum had taken him backwards, flung the ball in the air before his foot landed over the boundary. Looking up, he saw that the ball would land outside the boundary, resulting in a six, and so picked himself up, jumped and smashed the ball, tennis-style, over the rope and back into play.
It led to a brief hold-up in play with the two on-field umpires - Billy Bowden and Simon Taufel - consulting the third umpire Ian Gould and eventually West Indies were credited with only three runs.
John Stephenson, the MCC's assistant secretary, confirmed Mathews' fielding was deemed legal according to Law 19.3(a)(ii).
"The MCC Laws sub-committee had recently discussed fielding such as this and felt that such brilliant and quick-thinking acts should not be outlawed," Stephenson said. "MCC is happy with the Law as it is written and occurrences such as the one yesterday, while extremely rare, are good for the game of cricket as a whole. It is also pleasing that two of the committee's members were involved in making the correct decision on the field of play."
Law 19.3 (a) (ii) states: A boundary shall be scored and signalled by the umpire at the bowler's end whenever, while the ball is in play, in his opinion - a fielder, with some part of his person in contact with the ball, touches the boundary or has some part of his person grounded beyond the boundary.
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