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Sri Lanka become first men's team to incur new over-rate penalty

Nuwan Thushara had to bowl the final over of Australia's innings with only four fielders - and not five - outside the 30-yard circle

The umpires inform Dasun Shanaka that his team has been penalised for slow over-rate, Australia vs Sri Lanka, 2nd T20I, Sydney, February 13, 2022

The umpires inform Dasun Shanaka that his team has been penalised for a slow over-rate  •  Getty Images

Sri Lanka were allowed only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle for the final over of Australia's innings in the second T20I in Sydney, as they became the first men's side to be penalised under the ICC's new over-rates rules for T20Is.
Under the new system, teams have to begin the final over of the innings by the 85th minute since the start of the innings. As Sri Lanka had not done so, captain Dasun Shanaka was asked to move one of the five fielders he would have stationed on the boundary, into the circle. That over, delivered by debutant Nuwan Thushara, went for 16, after Matthew Wade struck a six and a four on the leg side.
On the eve of the match, Australia's interim coach Andrew McDonald had expressed support for the rule change.
"There is a criticism of T20 cricket that sometimes the games drag out, so if that penalty is there, you let a bowler know that he's bowling with four men out versus five men out, it's a pretty clear choice which one he wants," he had said. "It's very difficult to bowl with four men out. I think you'll see that rule potentially shifting games and I love to see it. The in-game penalty, for me, is the only way forward to deter teams from slowing the game down."
The new rule has already come into effect once in women's T20Is, with Australia penalised for their slow over rate during the first T20I of the Women's Ashes recently, leaving Megan Schutt with only four fielders outside the circle when she began the final over of England's innings.
Previous penalties for slow over rates had included suspending captains and fining teams portions of their match fees. Both in the ODI Super League and the World Test Championship, teams can also lose league points for slow over rates.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf