What is the Buttler/Senanayake controversy?

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During the Sri Lanka – England match yesterday, which Sri Lanka won,  controversy erupted over Sachithra Senanayake running out England’s Jos Buttler at the non-striker’s end.

This is what happened.

  • Buttler left the crease at the non-striker’s end before the ball was delivered. Senanayake first gave a ‘friendly’ warning to the batsman not to leave the crease. Then In over 42  Jos butler does it again, Senanayake now gives what could be termed as an ‘official warning’.  None of which are expressly required by the law.
  • In over 44,  Senanayake tips the bails at the non-strikers end, and (with gestures) appeals for a run out, which the umpire grants. There is a bit of booing from the spectators at this point.
  • The law (42.15 from MCC’s Laws of Cricket) states that “the bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker.”
  • A group of pundits from Sky Sports discussing the wicket agree that Senanayake was in the right to call for, and receive, the wicket.
  • However, footage shows that Senanayake was in fact, in his delivery stride (his back foot and front foot had both touched the ground).
  • This is where the ICC’s laws come into play. ICC’s laws (42.11) replace the term “delivery stride” with “delivery swing,” which makes the run-out legitimate.
  • Everybody from Sri Lanka defended the decision, including the captain Angelo Mathews who said “[Buttler] was taking unfair starts” and said he’ll stick by the decision if given the chance again.

It’s also interesting to note that back in 2012 during a match with India, Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne almost had to leave the grounds for doing the same as the non-striker. India’s Ravichandran Ashwin appealed after Thirimanne left the crease before the ball was delivered, but later on the Indian skipper Virender Shewag withdrew the appeal. Mahela Jayawardena, who was Sri Lanka’s captain at the time, admitted that the non-striker Thirimanne was at fault.  This was the first incident of ‘Mankading’ since 1992 when India’s Kapil Dev ran out a South African player in a similar manner.

More background from Cricinfo

  • Anuw

    The India incident is all very well but thiri at the time was not only a new player, but was also not prewarned. Viru upheld the so called ‘spirit of cricket’ by allowing him back as a warning.
    The fault here seems to be that DESPITE the multiple warnings given (ie Spirit of Cricket well and truly honored) , Sri Lanka backed the wicket. Buttler should have known to to take the warnings as a joke.


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