Holy spirit: India spare Lahiru twice

While,according to the new rules of ICC,a bowler is allowed to Mankad a batsman without warning

Written by Aditya Iyer | Brisbane | Published: February 22, 2012 1:35 am

Sometime during Ravichandran Ashwin’s seventh over,the 38th of the game,the off-spinner warned Lahiru Thirimanne for backing up a little too much before the delivery was bowled. Nobody saw that. But on the second ball of his eighth over,Ashwin lobbed the bails off at the non-striker’s end in his delivery stride,and Mankaded Thirimanne out. Everyone saw that.

While,according to the new rules of ICC,a bowler is allowed to Mankad a batsman without warning. Yet,umpire Paul Reiffel felt the urge to consult square-leg umpire Billy Bowden,during which time seniors Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag withdrew their appeal. It would go on to become the biggest cricketing talking point of the day.

“Ashwin warned him once in the previous over. In the next over,he took the bail off and appealed. There was a big discussion within the umpires and then they asked me what I wanted to do,” Sehwag later said. “I said we can give him one more warning. We thought we would be criticised for not following the spirit of the game.”

The spirit gave Thirimanne two warnings on 44,and he obliged by continuing to back up rather drastically for the rest of his innings of 62 – Lanka’s top score of the day. “I know it’s soft. But that’s the way we are,” Sehwag said. True,but why wasn’t he Mankaded later in his innings? “Because you have to be aware when the non-striker is taking a start,and Irfan and Vinay were not,” he replied. “Ashwin was aware,and so was I.” Even then,their combined awareness didn’t result in the wicket.

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