During the last one week, two cricket teams were awarded penalty runs in international matches, under different laws. The first instance was during the Women’s World T201, when India began their run-chase against Pakistan with 10 runs already on the board. Next, in a bizarre episode during their second Test in Pallekele, Sri Lanka had to concede 5 penalty runs to England after one of their batsmen was found guilty of deliberately not completing a run. Penalty runs can be awarded under various circumstances; a look at the laws under which the latest two instances were covered:
In the Pallekele Test, the unusual penalty was awarded to England after Roshen Silva was adjudged to have made a “deliberate short run”. Silva, who eventually scored 85, was batting on 59 when he glided a delivery from left-arm spinner Joe Leach towards the third man region, and seemed to assume that the ball would cross the boundary. Though he crossed over to the other side, he didn’t ground his bat. The ball was pulled back in, courtesy a diving effort from Moeen Ali. As non-striker Akila Dananjaya ran back for an attempted second run, Silva returned to the striker’s end without having grounded his bat.
On-field umpire Marais Erasmus immediately signalled dead-ball before awarding the 5 penalty runs, taking England’s first innings score from 285 to 290. It wasn’t as much an attempt at “stealing” a deliberate run as it was a case of “doozy cricket on Silva’s part”, as comentator Michael Atherton described it. Erasmus’s decision was based on Law 18.5.1, which says: “If either umpire considers that one or both batsmen deliberately ran short at that umpire’s end, the umpire concerned shall, when the ball is dead, call and signal short run and inform the other umpire of what has occurred” which leads to him acting upon Law 18.5.2 which allows the umpire to the” “award 5 penalty runs to the opposition”.
In the Women’s World T20, India started their run-chase against Pakistan on 10/0 before the first ball was bowled. This was owing to two of the Pakistan batsmen having been found guilty of running on the “danger area” of the pitch despite having received three warnings from the umpires. This penalty was awarded on the basis of Law 41.14.2 which calls for an umpire to penalise a team “if either batsman causes deliberate or avoidable damage to the pitch” on more than one occasion. India men’s team all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja had been found guilty of running on the pitch twice in a Test in 2016, leading to five penalty runs being awarded to New Zealand.