Sri Lankans angry and justifiably so

Kersi Meher-Homji Roar Rookie

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Rookie

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    Sri Lanka and England face off in a crucial World Cup clash. (Image: AAP/Joosep Martinson)

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    In a farcical non-finish on the SCG last night, the Sri Lankans were probably deprived of pocketing the five match series 3-1.

    It was the fourth match in the series and a likely win by the tourists would have made the fifth and final ODI in Hobart on Wednesday meaningless. Now there is chance that Australia may win in Hobart and tie the series 2-all.

    I was at the SCG match yesterday and thought the match abandonment was a joke. There was only about 90 minutes of drizzle and the covers were laid on the pitch promptly.

    With the rain stopping and drying procedure going on, I thought it would be a 25 over game with Duckworth Lewis formula deciding the winner.

    A surprised Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene said at the press conference that he was disappointed with the ruling that the match be abandoned. He cited recent instances in a match against New Zealand as also in Sri Lanka when a match had continued after heavier rains.

    He strongly queried the match abandonment and said that he would take up the matter with match referee Javagal Srinath.

    According to Jayawardene, Srinath’s call to call off the ODI robbed his team of a possible chance to finish the series off, having bowled accurately to restrict Australia to 9 for 222.

    He expressed surprise that a ground as rich in history and facilities as the SCG could not get the game re-started.

    “We played New Zealand three months ago and the interpretation we got in that series was quite different to what we got today,” Jayawardene said.

    “We played in Pallekele in Sri Lanka with a lot of rain during the World Cup as well. I think we need to find a bit more consistency, so that’s something we’ll probably write and put across to them [the ICC] and see how we can go about it.

    “At the SCG, I would assume that a ground of this magnitude you should be able to get a game in. Maybe they should do what we do back home and cover the entire ground.

    “I think we can write to the match referee because the interpretation we got three months ago in the New Zealand series was something totally different”, he added.

    “It was deemed that we’d only stop play if it was dangerous, not unfair, but today the interpretation was different. I accept that, it comes from the match referee and the umpires so I’m happy to take that on board, but it was two interpretations we got within a three-month period.”

    I remember many years ago in a match on the SCG, a helicopter was used to dry the pitch after a heavier downpour. I cannot remember the year and the opponent. Are any Roarers able to supply this information?

    Yesterday’s match should have been continued for a few overs at least. If the playing conditions were all that bad, then the match could have been aborted. In my opinion, not to attempt a restart was wrong.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (92)

    • January 21st 2013 @ 8:21am
      Matt said | January 21st 2013 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      You want to bat last when D&L comes into play, the other team are playing slow thinking they have 50 overs, the other team comes in like it’s 20/20 and are chasing a small total.

      But that’s another debate altogether.

      Wouldn’t say conspiracy but mighty odd that it’s called off with so little rain.

      Isn’t there a simple thing they can do, such as “if this rod goes into the ground and there’s more than Xcm deep wet, it’s called off”. Or is dirt and grass more complicated then that?

      • January 21st 2013 @ 10:10am
        Jason said | January 21st 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        DL takes all that into account. Given that SL had only faced a couple of overs last night, the DL target would have been pretty fair I’d say.

        • January 21st 2013 @ 11:11am
          Matt said | January 21st 2013 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          I haven’t watched too many – I haven’t seen anyone lose chasing 2nd though. You know you have 80 in 20 overs, vs 225 over 50 or whatever, so you know have a 99% chance.

          • January 21st 2013 @ 11:24am
            Jason said | January 21st 2013 @ 11:24am | ! Report

            If they had come back on for a 20 over second innigns last night, the target would have been 117.

            • January 21st 2013 @ 12:28pm
              Matt said | January 21st 2013 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

              117 over 20 overs, candy. With all 10 wickets to spare?

              Much, much easier than chasing 225 off 50.

              • January 21st 2013 @ 12:42pm
                Jason said | January 21st 2013 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                Not really.

              • January 21st 2013 @ 1:45pm
                Matt said | January 21st 2013 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                For sure. In 20/20 if you can only muster 120 you’re not doing a great job.

              • January 21st 2013 @ 4:05pm
                Jason said | January 21st 2013 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

                But Aust only made 222 in 50 overs which wasn’t a great job either. So it stands to reason that the target shouldn’t be that difficult.

              • January 21st 2013 @ 4:22pm
                Matt said | January 21st 2013 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                I don’t disagree. There is no good answer. You need only 11 runs per wicket vs 22 per wicket though, a much easier task.

    • January 21st 2013 @ 8:22am
      Rabbits said | January 21st 2013 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      You’re right Kersi. The game should have continued, at least until it became evident the condition of the out field was deemed not fit. I can’t help but think the match officials got it wrong, In the scheme of things, perhaps it was a decision taken more to keep the series alive rather then for the home team to be heading into a meaningless match in Hobart. That’s what it looked like to me, but that’s just my opinion.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:17pm
        Stag said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        As mentioned below, the lightness of the rain along with a lack of wind meant the moisture stayed on the surface instead of sinking in further, making it much more dangerous than it would really appear. Also, if you add the shocking umpire decisions with the fact that Sri Lanka would have needed a little over 100 with 10 wickets, than it was almost a guaranteed win for Sri Lanka. Thus your comment on keeping the series allive by not just giving the game to Sri Lanka might be right. I also find it slightly ironic that Sri Lanka are complaining when they were the ones who wanted to leave the field in the first place.

    • January 21st 2013 @ 8:23am
      Christo the Daddyo said | January 21st 2013 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      I wonder whether the lightness of the rain actually made it harder to dry the ground to the point where play could resume?

      Ironically I drove past a suburban ground earlier in the day where the play was continuing despite the rain and poor light. I wonder why professionals cricketers can’t do the same thing?

      • Roar Guru

        January 21st 2013 @ 11:21am
        mds1970 said | January 21st 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        Good point. The park cricketers, without lights & multi-million dollar drying equipment, get on far quicker than the pampered professionals. What happened last night wasn’t fair on the people who paid top dollar to attend the game.

    • Roar Guru

      January 21st 2013 @ 8:23am
      Andy_Roo said | January 21st 2013 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      Agree Kersi, they should have at least restarted the game to test the conditions.

    • January 21st 2013 @ 8:31am
      Jordo73 said | January 21st 2013 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      Absolutely farcical that the match was not restarted. Abandoned due to a wet outfield? Come on – if the pitch is dry, a bit of dampness in the outfield is not a strong enough reason to call the match off. Spectators have paid their money, a prime time TV audience is there – put the game on! But you’ll never hear any criticism of the SCG and its ground staff, who appear to be untouchable!

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      • January 21st 2013 @ 9:06am
        Happy Hooker said | January 21st 2013 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        So what did the ground staff do wrong?

    • January 21st 2013 @ 8:40am
      Pope Paul VII said | January 21st 2013 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      The SLs were in too much of a hurry to get off initially and Mahala ponced around like it was a cyclone. Christo’s correct, even park cricketers know rule no.1 is don’t go off unless it is torrential.

      Anyway, sounds like the decision not to restart was a bit dubious.

      • January 21st 2013 @ 10:59am
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | January 21st 2013 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        Pope Paul VII,

      • January 21st 2013 @ 11:09am
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | January 21st 2013 @ 11:09am | ! Report

        PP VII,
        Perhaps the reason Mahela Jayawardene walked off quickly when it started to rain was because he wanted the covers to be placed on the pitch ASAP. That way, the pitch would remain as dry as possible.
        But it backfired.

        • January 21st 2013 @ 2:37pm
          Pope Paul VII said | January 21st 2013 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

          Fair enough, didn’t think of that

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