Sri Lankans angry and justifiably so

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By Kersi Meher-Homji, 21 Jan 2013 Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert

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    Nuwan Kulasekara of Sri Lanka celebrates claiming the wicket of Australia captain Michael Clarke (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 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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