'Never seen that': Bizarre 'cheating' incident stuns cricket world

Sri Lanka have been hit with a rare five-run penalty over a strange incident that seemingly amounts to cheating.

The bizarre incident occurred on the second day of the second Test against England after umpires ruled that Sri Lanka had breached the law governing deliberate short runs.

During the evening session, Roshen Silva failed to ground his bat while running two with tail-ender Akila Dananjaya, after his shot skipped towards the third-man boundary only to be intercepted before hitting the rope.

It appeared as though Silva thought the ball was going to be a boundary, but when it failed to make the rope, he simply trotted back to the strikers’ end without grounding his bat for the first run.

Silva failed to complete the first run. Image: Sky Sports

Though it looked to be a minor gaffe, umpire Marais Erasmus seemingly judged it to be a deliberate attempt to retain the strike, rather than expose Dananjaya.

Erasmus called one short and then signalled five penalty runs against Sri Lanka, boosting England’s first innings total from 285 to 290.

So what’s the actual rule?

The rule falls under Law 18.5.1, which states that:

“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 and apply [five penalty runs].”

Erasmus signals the five penalty runs. Image: Sky Sports

However Sri Lankan batsman Dimuth Karunaratne was critical of the umpires at the close of play.

“I don’t think Roshen did it deliberately, he thought the ball had gone for four and he came back to his partner to give a high five,” he said.

“Those things can happen, it’s part of the game and we don’t blame him.

“We are not so worried about the five runs. The team manager spoke to the umpires and they thought Roshen did it deliberately.”

‘Never seen that in 50 years’

England greats David Lloyd and Mike Atherton, who were in commentary at the time, said they’d never seen anything like it in all their years around cricket.

“I’ve never seen anything like that penalty run call in my 50-odd years in cricket,” Lloyd said.

“We were all baffled when the umpires signalled dead ball.

“It just looked like a good piece of fielding by Moeen Ali, but the umpires were very sharp in spotting an infringement.”

Roshen Silva in action on Thursday. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

However Lloyd also dismissed the notion that Silva intentionally cheated the rule.

“There was no sharp practice by the Sri Lanka batsmen. They were just dopey.

“It was just one of the more quirky of the 42 laws of the game.”

Fans also took to social media to criticise the umpires.

with agencies