'Disgrace to the game': Cricket world explodes over 'disgusting' farce

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Danushka Gunathilaka, pictured here being given out obstructing the field against West Indies.
Danushka Gunathilaka was given out obstructing the field. Image: BT Sports

Sri Lanka's ODI clash with the West Indies has exploded in controversy after Danushka Gunathilaka was given out for obstructing the field.

West Indies claimed the first one-day international of their three-game series, winning by eight wickets on Wednesday.

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However it was Gunathilaka's dismissal that had the cricket world talking.

The Sri Lankan batsman made 55 and put on 105 in an opening stand with captain Dimuth Karunaratne, which seemed to put Sri Lanka on course to a commanding total.

But the match became erupted in controversy in the 21st over when Gunathilaka was judged to have obstructed the field when he trod on the ball while Kieron Pollard was attempting to affect a run out.

After Pollard bowled a short ball which Gunathilaka fended away, Pathum Nissanka set off for a single but was sent back by his partner,

Gunathilaka then stepped back into his own crease, stepping on the ball and knocking it backwards in the process.

Pollard immediately appealed and on-field umpire Joe Wilson gave a soft signal of out before television umpire Nigel Guguid ruled that Gunathilaka had deliberately attempted to foil the run out.

However there seemed to be little evidence the batsman had acted deliberately.

Danushka Gunathilaka, pictured here in action for Sri Lanka against West Indies.
Danushka Gunathilaka in action for Sri Lanka against West Indies. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Cricket world fumes over obstruction controversy

“He does take a little glance down as he’s about to take that second step there, but I don’t know, I’m not convinced in my mind that he actually knew (where the ball was) when he glanced down,” West Indies great Ian Bishop said in commentary.

“It looks bad there, so that’s what the television umpire is seeing.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted: “It’s official, cricket has gone bonkers!!!”

West Indies star Darren Sammy said: “Don’t think that was wilful at all. I wouldn’t appeal but hey."

Aussie great Tom Moody added: “‘Wilful obstruction’ no way was that wilful … #shocker #WIvSL.”

Former Australian women's captain Lisa Sthalekar tweeted: “Just saw it … oh please! Not out."

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According to Law 37. 1 in the ICC's official rules: “Either batsman is out obstructing the field if he wilfully obstructs or distracts the fielding side by word or action. In particular, but not solely, it shall be regarded as obstruction and either batsman will be out obstructing the field if while the ball is in play and after the striker has completed the act of playing the ball, he wilfully strikes the ball with: (i) a hand not holding the bat, unless this is in order to avoid injury. (ii) Any other part of his person or with his bat.”

Gunathilaka became just the second batsman since 2015 to be given out obstructing the field in a one-day international.

Sri Lanka'S innings lost its way from that point and from 2-112 the tourists were all out for 232 in 49 overs.

The West Indies surpassed that total with Shai Hope making 110 and his opening partner Evin Lewis adding 65.

"We got a nice start but but we lost a couple of wickets," Karunaratne said.

"In the end we were short of 30-40 runs.

"If me and Danushka could have batted longer it would have been a different story."

with AAP

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