|Scorecard:||New Zealand v Sri Lanka|
|Player:||SP Fleming, M Muralitharan|
DateLine: 10th December 2006
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has no regrets about the controversial dismissal of Muttiah Muralitharan in the first Test at Christchurch on Saturday, saying the Sri Lankan made a mistake and paid the price.
Muralitharan was run out after completing a single that gave Kumar Sangakkara his century. His wicket ended the Sri Lankan second innings at 170, leaving New Zealand a 119-run target for victory, which they achieved for the loss of five wickets. Muralitharan was given out after grounding his bat to complete the run and then immediately going back to congratulate the centurian. But the ball had not been ruled dead allowing New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum to whip the bails off. Cricket has been considered a gentlemen's game and the dismissal stunned the Sri Lankans, who considered it was not in keeping with the true spirit of the competition. "The whole team is disappointed," Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene said. "Legally it was run out, the ball was alive but we play in an age where we talk about the spirit of the game. Hopefully it won't happen again. It's not the way to play cricket." But Fleming argued New Zealand had every right to claim the wicket. "It was pretty disappointing that it takes the gloss off what I thought was a fantastic 100 by Sangakkara, but the ball was still alive and the game doesn't stop when a player gets 100," Fleming said. "You can't just wander off when the ball's in mid-air and if we'd had an overthrow I'm sure they would have taken that. To my mind the ball's still alive and certainly in the cut-throat environment of this competition it's a mistake you can't afford to make on their behalf."
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