New Zealand have no regrets over controversial Sri Lankan wicket
by CricketArchive staff reporter
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
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."