Cricket: A thriller thrown into turmoil

IT TOOK only 10 balls for the incident which had been feared since the Australian one-day competition began to happen. Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan slow bowler with a unique style and an exotic gift, had delivered nine times without comment.

But attention on him was rapt. Something was anticipated in this match. It had been a dreadful, open secret all over Australia. After he bowled his 10th ball the square-leg umpire, Ross Emerson, revealed it to the world. He called Muralitharan for throwing and raised his arm horizontally to signal the no-ball. He did it with a flourish.

All hell broke loose and it did not subside. The match between England and Sri Lanka was delayed for 15 minutes - Emerson's 15 minutes of fame, it was said - and although it was to resume, it became ugly and ended in acrimony.

Players were pushing each other and those from both sides were guilty. It came as no surprise to discover that the match referee, Peter Van Der Merwe, was seeking urgent consultations with David Richards, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council in London. He was to chat about the no-ball and what followed. Some answers are expected some time today.

The match contained some glorious batting. Graeme Hick made a majestic century, Mehala Jayawardene responded with one of equal merit for Sri Lanka. And with two balls left it was Muralitharan who won the match for Sri Lanka with an off-side prod which looped off the outside edge and narrowly spiralled over cover. Sri Lanka had made 303 for 9, the fourth- largest winning score in all one-day internationals and the highest in Australia.

Nobody should begrudge Muralitharan that moment. Whether his action meets the requirements of the law or is illegal - and an ICC panel and countless senior umpires have judged it to be fair - it took a big heart and a robust will to come out in such a tense atmosphere and win the match for his side.

The tone and ill-temper of the match were probably inexcusable, as the ICC should find, but were shaped by Emerson's call of no-ball. Afterwards Alec Stewart, the England captain, who was hugely competitive in England's effort and should not be surprised to find himself summoned before the match referee, was critical of Arjuna Ranatunga, the Sri Lanka captain. But his humanity found some kind words for Muralitharan. "It's a sad day when a bowler is called," he said. "A very special bowler with 200 Test wickets.

"Something ought to be done for players like him. It would be if he was playing for England."

Emerson had no-balled Murali several times when Sri Lanka played Queensland in a match in Brisbane three years ago. He had done so from the bowler's end. Maybe that was why Ranatunga put Murali on at the other end yesterday. The umpire there, Terry McQuillan, had also called Murali in Brisbane, from square-leg.

If it was a ploy to fox Emerson it did not work. He thrust out his arm, gestured with a finger and pointed to a bent elbow. Ranatunga was furious. He walked up to the umpire and wagged his finger. Perhaps he was seeking an explanation but it looked as though he was doing something more. It was understandable, but unacceptable.

Ranatunga looked briefly as though he was leading his players from the field, which would have meant forfeiture of the match. But he was met at the perimeter fence by his management. Negotiations appeared to ensue. Play restarted. Murali finished his over with a couple of leg spinners which Emerson did not call.

The bowler was then put on at Emerson's end. Ranatunga requested that the umpire stand over the stumps while Murali bowled round the wicket. This meant that Emerson could not see the action from behind, as he could have done if Murali had run between him and the stumps as normal, and so he could not now call him.

It was an effective and justifiable strategy by Ranatunga but the umpire thought not. "I'm the captain, I can tell you where to stand," said Ranatunga. "I'm the umpire, I'm in control," said Emerson. The misguidedness of that remark was to be evident later.

England, whose momentum was slowed at first, batted extremely well. Hick was marvellous. His unbeaten 126 took 113 balls and he and Neil Fairbrother put on 154 from 129.

Still, there was an air of unreality about it. Emerson was applauded off the field at the break by a crowd who have been influenced by insidious media coverage this past month.

After making the big decision, the umpire simply had to get all the small things right. He allowed seven balls in Darren Gough's second over. When Jayawardene was on 33 he had to scurry for his ground. A direct throw hit the stumps but Emerson declined to call in the third umpire. Television replays immediately showed Jayawardene to be out. Stewart put his arm round Emerson's shoulder, which did not seem appropriate. "I suggested he had had a hard day so far," said Stewart.

The match grew in intensity. Ranatunga was at his irritating best, walking singles, trying to invoke overthrows. Sri Lanka kept losing wickets, but on a flat pitch maintained the rate. It was gripping but not wholesome. When Roshan Mahanama appeared to swerve into Darren Gough as the bowler went to gather the ball Emerson turned down an appeal for obstructing the field. Gough feigned a head butt towards Mahanama.

At 288 for 8 Murali came in. He stroked a quick single. With two overs left Sri Lanka needed 13. Mahanama got two fours down to fine leg. Then he was run out by a cool Fairbrother. Vince Wells was entrusted with the last over. There was nearly a run out but instead it was an overthrow and then with two balls left Murali essayed a shot as primitive as his bowling is magical. It swirled over cover. Game over but not forgotten.

There is mileage and punishment in it yet. The ICC may convene their illegal deliveries panel, who can recommend that bowlers seek remedial action. They may decide to embrace the notion for umpires.

ADELAIDE SCOREBOARD

Sri Lanka won toss

England

N V Knight run out (Muralitharan, TV replay) 45

(Taking quick single to mid-on, direct hit; 117 min, 74 balls, 3 fours)

*A J Stewart c Ranatunga b Vaas 39

(Clipped to short mid-wicket; 45 min, 33 balls, 6 fours)

G A Hick not out 126

(166 min, 118 balls, 5 fours, 4 sixes)

N Hussain c Tillakaratne b Jayasuriya 5

(Swept to backward square-leg; 7 min, 7 balls, 1 four)

N H Fairbrother not out 78

(86 min, 71 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes)

Extras (lb2, w4, nb3) 9

Total (for 3, 212 min, 50 overs) 302

Fall: 1-64 (Stewart), 2-139 (Knight), 3-148 (Hussain).

Did not bat: A J Hollioake, M A Ealham, V J Wells, R D B Croft, D Gough, A D Mullally.

Bowling: Vaas 10-0-76-1 (nb2) (6-0-27-1 2-0-11-0 2-0-38-0), Wickramasinghe 9-0-71-0 (w1) (3-0-26-0 3-0-13-0 2-0-17-0 1-0-15-0), Jayawardena 4-0-24- 0 (w1) (one spell), Muralitharan 7-0-46-0 (nb1,w1) (2-0-9-0 3-0-20-0 2- 0-17-0), Jayasuriya 10-0-42-1 (1-0-5 -0 5-0-17-1 4-0-20-0), Chandana 10- 0-41-0 (w1) (one spell).

Progress: 50 in 31 min, 43 balls. 100 in 96 min, 109 balls. 150 in 128 min, 176 balls. 200 in 162 min, 236 balls. 250 in 198 min, 285 balls. 300 in 211 min, 302 balls. 15 overs score: 86-1.

Hick 50: 73 min, 56 balls, 1 four, 2 sixes. 100: 152 min, 109 balls, 2 fours, 3 sixes.

Fairbrother 50: 66 min, 57 balls, 2 fours.

Sri Lanka

S T Jayasuriya c Fairbrother b Gough 51

(Uncontrolled shot to short midwicket; 47 min, 36 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes)

R S Kaluwitharana run out (Hollioake) 0

(Responded to ludicrous call, direct hit; 5 min, 0 balls)

M S Atapattu c Stewart b Mullally 3

(Diving catch to keeper's right off drive; 11 min, 12 balls)

H P Tillakaratne b Croft 28

(Played over top of straight ball; 80 min, 48 balls, 1 four)

D P M Jayawardena lbw b Wells 120

(Beaten by swinging ball; 153 min, 111 balls, 9 fours)

*A Ranatunga c Wells b Gough 41

(Drove slower ball to short midwicket; 68 min, 51 balls, 2 fours)

W P U C J Vaas run out (Hussain TV replay) 5

(Direct hit from short point; 14 min, 6 balls)

U D U Chandana c Fairbrother b Wells 25

(Clipped to mid-on; 31 min, 18 balls, 1 four, 1 six)

R S Mahanama run out (Fairbrother) 13

(Ludicrous single to short mid-on; 20 min, 11 balls, 2 fours)

M Muralitharan not out 2

(14 min, 4 balls)

G P Wickramasinghe not out 2

(6 min, 2 balls)

Extras (lb9, w4) 13

Total (for 9, 229 min, 49.4 overs) 303

Fall: 1-3 (Kaluwitharana), 2-8 (Atapattu), 3-68 (Jayasuriya), 4-137 (Tillakaratne), 5-223 (Ranatunga), 6-235 (Vaas), 7-269 (Jayawardena), 8-288 (Chandana), 9-298 (Mahanama).

Bowling: Gough 10-1-68-2 (6-1-43-1 2-0-8-1 2-0-17-0), Mullally 10-0-61- 1 (w1) (7-0-40-1 3-0-21-0), Hollioake 5-0-45-0 (2-0-22-0 2-0-15-0 1-0- 8-0), Ealham 10-1-48-0 (w2), Croft 10-0-42-1, Wells 4.4-0-30-2 (one spell each).

Progress: 50 in 35 min, 47 balls. 100 in 65 min, 88 balls. 150 in 110 min, 155 balls. 200 in 149 min, 211 balls. 250 in 191 min, 260 balls. 300 in 227 min, 296 balls. 15 overs score: 108-3.

Jayasuriya 50: 43 min, 34 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes.

Jayawardena 50: 49 min, 43 balls, 4 fours. 100: 140 min, 100 balls, 6 fours.

Umpires: R A Emerson, A J McQuillan TV Replays: S J Davis. Referee: P L van der Merwe

Man of the match: D P M Jayawardena

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project