|Sachithra Senanayake appeals to the umpire after Mankading Jos Buttler, at Edgbaston, on Tuesday. (Getty Images)
Birmingham: England captain Alastair Cook criticised the decision of his Sri Lanka counterpart to allow the controversial ‘Mankading’ of Jos Buttler in an ill-tempered one-day series decider at Edgbaston as “a pretty poor act.”
Buttler was run out backing up when the Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake took off the bails at the non-striker’s end in his delivery stride. And Mathews refused to rescind the appeal.
“It’s the first time I have seen it in a game and I was pretty disappointed,” Cook said.
“You will have to ask Angelo why he accepted the appeal. You don’t know what you would do until you are put in that situation where it’s a key wicket in a key series. I would hope to think that I would not do thatů It was a pretty poor act.”
Sri Lanka won the deciding ODI comfortably by six wickets to win the series 3-2, on Tuesday. In response to England’s 219, Sri Lanka rode Mahela Jayawardene’s 53, Lahiru Thirimanne’s unbeaten 60 and skipper Mathews 34-ball 42 not out to reach home with 10 balls to spare.
According to Cook, running a player out when he’s backing up was different to a batsman standing his ground and waiting for an umpire to giving him out. “In my opinion, there’s a line and I think that line was crossed.”
Mathews was booed by England supporters when he came out to bat and umpire Michael Gough, who upheld Senanayake’s run-out appeal, had to step in when Buttler, who was keeping wicket, appeared to exchange words with the Sri Lankan captain.
Mathews, though, stood by his team’s decision and said that Buttler had been warned for backing up before Senanayake ran him out. “We gave him two warnings. It wasn’t in the spirit of the game,” Mathews said.
“I would probably stick by it (if it happened again). It contravenes the rules and the spirit of the game.”
Cook, however, admitted that the incident had spiced things up ahead of the Test series that starts at Lord’s next week. “It’s spiced things up a bit, nothing wrong with that. It’s important that you let your cricket do your talking as well and back up words with cricket,” the England captain stressed.
Sri Lanka’s senior pro Jayawardene accused Buttler and Ravi Bopara of stealing runs. “Before the first warning, we told the umpires that they were taking too much of a lead. So, we had to do that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Australian captain Michael Clarke said he had no problem with the controversial run out rule that marred the final ODI.
Clarke said the dismissal was within the rules. “At the end of the day, I think as long as the player is warned, it’s obviously in the rules. So, you can make whatever decision you want,” he said.
“Will an Australian player do it? I think I’d be silly to stand here and say, ‘No, it will never happen under my captaincy’.
“If something like that does happen under my captaincy, I look forward to dealing with it at the time,” he added.
“At the end of the day, it’s in the rules.”
In Colombo, Arjuna Ranatunga said the Lankans were right to run out Buttler, but felt he should have been recalled in the spirit of the game. “We got him out but then, Angelo (Mathews) should have called him back to play,” Ranatunga said. “I am not blaming Angelo or (bowler) Sachithra (Senanayake). But that is what I would have done.”
“Our (on-field) warning to Buttler a couple of times may not go down in the record books, but if we recalled him, then it would be recorded and show that we had properly warned him.”
Ranatunga insisted that Sri Lanka were well within the rules of the game, but they would have been better if Butler was given another chance.
Sanath Jayasuriya said that Buttler had received ample warning.
“No one can say our players did not warn Buttler,” Jayasuriya said.
“Beating England in May and June is not an easy thing for a foreign team. This means our game is good, our cricketers are good. We don’t have to worry about what they say.
“We warned Butler twice and got him out the third time. There is no issue with that.”