Sri Lanka’s Gunathilaka dismissed for obstructing the sphere


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Sri Lanka opener Danushka Gunathilaka was controversially dismissed for obstructing the field in the first one-day international against West Indies in Antigua on Wednesday as the hosts wrapped up an eight-wicket victory.

Gunathilaka had made a fluent 55 when he defended a Kieron Pollard delivery and moved a few steps forward before sending back batting partner Pathum Nissanka and returning to the crease himself.

Sensing a run-out opportunity, Pollard sprinted towards the ball but retreating Gunathilaka’s heel diverted it out of reach of the West Indies captain, who appealed furiously.

Under law 37 of the game, a batsman can be given out if he “wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract” the fielding side but video replays suggested Gunathilaka did not intentionally knock the ball away from Pollard.

On-field umpire Joel Wilson referred the decision to third umpire, who adjudged the batsman out.

Tom Moody, who was appointed Sri Lanka’s director of cricket last month, took to Twitter to voice his disappointment.

“‘Wilful obstruction’ no way was that wilful … #shocker,” tweeted the former Australia player.

Former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy shared that view. “Don’t think that was wilful at all. I wouldn’t appeal…” tweeted the 37-year-old.

The dismissal was followed by a couple of run-outs as Sri Lanka lost their rhythm and were all out for 232. Hosts West Indies completed the chase with three overs to spare.

The second game of the three-match series is scheduled for Friday at the same venue.

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