In one of the rarest incidents, Sri Lanka batsman Danushka Gunathilaka was given out for obstructing the field during the 1st ODI against West Indies at Sri Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. The hosts eventually won the match banking on Shai Hope’s brilliant century to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Meanwhile, the incident took place in the 21st over of the match during Sri Lanka’s innings. West Indies captain Kieron Pollard bowled a short ball which Danushka Gunathilaka fended away. Pathum Nissanka set off for a single but Gunathilaka, after advancing down the pitch, sent him back and stepped back into his own crease. As he did so, he stepped on the ball and knocked it backward.
Danushka Gunathilaka given out for obstructing the field
Pollard immediately appealed and on-field umpire Joe Wilson gave a soft signal of out before television umpire Nigel Guguid ruled that Danushka Gunathilaka had deliberately attempted to foil the run-out. There seemed to be little evidence the batsman had acted deliberately.
Watch the video here:
Danushka Gunathilaka has been given out Obstructing the field. Very difficult to interpret if this was a wilful obstruction. Looks unintentional but has been given out as per the lawspic.twitter.com/CJh3GmzvaN
— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) March 10, 2021
The Marylebone Cricket Club, guardians of the Laws of cricket, said that it will depend on the intent of the batsman which is at times hard to adjudge.
“The key part of the obstructing the field Law (37.2/37.3) is intent – which can be hard to judge. If the obstruction is wilful, it will be out, but if it’s accidental then it will be not out.”
Speaking of the game, the Sri Lanka innings lost their way from that point, and from 2-112 the tourists were all out for 232 in 49 overs. West Indies surpassed that total with Shai Hope making 110 and his opening partner Evin Lewis adding 65. They added 143 runs for the first wicket before Darren Bravo and Jason Mohammed took them home.
The second of the three-match ODI series is on March 12 (Friday) in Antigua.