It is all very curious

New Zealand wrapped up the First Test against New Zealand, winning by five wickets. The final day was not without controversy, after Muttiah Muralitharan was run out in strange circumstances.

Kumar Sangakkara had brought up his century with a neat flick down to third man. Murali finished the run, and without waiting for the ball to become dead, he motioned up the pitch to congratulate his team-mate. He had only advanced a few paces when the ball was returned from the deep and wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum promptly removed the bails, running him out.

It was a harsh act and Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene protested it was against the spirit of the game, but New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming pointed out that had the ball gone for overthrows, Sri Lanka would have gladly accepted them.

I can understand Sri Lankan fans being disappointed but it is the responsibility of the batsman to protect his wicket. Watching the Ashes, I have noticed that batsmen on both sides now refuse to pick up the ball in situations where they might do so in a club game, precisely to avoid the possibility of a controversial situation arising. To me, the bottom line is that Murali didn’t value his wicket highly enough, and he paid the price.

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