Match officials officiating the Colombo versus Kandy Inter Provincial T20 cricket match at the Khettarama Cricket Stadium earlier this evening, made a mockery of the legitimate final outcome of the game when they denied batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa's straight driven six and with it deprived Kandy of a worthy victory.
In the 11th over with the score reading 97 for 1, stylish one down batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa thumped Sri Lanka's prolific spinner Akila Dhananjaya over his head for a straight six.
It was his third clean hit for six in an enterprising partnership of 55 runs with Sri Lankan cricketer Lahiru Thirimanne.
They were well on song to overhaul a target of 187 set by their opposing Colombo Team.
Many spectators at the ground and millions of Dialog television viewers were left perplexed and bemused, when television umpire Jayawardene Welathanthrige Hemantha Devapriya Boteju signaled two runs to the on field umpire Ranmore Martinesz when Rajapaksa’s hit for six was referred to him.
What transpired is that the fielder manning the long on boundary had leaped into the air and hit the ball back into the playing field.
However prior to jumping up into the air, the long on fielder was clearly seen on television replays over stepping the boundary line prior to leaping into the air.
What bamboozles everyone is that tournament officials at the grounds and many others involved with organizing the game were witness to the incident.
When Lanka News Web contacted Sajith Fernando the Tournament Director he confirmed, ‘yes’ it was a six but there is nothing he could do about it.
“Even the Kandy Team officials had complained about it. That is for the match officials to decide.” Fernando went on to say.
However what disappoints many Sri Lanka Cricket lovers and fans is that even tournaments such as a mere domestic tournament like this and especially sanctioned by the International Cricket Council is made a mockery of by Sri Lanka Cricket.
What did Match Referee Wendell Labrooy do about it? Absolutely nothing.
Where was the 'Spirit of the Game' displayed?
Surely with evidence in hand and viewed by everyone at the grounds, could not the decision rightfully be overturned for the greater good of the sport?
A spectator at the ground quipped “Here was a golden opportunity for Sri Lanka Cricket to demonstrate to the rest of the world as to how the gentleman’s game is played and managed. This was after all a domestic tournament. The Colombo Team Skipper Dinesh Chandimal should have been called aside and told ‘listen son, even the third umpire has made a blunder here. Your team clearly lost and the right thing to do is to award the win to Kandy.”
Photo: Bhanuka's Straight Hit Six Off Akila Dananajaya Denied by Third Umpire Hemantha Boteju