The second T20I between Australia and Sri Lanka, played at Brisbane, produced another one-sided contest where the hosts thumped the Lankans by nine wickets. While the match as a whole did not produce any great intrigue or drama, there was one moment of human folly that certainly brought a smile on people's faces.
Sri Lanka's chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan was bowling to David Warner at one stage of the match while the no. 3 batsman for Australia on the day, Steve Smith, was at the non-striker's end. Warner smashed a delivery back down the pitch so straight that it hit the stumps at the bowler's end.
By this time, Smith, looking to steal a single, had charged up the pitch. With the ball rolling towards Sandakan and Smith way too far away from the crease, there was a golden opportunity for the left-arm bowler to execute a run-out.
Since the bails had been dislodged by Warner's shot, a run-out can only take place if one of the stumps is plucked out from the ground. Sandakan knew this. He picked up the ball with his right hand and, after going up to the stumps, plucked one of them out of their groove.
However, he committed one error. As per the rules, the ball which the player is holding has to be in contact with the stump when it is dug out from the ground. The chinaman bowler was holding the ball in his right hand while picking up the stump from the left. As a result, the decision had to be not-out.
Interestingly, something similar had happened earlier in the day but with different results. This incident too involved Sandakan. Towards the end of Sri Lankan innings, Sandakan played a cross-batted shot back down the wicket that hit the stumps at the non-striker's end and dislodged the bails. Sandakan still went ahead with an attempted single.
But Cummins had the presence of mind to realise the situation. He grabbed the ball, charged up to the stumps and uprooted one of the sticks. Unlike the batsman he ran out, the Aussie pacer ensured that the ball he was holding was in contact with the stumps. Hence, the run-out was awarded.
The result of this match would not have been different had Sandakan succeeded in the run-out. However, the kind of form Smith has shown over the past few months, should caution the Lankan side as to the perils of giving the Australian batsman a life.