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Tharanga run out two months too soon

Sri Lankan opener the latest victim of 'bouncing bat' rule, which is set to be changed on October 1

A forthcoming change to the Laws of Cricket can't come soon enough for Sri Lanka, who were again on the wrong end of a bizarre run out overnight.

India strengthen grip on Galle Test

Opener Upul Tharanga was run out on day two of the first Test against India despite seemingly making his ground well before the stumps were broken by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

Quick Single: India strengthen grip on first Test

But replays showed that while Tharanga had grounded his bat inside his crease before the ball reached the stumps, his forward momentum meant the bat lifted off the ground at the precise moment the bails were removed and he was given out by the third umpire.

The decision of out stunned even the Indian fielders, who had taken their positions to start the next over in the belief that Tharanga had easily made his ground.

India celebrate the surprise dismissal of Tharanga in Galle // Getty
India celebrate the surprise dismissal of Tharanga in Galle // Getty

It's the second time in consecutive Tests that Tharanga has been run out in unusual circumstances; the left-hander was caught short at the non-striker's end against Zimbabwe earlier this month having backed up too far as the bowler delivered the ball.

Tharanga's dismissal comes less than four months after Sri Lanka's new Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal was run out in a one-day match against Bangladesh having already ground his bat across the line yet, crucially, had not put a foot down in the crease.

April 2017: Chandimal caught short in Sri Lanka triumph

From October 1, however, such dismissals will not be classed as a run out with an updated Code of Laws – the first since 2000 – to be introduced.

The Marylebone Cricket Club approved a series of updates to the Laws of Cricket that come into effect in a little more than two months, including the amendment to how run-outs like Tharanga’s are judged.

Under the change, once a batter has grounded their bat beyond the popping crease but their "continued forward momentum towards the stumps" results in the bat and their body being airborne with safe territory when the wicket is put down, the batter will be deemed not out.

Third umpire sledges Karunaratne's lbw review

"If the bat (held by the hand) or another part of the batsman's person is grounded beyond the popping crease and this contact with the ground is subsequently lost when the wicket is put down, the batsman will be protected from being run out if he/she is running or diving and has continued forward momentum towards the stumps and beyond," the MCC said in a statement last month.

The Tharanga incident is far from the first time a batsman has been run out despite having some part of his body or bat over the line (and not grounded) when the stumps were broken.

Chandimal's run out in April was followed by a similar dismissal of Rohit Sharma in India's ICC Champions Trophy match against Pakistan in June.

June 2017: Rohit run out as bat bounces over line

In a Test match in Christchurch at the start of the year, New Zealand's Neil Wagner was run out against Bangladesh despite being level with the stumps, similar to the Chandimal dismissal.

Wagner had grounded his bat across the line, but in his rush to complete the single had neither boot nor bat grounded when the stumps were broken.

January 2017: Unusual run-out can't stop Kiwis

And during the 2015 ODI World Cup, England’s Chris Jordan dived to reach his ground after aborting an attempt at a single, and appeared to have reached his ground safely as Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan threw down the stumps

However, closer inspection showed the velocity of his dive caused his bat to 'bounce' after reaching his ground and he was given out.

March 2015: Jordan departs in controversial fashion

A similar dismissal occurred during a T20 International in 2014 between Australia and England, with Eoin Morgan initially making his ground following a direct-hit run out, only to have his bat bounce up at the moment the stumps were broken.

The MCC's head of cricket, John Stephenson in March said cricket was overdue an update to the Code of Laws since the last update 17 years ago.

"The game of cricket has evolved a great deal since the last Code of Laws was written in 2000, so much so that MCC made changes to that Code on five separate occasions in the last 14 years,” Stephenson said.

January 2014: Did Morgan make his ground?

"We felt the time was right for a new Code to tidy up many of the piecemeal changes made since 2000. The process has taken nearly three years and has involved significant consultation.

"We are very pleased with the outcome, which we believe reflects the continuing evolution of cricket."

Other changes to come in include restrictions on the size of bats and empowering umpires to tackle poor player behaviour, including banning them from returning for the remainder of the match.