Curse of the 'bouncing bat' strikes again

Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal may be the last to be run out in this bizarre way with a forthcoming Law change not soon enough for batters

A forthcoming change to the Laws of Cricket can't come soon enough for some of the less fortuitous batsmen of world cricket, such as Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal.

The Sri Lanka wicketkeeper was run out by the slimmest of margins in the third one-day international against Bangladesh on Saturday night in Colombo, having already ground his bat across the line yet, crucially, had not put a foot down in the crease.

Chandimal failed to keep his bat grounded and had yet to put a foot down beyond the popping crease, which would have saved him.

The Sri Lankan was found on television replays to have his foot and bat both millimetres above the turf at the moment Bangladesh wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim gathered the throw from Taskin Ahmed and broke the stumps.

Bangladesh's fielders only appealed half-heartedly, and had returned to their fielding positions expecting the over to continue as the third umpire checked the footage.

But Chandimal’s running proved to have been even more half-hearted than the appeal and he was left shocked to have been given out.

In a 2010 update to the Laws of Cricket, once a batter has grounded any part of their body beyond the popping crease and continued their forward momentum, they can't be run out if they are airborne when the stumps are broken.

But if the bat is grounded then lifted at the crucial moment the stumps are broken and a foot is yet to touch down beyond the crease, then the batter can be out.

From October, however, this 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 later this year, including the amendment to how run-outs like Chandimal’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.

"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.

Wagner falls victim to bizarre run out

It is not the first time Bangladesh have benefited from a run out in such bizarre circumstances, nor even the first time this year. In a January Test match in Christchurch, New Zealand's Neil Wagner was run out despite being level with the stumps in exactly the same fashion.

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 by a backhand flick. It prompted Black Caps coach Mike Hesson to call for a rule change at the time of the incident.

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 safety as Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan threw down the stumps.

March 2015: Jordan departs in controversial fashion

However, closer inspection showed the velocity of his dive caused his bat to 'bounce' after reaching his ground.

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.

January '14: Did Morgan make his ground?

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.

"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.