Basking in the aura of having already knocked out of contention the might of instant cricket in the 3-match T20 series, it will be a sky high fired up Sri Lanka that will go in to the third and final match tomorrow Wednesday against arch foes Australia at the Adelaide Oval. The 2-nil insulation of Upul Tharanga’s charges following back to back wins at Melbourne and Geelong has already put the Sri Lankans in the box seat of the trophy spoils. Of course, the handicap of the suspended in form batsman Niroshan Dickwella from a dissent of an umpiring decision, dampening as it is will not deter the Sri Lankans final pursuit.
Dickwella has been suspended for two limited-overs matches having been found guilty of a Code of Conduct breach during Sunday’s Twenty20 win over Australia in Geelong.
According to an ICC statement, Dickwella, ‘paused to view a replay, kicked the turf and looked at his shoulder for a prolonged period of time’ after he was given out caught-behind by umpire Simon Fry gave Dickwella he tried to scoop a delivery from James Faulkner over the wicketkeeper during the third over of Sri Lanka’s chase. Replays showed the ball had struck Dickwella’s shoulder instead of the bat.
The punishment for a Code of Conduct breach was a fine of 30% of his match fee and two demerit points, but those demerit points were enough to bring a suspension. Dickwella had also been slapped a three demerit points During the fourth ODI against South Africa in Cape Town earlier this month following an incident in which he and Kagiso Rabada made contact on the field, and his five demerit points have thus been converted into a suspension for two limited-overs games.
Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) Chief Executive Officer, Ashley de Silva, said that Dickwella’s non participation would not be a spoiler to Sri Lanka’s bid for a 3-nil clean sweep of Australia.
“The team has performed very well during the last two T20 matches in Australia and are preparing well for the third match. Despite the fact that Dickwella will not be playing the third match for having reportedly violated the ICC code of conduct, the performance of the team will be unhindered and they will continue to do their best,” the SLC CEO commented.
Wicket-keeper batsman Kusal Mendis will keep wickets in Dickwella’s absence.
For the 23-year old Dickwella, who was Sri Lanka’s ace for consistency with the bat in spurring his side to a historic first ever T20 series triumph over South Africa in Protea land recently, it will be a bad to stomach sit out of the final game against Australia. Unfortunate to have not got the selectors nod for the Test series, Dickwella, the wicket-keeper batsman arrived with a bang in reeling off some telling knocks opening the batting including a career best 68.
In pursuant to Article 7.6 of the Code such breach that would put Dickwella on four or more demerit points within a 24-month period converted in to suspension points carry a ban; two suspension points equate to a ban from one Test or two ODIs or two T20s, whatever comes first for the player.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-