The three-match Test series between Australia and New Zealand have faced several controversial decisions from the umpires. The latest addition in the list came on Monday when umpire Aleem Dar gave a five-run penalty to Australian batsman for running down the centre of the pitch twice in the gap of three deliveries.
On the fourth ball of 50th over, Marnus Labuschagne taps the ball to snatch a quick single, on the way, he ran down the protected area of the pitch. Aleem Dar gave the official warning to both the batsman.
In the same over of Matt Henry after two balls, David Warner pushed the ball in the mid-wicket region and ran for a single. This time Dar penalised them for the incident.
Warner didn't look impressed with the decision and argued with Dar and square leg umpire Marais Erasmus over the incident.
What?” He exclaimed. “What am I doing wrong? What am I doing?” Warner said after the episode.
Dar replied “running down the middle.”
Warner later walked towards Erasmus. “What do you want (me) to do, play the shot and then jump this way (sideways)?”
As per the rules, batsmen and bowlers, are meant to avoid running down the centre of the pitch and into the ‘protected area’ to avoid damaging sensitive areas of the wicket.
Kerry O’Keeffe, who was commentating during that time, said “I don’t think he could have veered off quicker than he did given his momentum. There was no intent to churn (the pitch) up.
“He actually tried to veer as quickly as he could.”
His commentary partner Adam Gilchrist too threw his weight behind Warner: “I don’t think David Warner’s done anything wrong. I get the reason why they want to make sure they don’t do anything wrong.”
“Warner gets pretty much out of it (the danger area) pretty quick. He didn’t stay out in the middle.”
Speaking on Marnus Labuschagne’s incident, Gilchrist said “He was clearly just watching the ball there, Marnus Labuschagne. His first few steps naturally dragged him down the pitch. He was pretty quick to get off and run to the side.”
Meanwhile, David Warner scored an unbeaten century as Australia built a big lead of 416 runs with 217/2 on the scoreboard. Australia completed a 3-0 whitewash over New Zealand as the side registered a comprehensive 279-run victory in the third and final Test at the SCG. Nathan Lyon took a 10-wicket haul in the match as he snapped five wickets in each innings.