Australia were handed a five-run penalty on Monday in the ongoing Test against New Zealand at the Sydney Test Ground. But despite the penalty, the hosts are in a solid position and are well on their way to inflict a humiliating whitewash on their bitter rivals. Australia have already wrapped up the three-match series by winning the first two games in Perth and Melbourne.
And the hosts have continued dominating the Black Caps in the ongoing game too. A first-ever Test double century from Marnus Labuschagne helped the Tim Paine-led side post a mammoth total of 454 runs in the first innings. In reply, New Zealand came up with yet another dismal batting display and were all out for just 251 although it was boosted to 256 after Australia were handed a five-run penalty.
Debutant Glenn Phillips was the only player who crossed the fifty-run mark. In the second innings, Australia came up with another solid batting display thanks to a century from in-form opener David Warner. The southpaw, who scored his first Test triple century not very long ago, scored an unbeaten 111 while in-form Labuschagne scored an unbeaten 59 as Australia declared their innings on 217 for 2 to set New Zealand an improbable target of 416.
In reply, New Zealand have started in a disastrous manner and were reeling at 40 for 5 at the time of writing this report. Opener Tom Latham and Tom Blundell were out for 1 and 2 respectively before Jeev Raval (12) and Phillips (0) departed cheaply too to leave their team reeling at 22 for 5. Veteran Ross Taylor got the start before being bowled by Pat Cummins for 22.
Reason for penalty:
New Zealand were given a head start ahead of the big chase when five runs were added to their first innings total. But the way the visitors have performed so far, it looks highly unlikely that those five runs would make any difference to their fate.
Australia, nonetheless, were penalised for repeatedly running down the protected area of the pitch. The penalty was delivered in the 50th over by veteran umpire Aleem Dar, who first warned Labuschagne for running down the middle of the wicket after cutting fast bowler Matt Henry for one.
Just two balls later, Warner clipped a Henry slow ball to mid-wicket and took off for a single. Then umpire Dar penalised Warner for running down the pitch. That run was struck off Australia’s score. Then, as an additional penalty, five runs were added to New Zealand’s first innings total.
Law 41.14 of the MCC Laws of Cricket states ‘it is unfair to cause deliberate or avoidable damage to the pitch’, which relates to the protected area of the pitch, an area covered by an imaginary rectangle 60 centimetres wide that begins 1.5 metres from each popping crease.
If an umpire determines a batsman could have avoided running into the protected area, the batting team is given a first and final warning. And if it happens again, the batting team is penalised five runs.