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Robbing Yourself of Runs by Running

In his first of many statistically-related posts, John Moore speaks of cricket’s unusual relationship between its laws and statistics.

“When does running cost you runs?” This month saw an example of a Test match batsman costing himself 3 extra runs by sprinting a single. How did this happen? Well, South Africa went into bat against Sri Lanka needing only 2 to win, the smallest fourth innings’ target in Test history. Dammika Prasad opened the bowling and delivered a no-ball that Alviro Petersen hit straight back past him to the boundary. But, instead of just standing there and admiring the shot and racking up 4 not out, Petersen and his partner Graeme Smith sprinted a single, apparently each making their ground before the ball crossed the boundary line. Accordingly, and correctly, the umpire called ‘Time’ immediately the single was completed as the No-ball had already registered (at the instant it was called). The final score was therefore 2 for 0, with Petersen on 1 not out. Prasad had the unusual bowling figures of 0-0-2-0. So, from Petersen’s perspective, lethargy would have been the best policy, as energy was clearly counter-productive to his career average…

He just robbed himself of three extra runs!

Laws 21.6a and 21.6c cover the circumstances and justify the umpire’s decision. Of course one would need to see a video of the final ball of the match to be sure that both batsmen actually completed the single before the ball crossed the boundary…

For the amateur cricketers among us, at least those who can bat, imagine what would happen if you were on 96 with the scores level, belted the ball for 4 and also ran the single… You would end with 97 not out. I shall be sure to remember that myself :) .

See: BBC Sports for details of the scores of the Test.

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One Response to "Robbing Yourself of Runs by Running"
  1. Reply iresh January 19, 2012 20:28 pm

    Very interesting. Much more relevant to the larger grounds in the world, like the SCG, MCG, etc unless the outfield is very slow but great point you bring up. Clearly this won’t be possible with a 6!

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