Tillakaratne Dilshan loses his match fee for allegedly instigating a bit of gamesmanship while Andrew Strauss escapes, after a blatant attempt to deceive the umpires and technology, with both pay and dignity. Where's the consistency?
Sri Lanka have won the ICC's Spirit of Cricket Award for the last two years and deserve it too. Kumar Sangakkara and his players are genuinely likeable characters. The moment, however, that one of their players oversteps the mark, quite literally, a storm of unwarranted controversy erupts, with the Sri Lankan Cricket Board left to cower in forgiveness before the BCCI and the ICC.
The decision by the Sri Lankan Board to appoint a six-man committee to investigate the minor incident in Dambulla was a classic piece of administrative folly. One can picture poor Randiv being bullied into a corner by half a dozen suits, his lip twitching as he points across at his mate Dilshan, while fumbling out the words, 'He made me do it'.
Let's not harp on the point that has been made clearly enough already, though. All the excitement after Randiv's little misdeameanour is totally unnecessary. The Sri Lankan spinner apologised to Virender Sehwag, who accepted, and that should be the end of it.
Moving from the rebellious Randiv to the very pious Strauss, who before the third Test against Pakistan at The Oval had wise words for Graeme Swann, fresh off some spin about his cat.
"We often say you're an England cricketer 24 hours a day," declared Strauss.
"Anything you do on or off the pitch, people will be taking note of it and in a way it will reflect on the England cricket team. We don't want incidents where people are in the news for the wrong reasons."
Now people clearly are not taking note of what Strauss is doing out in the middle because if they were the England captain wouldn't have gotten away with a couple of incidents, at Edgbaston and on day one at The Oval, without being made to feel somewhat embarrassed.
Batting in the third Test on Wednesday the England skipper quite obviously nicked a Wahab Riaz delivery and stood his ground, with umpire Tony Hill mystifyingly not noticing the edge. Pakistan wasted no time in referring the decision and shortly afterwards Strauss was given his marching orders.
Walking has always been a contentious issue. Fair game to a batsman who doesn't and gets away with it. The point with Strauss' dismissal, however, was that he wasn't going to get away with such a glaring nick, making him fair game for a full-on allegation of ungentlemanly conduct.
The emerging beauty of the review system is that batsmen who stand their ground run the high risk of being shown up by a referral and in time it should discourage players from actively trying to cheat their way through an umpire's decision.
It wasn't the first time that Strauss had been made to look silly by technology either, after falling in similar fashion thanks to a referral in the second Test at Edgbaston. England as a team also showed total disregard for the technology when, at Edgbaston, they all went up in convincing unison after a delivery from Stuart Broad went past Azhar Ali's outside edge by six inches.
The appeal was loud and hearty but no referral followed despite England having one in the bag. (Not to mention the episode at Lord's last year when Strauss claimed scout's honour on a catch to get rid of Phil Hughes).
Calling Strauss an out-and-out cheat would be somewhat harsh so we won't. But viewing these incidents, which he has gotten away with pretty much scot-free, in contrast with Randiv's harsh treatment it is clear that there is an inconsistency in the perceived 'spirit of the game'.
The ICC reportedly intervened to put pressure on the Sri Lankan Board to apologise after Sehwag was left stranded on 99. They have conveniently stayed mum on Strauss and England's recent abuse of the referral system. There is a thing called gamesmanship and a thing called sportsmanship. It's a fine line between the two and incidents in London and Dambulla this week have highlighted just how unclear that line is.
Strauss needs to wise up too. The occurrence of these unsavoury affairs is a surprisingly unprofessional chink in a very professional England outfit. One can understand the petulant Broad calling for a review every time he gets out but more is expected from Strauss, who has an example to set as much as anything to his team-mates, as he alluded to in his own advice to Swann.
Cricket is a great leveler and the England captain has a responsibility to maintain the spirit of the game before cricketing karma comes back to bite him.