David Warner could find himself in hot water after an ugly umpire tirade during Australia’s thumping win over Sri Lanka on Tuesday morning.
Warner and Steve Smith failed again with the bat but the Aussies still cruised to chase Sri Lanka’s total of 209 in 35.2 overs at a windswept Ekana Stadium.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa was the destroyer with figures of 4-47 as Sri Lanka suffered a total collapse of 9/52 after an opening partnership of 125.
Australia’s five-wicket victory has got the five-time champions on the board at the World Cup after losing their opening two matches against India and South Africa.
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Australia’s run chase only briefly looked in peril with Warner and Smith removed in the same over from Dilshan Madushanka to leave them 2/24.
Warner’s dismissal has triggered a storm of mixed opinions with some suggestions he may face action under the ICC code of conduct.
The opener was dismissed via a controversial LBW call when Madushanka banged a slightly short ball into the pitch from around the wicket.
The delivery didn’t bounce as expected and Warner had to jump to try and play it across his body. However the ball skidded onto his pads and Sri Lanka cried for an LBW before umpire Joel Wilson raised his finger. With the ball appearing to be headed well down the leg side, Warner couldn’t believe it and signalled for a DRS challenge immediately.
His face turned murderous when ball-tracking technology assessed the ball was going on to clip leg stump. Because of Wilson’s soft decision, Warner was sent back to the pavilion for 11 from six balls on the basis of the DRS “umpire’s call” verdict.
Warner slammed his bat into the ground while looking at Wilson and was seen clearly animated as he shouted some words before beginning to walk off.
Warner was still fuming and talking to himself as he walked back to the dressing room.
Should it be decided that his reaction amounted to “excessive, obvious disappointment with an umpire’s decision,” then he could be in line for a Code of Conduct penalty.
Kiwi Ian smith said in commentary: “He gets the message David Warner. He’s none so happy about it.
“But he cannot argue with technology. He leaves the ground in a huff it is fair to say.”
Some cricket commentators even suggested Warner’s tirade was an act of “disrepute”.
Cricket commentators were just as stunned by the DRS verdict itself.
“You can absolutely see why David Warner wasn’t happy,” former Aussie captain Aaron Finch said in commentary.
“Live it just didn’t look like it was going to be smashing into the middle, or middle and leg. And the umpire’s call. It’s the fine line. Umpire gives it not out, then David Warner is still batting. It’s just clipping leg stump.”
Fortunately, the ugly moment did nothing to disturb Australia’s chase with opener Mitchell Marsh (52) and wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Inglis (58) leading the way.
Marsh reached his first fifty in a World Cup off 39 balls but was soon run out after attempting a second run with Marnus Labuschagne, who hit 40.
Labuschagne and Inglis put on a key stand of 77 to deny the thin crowd of any late drama.
Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka broke the partnership to send back Labuschagne for his third wicket and spinner Dunith Wellalage got Inglis.
But Glenn Maxwell, who hit a 21-ball 31, took the team home with Marcus Stoinis, who made 20, for company.
Zampa was named man of the match in Australia’s first win in three matches, but the 31-year-old said it had been tough coming into the match.
“To be honest, I wasn’t feeling great because I had a bit of a back spasm,” said Zampa.
“I was playing through it the last couple of days. Today I felt better, bowled better.