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Lara, Smith fined for slow over-rates

Rival South African and West Indian Test captains Graeme Smith and Brian Lara fell foul of a new get-tough policy on slow over-rates.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2003 23:29 IST

Rival South African and West Indian Test captains Graeme Smith and Brian Lara fell foul of a new get-tough policy by the International Cricket Council on slow over-rates Tuesday.

Smith's joy over a 189-run win in the first Test at the Wanderers Stadium was dampened when match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka hit him with a fine of 30 percent of his match fee because his team were three overs behind the required minimum of 15 overs an hour.

The rest of his team were fined 15 percent of their fees.

Lara was fined 10 percent of his fee because his side were one over behind and his teammates lost five percent.

The ICC has introduced a new code making captains responsible for maintaining over rates. In extreme cases captains can be suspended.

Smith said he was not happy with the regulation.

"It was very hot, we were using mainly seam bowlers and we were not trying to slow the game down," he said.

"I can understand if a captain is fined for deliberately slowing things down but there needs to be a bit of leeway."

Lara said knowledge of the potential penalties had put pressure on him from the first day of the match.

This had intensified when Chris Gayle, who would have been the side's main spin bowler, was injured on the first day and couldn't field again.

Lara admitted he had deliberately used two bowlers with short run-ups, Wavell Hinds and Ramnaresh Sarwan, to bowl in South Africa's second innings when he knew the home team would be declaring before close of play on the fourth day.

"We needed to get our over rate up. We didn't need to be playing without our captain in the next Test," said Lara.

South African fast bowler Andre Nel was fined half his match fee for abusing West Indian batsman Chris Gayle when he dismissed him on the final day.

Nel was punished after he gave Gayle, who had slogged four boundaries in an over off him before being caught behind, a "send-off" which included the bowler sticking his tongue out at the batsman, who batted low in the order in both innings and had severely restricted foot movement because of a hamstring injury.

Speaking before the disciplinary hearing, Smith said Nel was a naturally aggressive fast bowler.

"I've told him he's got a screw loose," quipped Smith.

"He's such a placid bloke but when he gets that red ball in his hand he changes."

Madugalle conducted a disciplinary hearing after Nel was charged by third umpire Brian Jerling under a section of the code of conduct which forbids "using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or the making of an obscene gesture".

First Published: Dec 16, 2003 22:00 IST