Colombo: England captain Alastair Cook was on Thursday suspended for one match and fined 20 percent of his undisclosed match fees for his team's slow over-rate in the third one-day international against Sri Lanka. Match referee David Boon ruled that England bowled one over short in the stipulated time frame during Wednesday's rain-curtailed game in Hambantota which the tourists won by five wickets.
Cook will miss Sunday's fourth match in Colombo with Sri Lanka leading 2-1 in the seven-match series. Eoin Morgan will take over as captain for the game, England coach Peter Moores confirmed. It was the second time in the last 12 months that Cook had been found guilty of the "minor over-rate offence," the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement.
England skipper Alastair Cook
Cook was also in charge in similar circumstances against India at Cardiff last summer, and two such offences in any 12-month period bring a mandatory one-match ban. "Cook pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing," the ICC statement added. The rest of the team was fined 10 percent of their match fees.
Left-handed Cook has scored just 66 runs in the first three matches, leading to calls from former England players like Kevin Pietersen and Ian Botham for him to step down. "It's a shame for Alastair. I thought he played beautifully last night... he timed the ball really well," said Moores. "But one thing is that it cleans the slate for him, before we go to a World Cup - because he had that ban hanging over him, if he had one more time slow on our over-rate."
Moores added: "Eoin Morgan will captain the next game. He's a good player, crikey. "He'll have been through periods when he's not quite hitting it (as he'd like). But he's the sort of player we're very excited about. "The key is to believe in yourself, and go out and play - and Eoin will do that, I'm sure." Despite Cook's unscheduled absence, England can celebrate a much-needed victory after just their second success in nine ODIs and one which reduces their deficit in this seven-match series to 2-1.
"It's great to wake up when you've had a win," Moores said. "Sometimes, the morning after is the time you really feel wins and losses. So it's great to know we're back in the series, at 2-1."