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Australian streaker jailed and fined by Sri Lanka

2.00K   //    27 Jul 2016, 20:43 IST
The play on Day 2 of the 1st SL-AUS Test was called off prematurely after incessant rains continued pouring down at Pallekele 

An Australian streaker, who was accused of indecent behaviour, which included running naked across the ground and drunken behaviour at a public place, was jailed by a local court on Wednesday and was fined 3000 Rupees ($20). During the third session of play on Day 1 of the 1st Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia at Kandy, an Australian national, later identified as Alexander James from Queensland, was seen running naked inside the playing area and was consequently chased down by an armed police official, caught, and was jailed for a week by the court.

Thankfully, the players weren’t forced to bear witnesses to such an act of indecency, as the play was halted due to the incessant rains that have pelted Pallekele over the past two days and have spoiled several overs of play. “He was charged on two counts - drunken behaviour at a public place and indecent exposure. He was also fined 3 000 rupees,” the AFP was informed by an official at the Kandy magistrate’s court.

Such instances, that of streakers interrupting play or running across the ground causing nuisance, have been rare occurrences in the island nation. The video footage showed the man jumping over the fence, stripping, and then running over the covers that were brought on to protect the outfield from the rain. An armed police officer chased the streaker off the ground at first and later arrested him. 

Sri Lanka sensitive to insults to Buddhism 

The charges were pressed also because the man's actions had hurt the sentiments of the Buddhist priests, to whom Kandy is a home, the Temple of Tooth, one of Sri Lanka’s most sanctified shrines is situated in Kandy. The country, historically, has been very sensitive to insults towards Buddhism, with the authorities asking a British nurse to leave the country in 2014 after she had sported a Buddha tattoo on her arm. In 2013, another British tourist was prohibited from entering the island because of a similar ‘disrespect’ being shown to Buddhism by having a tattoo. A year back, in August 2012, three French tourists were sentenced to six months in jail, after they had kissed a Buddha statue, as the act was also perceived as the one that showed disrespect.

On the field, the hosts were bowled out for 117 in their first innings, after they had won the toss and had elected to bat first, and Australia, in reply, took a steady lead of 86 runs on Day 2, despite them becoming the victims of some vicious spin bowling by the Lankan veteran Rangana Herath and the debutant, Lakshan Sandakan, as they were bowled out for 203 in their first innings. In the second innings, the hosts were 6/1 in 2.2 overs, when there was another rain interruption, forcing the day’s play to be called off.

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