A history-making spell of bowling from Lasith Malinga led Sri Lanka to a stunning win over the Black Caps, but questions have been raised over a potential major error in his record-breaking performance.

Malinga had dispatched Colin Munro - bowled - and Hamish Rutherford - lbw - in back-to-back deliveries, bringing Colin de Grandhomme to the crease to face the hat-trick ball.

Out came Malinga's trademark yorker, and the stumps were skittled, but as Sri Lanka celebrated wildly, de Grandhomme was told to halt his slow trudge off the park as the umpires checked for a no-ball.

It would have been an extreme anti-climax, and the third umpire was given an extremely difficult call to make when shown the images which displayed Malinga's foot periously close to over-stepping.

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The rule states that part of the heel must be behind the line, and some fans on social media weren't convinced that it was.

The third umpire ruled Malinga's delivery to be legal, though, and De Grandhomme had to go. His wicket was a big scalp, having produced match-winning performances of 44 and 59 in the first two games, and with the Black Caps only needing to chase Sri Lanka's 125-8 to win, all wickets were crucial.

However, with Malinga in such fine form - he took the wicket of Ross Taylor the following ball to claim four wickets in four balls, the first person to do so twice in international cricket - the Black Caps would have always been hard-pressed to claim victory.

But, had the third umpire seen things differently, Malinga may not have put his name in the record books.

The rule states that part of the heel must be behind the line. Photo / Twitter.
The rule states that part of the heel must be behind the line. Photo / Twitter.
The rule states that part of the heel must be behind the line. Photo / Twitter.
The rule states that part of the heel must be behind the line. Photo / Twitter.