How prepared was Sri Lanka, and the role of the Head Coach

Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews (L) speaks with coach Graham Ford during a practice session at The Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on August 2, 2016. 

Sri Lanka have the chance to seal a first series victory over Australia in 17 years when the second Test begins on August 4, in Galle, with Rangana Herath looking to wreak more havoc on his favourite ground. / AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S.KODIKARA

Sri Lanka’s 282-run second Test defeat to South Africa at Cape Town in handing the 3-match series to the hosts last week does raise questions as to the preparedness of Angelo Mathews’ team. They lost the first test at Port Elizabeth by 206 runs with the huge margins does comparatively reflect a marked difference between the two sides. Between the batting and the bowling, the Sri Lankan bowlers fared better than the batsmen restricting the opposition to 286 in the first innings of the first test taking first lease though wilting in the second essay conceding 406 for 6 wickets. But the Sri Lanka’s first innings dismissal for 205 was a factor that undermined the efforts of their bowling counterparts… Read More →

Virat Kohli was super star of 2016, Herath in top 10 list

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli celebrates after winning the fifth and final Test cricket match between India and England at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on December 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR / ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE----- / GETTYOUT

Virat Kohli was super star of 2016, Herath in top 10 list;  India No.1 Test XI, Australia No.1 ODI XI By Srian Obeyesekere While Sri Lanka’s spin bowler was the only player from the island nation to bowl himself in to the top ten performers fold, the international cricket year gone by was hogged by India’s Virat Kohli who proved to be the batting phenomenon of 2016, and of course the successor to all time great batsman Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli drove home his status quo by also going a notch further in turning things new succeeding long time Test captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to cap it in a flamboyance by leading India to finish as the ICC No.1 Test team…. Read More →

Greater discipline required by Sri Lankan batsmen

Sri Lanka batsman Dimuth Karunaratne (R) plays a shot during the fourth day of the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka on December 29, 2016 at the Port Elizabeth cricket ground in Port Elizabeth. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Sri Lanka’s 206-run first Test debacle must certainly raise question marks in Skipper Angelo Mathews camp. While the Sri Lankan bowlers did a good job dismissing the opposition for 286 in the first innings, the batting floundering for 201 in reply sqaundered the good work of the bowlers, thus putting the onus on them when South Africa batted a second time to declare on an imposing 406 for 6 wickets. Only relative newcomer Dhananjaya played a disciplined innings to top score with 43 followed by skipper Mathews’ 39 with Dinsh Chandimal at the top order unable to convert his 28 in to bigger things. That apart, it was all pathetic with the top four of Dimuth Karunaratne (05), Kaushal Silva… Read More →

Sri Lanka turned early holocaust to end 2016 on landmark note licking Aussies, Zimbabwe

Sri Lanka Test Team

On a rebuilding curve from a holocaust by a veteran player drain holocaust that undermined the beginning of the year by away series losses to New Zealand and England to new fortunes on a youth blitz sweeping of Australia in a historic home series triumph followed by success in Zimbabwe brought back Sri Lanka in a remarkably magnificent comeback high ending the year 2016. Indeed, Sri Lanka was looking down the barrel entering 2016 when New Zealand and England proved to be too much for the island nation driven in to new generation pastures by the retirement of frontline players. Devoid of longtime class performers on whose class acts its cricket thrust had thrived a decade long, Sri Lanka had… Read More →

Rangana Herath in ICC Test XI: A cricketer’s dream to sit on the mountain top

Rangana Herath

Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath named in an elite International Cricket Council (ICC) Test XI of the Year to be skippered by England’s Alistair Cook is cutti ng edge definition rocketing the 38-year old island nation’s spinner’s status quo in the international firmament. In a composition that sees four England players including Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, and two Australians David Warner and Adam Voges followed by Kane Williamson of New Zealand and R. Ashwin of India picked by a 3-man panel comprising Test stalwarts Rahul Dravid, Gary Kirsten and Kumar Sangakkara, Indian captain Virat Kohli, the man who has been the batting sensation of 2016, is a notable omission. Cook has been bestowed the honour of captaining the… Read More →

‘People’s Player of the Year’ Dilshan, now an entertainer, heart-throb of the people

TM Dilshan

Walking away with the annual prestigious ‘People’s Player of the Year’ award driven by Sri Lanka Cricket and Dialog recently was indeed a lofty decoration of the retired colorful Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan. A personality carrying a colourful heartthrob charm by his glamour outlook fine edged by groovy plated head of hair and conspicuous earrings, and equally matched by acrobatic fielding close to the bat to go with a razor edge batting flair underlined by his invention of the now famous over the wicket-keeper’s head ‘Dilscoop’ stroke, indeed the burly looking Dilshan was a character who won the hearts of his countrymen. Perhaps his marriage to the lovely tele-drama actress Manjula Thilini further propelled the gutsy all-rounder, who also… Read More →

India hold aces in colorful Youth Asia Cup semis; Sri Lanka has slight edge over Bangladesh

Sri Lanka Under 19 v India Under 19

The colorful Youth Asia Cup being staged in Sri Lanka for the first time with eight teams from the Asian hemisphere quite an attraction decking the city of Colombo in an array of dainty national outfit, heads for what on the form book holds out to be two absorbing semi finals today Tuesday December 20. Indeed, Asian cricket has journeyed to Sri Lanka as the heartthrob capturing the pulse of youth of this 21 million populace. From reigning champions India to hosts Sri Lanka, Nepal and Malaysia in that order occupying the championship Group A points table to Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Singapore respectively in Group B, it has been the adrenaline generating game of cricket that has caught the… Read More →

Tough campaigner Mathews lends muscle to exciting young cast

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South Africa will be a challenging hurdle for Angelo Mathews, back in the saddle from over a month long injury that sidelined him from international cricket after limping out during the second test against Australia. The toast of his country a fortnight ago hogging the cream of annual national Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) awards driven by Dialog including the prestigious Cricketer of the Year Award, for the 29-year old Sri Lanka captain thrust with the responsibility of both major forms of the game in tests and ODIs, the month long grueling tour will indeed be an exciting prospect at the helm of a relative fresher laden outfit given the blockbuster fiery aroma the 62 test match and 180 ODI capped… Read More →

Buoyed new look Sri Lanka on 1-month long tour of South Africa

Angelo Mathews

Sri Lanka’s predictably gruelling one and a half month long  December 26, 2016 to February 10, 2017 Test and ODI series tour does hold much interest. While the odds are heavily tacked in favour of South Africa for the home advantage the hosts will enjoy, what sparks the interest around the 3-match Test series and 5-match ODI series is the fact that Sri Lanka has gone a notch up the ladder in equalling South Africa in terms of Test ratings. This status raising credentials that must indeed buoy Angelo Mathews and his charges came in the wake of Sri Lanka’s recent sweeping away Test and ODI triumphs against Zimbabwe. Consequently, both teams are sitting at 96 marks in the ratings… Read More →

Upul Tharanga – A new awakening from cold storage to trophy Glitter

Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga celebrates his team's good bowling innings during the opening match of an ODI series Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe in Harare, on November 14 2016.  / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai Njikizana

From cold storage to strolling the park as the Sri Lanka cricket captain holding aloft the championship trophy! It is an apt summing up of 31-year old Upul Tharanga’s international career. Indeed, the left hander, who walked in to the Sri Lanka ODI team on August 2, 2005 against the West Indies in a home series as an opening batsman partnering Marvan Atapattu, soon insulated himself as an aggressive stroke maker in the role. His epoch making double ton partnership pairing with Sanath Jayasuriya versus England in England in a Test match remains memorable to this day. But Upul Tharanga sadly lost his way following a slight lean patch subsequently. Where many batsmen in that situation had benefitted from the… Read More →

Sri Lanka champs in champagne style led by Tharanga and Mendis

Sri Lanka's players and their captain Upul Tharanga (R) receive the trophy after winning the final of the Blue Mountain Achilleion tri-series played between Sri Lanka and hosts Zimbabwe at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on November 27, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai Njikizana

Sri Lanka’s trophy clinching comprehensive 6-wicket triumph over Zimbabwe skippered by Upul Tharanga in the three cornered triangular final at Harare on Sunday was a fitting rounding off for the Sri Lankans. For, it was a relative new look team with a strong cast of youngsters thrust under the leadership of an old guard in Tharanga while fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekera was the only other player from the old cast. Going into the championship, Sri Lanka was tested strongly having allowed the hosts Zimbabwe to dominate them initially losing to the West Indies while figuring in a no decision with Zimbabwe. At the start Sri Lanka lacked the required type of cohesion of knitting as an unit. A major concern… Read More →

Gallant Dhananjaya de Silva adds muscle to new order

Sri Lanka batsman Dhananjaya de Silva (L) is in action as Brian Chari escapes a ball during the first day of the second cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and hosts Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports club, on November 6, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai Njikizana

Among Sri Lanka’s young guns who fired down Zimbabwe in the 2-nil Test series sweep, Dananjaya de Silva, the lad from the Southern terrain of Hambantota, measured heavily in that away triumph. At a time the country is on a rebuilding curve, the 25-year old right hander did infuse the flamboyance of stroke play in imbibing the required middle order solidity that Sri Lanka has been questing for in blazing a new trail following the retirement of several veterans in the recent past. Dananjaya made scores of 25, 64, 127 and 9 respectively in the four innings of the two test matches he figured in at Harare recently. It was a wholly insulating effort in what was his maiden overseas… Read More →

Sri Lanka’s use of the pink ball in view of day-night Test cricket

Pink Ball Cricket In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka opting to use the pink ball for the first time in its cricket history this week is significant with pink ball cricket set to take centre stage largely in the near future with the ICC envisaging day-night Test cricket. It was used for the first time in the first unofficial Test cricket match between Sri Lanka A and West Indies A at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday October 4. Interestingly, the over century long game of cricket that originated using the red leather ball has seen a progressive shift from the red cherry. It has been pushed to a back seat by the popularity of white balls, cork balls and the like. Now with cricket’s global… Read More →

Ideal foundation for SL World Cup drive to take off

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From a turbulent phase of senior player retirements, Sri Lanka’s national cricket has come alive within a short time frame on a concentrated drive driven by Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) dynamic President Thilanga Sumathipala and his administration. While the highly cricket versed Sumathipala, who had to wade off several bouncers that long stood in his way of realizing his much cherished passion of serving the country’s cricket in putting things back on track, his chosen faithful Mohan de Silva, as Secretary has combined in very fruitful decisions backed by a highly capable Executive Committee. As Sri Lanka has admirably put behind the recent losses by an emphatic 3-0 Test series comeback sweep of Australia, it is the ideal upswing trendsetter… Read More →

Cheer Man Percy evokes sense of patriotism

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Cricket supersedes beyond the boundaries of the playing fields and the big stage performers in a family wholesome encompassing the populace at large, of whom the cheer leaders have succeeded in infusing an aroma of color and splendor to the over century long game. While today we see more cheer girls than cheer men who are largely outnumbered by the fairer sex who have enveloped world cricket in intensifying the sizzler action in the middle by their charm acts as stage performers, it is pertinent to dwell on the origin of cricket’s cheer leaders. That it dates back to a Sri Lankan in our very own Percy Abeysekera in the 1970s era when Sri Lanka was striving to win international… Read More →