Buoyed Sri Lanka go for clean sweep despite Dickwella suspension

Australia's James Faulkner (3rd R) celebrates the wicket of Niroshan Dickwella of Sri Lanka (front L) during the second Twenty20 cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Kardinia Park in Geelong on February 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mal Fairclough / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --

Basking in the aura of having already knocked out of contention the might of instant cricket in the 3-match T20 series, it will be a sky high fired up Sri Lanka that will go in to the third and final match tomorrow Wednesday against arch foes Australia at the Adelaide Oval. The 2-nil insulation of Upul Tharanga’s charges following back to back wins at Melbourne and Geelong has already put the Sri Lankans in the box seat of the trophy spoils. Of course, the handicap of the suspended in form batsman Niroshan Dickwella  from a dissent of an umpiring decision, dampening as it is will not deter the Sri Lankans final pursuit. Dickwella has been suspended for two limited-overs matches… Read More →

Asela Gunaratne cameo seals Sri Lanka’s T20 series triumph over Aussies

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No Mathews, no Chandimal, a new look Sri Lanka, given the necessitated by the Upul Tharanga captaincy switch,  simply thundering down Australia in a series sealing two straight wins with no real big batting names, but  virtual newcomer Asela Gunaratne reeling off back to back half centuries. Its instant cricket status considerably down following player retirements and injury side linings, thumping the world beaters of cricket in their own backyard is indeed sky high stuff. If the opening match at Melbourne was a glorious down to the  wire triumph, coming trumps up from what looked certain defeat at Kardinia Park in Victoria knocking off 174 was  blood and thunder re-insulating insulating stuff. On a day bigger names like skipper Tharanga… Read More →

Twin double centurions Ruwan Lakshan 272, Isuru Chamara 237 in Shastranada MV’s innings win

SCHOOL CRICKET AT A GLANCE By Srian Obeyesekere A rare feat of two players from the same school holding centre stage in a record feat of scoring twin double centuries was recorded from Madampe during the week-end. It was a run feast all the way as Ruwan Lakshan struck 272 and Isuru Chamara 237 in posting over 500 runs between them for Shastranada MV, Dehiwala in romping to an innings and 556-run win over Madampe MMV, Kuleegoda. Lakshan struck 35 boundaries and 13 sixes in a 168-ball knock while Chamara struck 28 fours and 9 sixes off 160 balls in a 201-run 4th wicket partnership in a whopping 729 for 9 wickets for Shastranada MV . Madampe MMV was bundled… Read More →

Sri Lanka A vs. England Lions: A window for youngsters

Sri Lanka A Team

The humming winds for Sri Lankan cricket cannot be any more timely than more exposure mounting international cricket exchanges in the accelerated blooding pathway the cricket establishment – Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) envisages. In that perspective the February-March home tour of Sri Lanka A playing hosts to its England counterparts would be a much expectant revealing window for the national selectors headed by Sanath Jayasuriya. More so as the selectors’ fine combing drive assumes all priority in the hunt for the ideal mix as Chairman of Selectors, Jayasuriya and his co selectors seek to fix the mainstream national composition to top grating proportions. The cricket tour exchanges in the recent past from New Zealand to England, Australia, Zimbabwe and South… Read More →

Individual positives from S. Africa; Young blood will mature from more exposure 

South Africa's captain AB de Villiers plays a shot during their One Day International (ODI) cricket match against Sri Lanka at St George's Park on January 28, 2017, in Port Elizabeth. 
This is the first ODI in the series. / AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH

South Africa’s 5-0 ODI clean sweep of Sri Lanka is a hard to digest result in a scenario of a plaguing injury sidelining of regular skipper Angelo Mathews and stand in Test captain and ODI vice captain Dinesh Chandimal losing his place. For the duo are trump card stuff on which the island nation’s cricket forward drive had shaped up fronting up as prime new generation torch bearers. Of course, trumping South Africa in their own backyard was from the very start a tall order given the superior player advantage the host country enjoyed even before a ball was bowled. Going in to the over month long T20, Test and ODI contests that South Africa had a professionally ingrained string… Read More →

Bravo Tharanga & company: Sri Lanka radiant in defeat

Sri Lanka's Upul Tharanga (1st-R) bats during the One Day International (ODI) cricket match against South Africa, at Newlands Cricket stadium on February 7, 2017, in Cape Town. / AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH

What a so close but yet so far finish it was! Sri Lanka in full throttle on 190 for 1 wicket with skipper Upul Tharanga on song on 102 and Kusal Mendis blossoming for bigger things on 23 by the 23rd over. But when it looked like Sri Lanka had the match within its grasp and was on course to jinxing a piece of history by going past South Africa’s improbable 368 at the Newlands, Mendis holing out with the total on 203 was to signal a breakdown. Not long after Tharanga, who had played perhaps the innings of his like in redeeming himself in signalling a second anointment or his re-arrival with a majestic captain’s knock reaching thee three… Read More →

With SLC window to lower rungs to national team: The heat intensifies in domestic scenario

With a window being opened by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for latent talent at any level from the under-19 youth base to Sri Lanka A team and even school cricketers for mainstream national selection, this far sighted initiative has pleasingly seen the domestic cricket scenario become far more competitive. While this initiative on the cricket youth vision mooted by SLC President, Thilanga Sumathipala already having paved the way for several youngsters to walk in to the Sri Lanka team on the merits of their performances is an ongoing team rebuilding process, it has with it intensified player interest to grab the opportunity. The realization of the schoolboy cricketing dream being closer to reality, there has been a talent surge witnessed… Read More →

New blood Lankan batsmen must take lesson from defeat to apply them-selves

Players lay low as a swarm of bees storm the field during the third One Day International (ODI) match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Wanderers cricket ground on February 4, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. 
The South African team and the wickets are in pink to mark World Cancer Awarness day on February 4. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

That it extraordinarily is like a musical cushions jigsaw puzzle that only Niroshan Dickwella it is who fires for Sri Lanka while the other batsmen around him keep falling like nine pins but for the occasional 30 odd like Upul Tharanga’s, makes one wonder whether only Dickwella is game fit. Certainly getting dismissed for 163 consuming just 39.2 overs having sat pretty at 60 for 1 is an indictment of the top order Sri Lankan batting line up where the rest bar Dickwella and Tharanga flashed their bats gifting their wickets. It handed South Africa a compelling 7-wicket win and the series in the third and decisive game at the Centurion complex at Johannesburgaving. By all accounts, there has been… Read More →

Dropped catch and suicidal run out proves costly for Sri Lanka

South African JP Duminy bats in front of Dinesh Chandimal of Sri Lanka during the second One Day International cricket match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Kingsmead cricket ground on February 1, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.  / AFP PHOTO / ANESH DEBIKY

Whatever semblance of a chance Sri Lanka had of making a match of it evaporated with the fifth wicket run out of Asela Gunaratne with the total on 119 as Sri Lanka chased South Africa’s imposing 307 for 6 at Durban’s Kingsmead at a run rate of 6.14 an over. Dinesh Chandimal was the striker, and moved out of his crease with the stroke on the off side before rushing back to his crease leaving Gunaratne who had scampered down stranded. The 44-run partnership between the duo had lifted Sri Lanka from a dire 74 for 3, and had seemed to be blossoming when indiscretion crept in. The suicidal dismissal must evoke question marks about the running between the wickets… Read More →

Mendis underscores talent, but South Africa clinically professional

Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis (R) bats during the One Day International(ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on January 28, 2017. x / AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH

In an 8-wicket smarting at the hands of South Africa in the opening ODI, young batting spark Kusal Mendis riding back to form on a top score of 62 piercing the boundary line on ten occasions was the only consolation for the relative young Sri Lankan team. Given the strong odds Upul Tharanga’s Sri Lankans were pitted against of a strong batting pedigree of tried and tested frontline of the likes of run machines like A.B. de Villiers and Hashim Amla and Quintin de Kock and F. du Plessis, it was always a tough call for the visitors; what is more with their skipper Angelo Mathews out of action. That Sri Lanka went in with a debutant in 23-year old… Read More →

Dickwella the hero in champagne series triumph from the agony to the ecstasy

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This Sri Lankan series defining 5-wicket triumph over South Africa in the decisive third T20 match is the fruition from an agony to the ecstatic rising from the dumps champagne flowing celebrative affair for the Sri Lankan camp. For, there was Sri Lanka on a tour groping, morale dampening curve losing the Test series 0-3, and the T20 opener with only a few individual performances to smile about. In that scenario, breaking the drought by 3-wickets in the second game was heartening on a flowing half century by skipper Angelo Mathews. But that joy being short lived with the bad news that the captain had a sidelining sprained ankle putting him out of action, was indeed smarting. Sri Lanka was… Read More →

Mathews salvos Sri Lanka to victory after Sandakan strikes

Sri Lanka bowler Lakshan Sandakan (2-L) celebrates the dismissal of South African batsman Mangaliso Mosehle (not pictured) during the second T20 match between South Africa and Sri Lanka on January 22, 2017 at Wanderers Cricket Ground in Johannesburg. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Sri Lanka Skipper Angelo Mathews did fire the salvos in a typical captain’s knock of an unbeaten half century in even time in a characteristic mixture of the David and Goliath type of restraint coupled with aggression for Sri Lanka to break their barren run at long last by a 3-wicket T20 triumph over South Africa in the second and final match at Johannesburg to square the 2-match affair. In an ideally Sunday parade like show of muscle, Mathews salvaged the island nation’s dented image in the ongoing tour in a crispy knock that contained three lusty shots over the ropes and a boundary in 63 minutes with his strike rate soaring to 108.00. If Skipper Angelo Mathews fittingly played… Read More →

Head coach Ford and staff have plateful on their hands

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Skipper Angelo Mathews post-match statement that ‘it was my worst defeat as captain’ is indeed a manifestation as to how badly Sri Lanka was bruised by hosts South Africa in the 118-run innings defeat of the third Test match at Johannesburg last week. It signalled the 3-nil whitewash in a series Sri Lanka was comprehensively outplayed by the hosts in all departments of the game. If the losses in the first two Tests were smarting, the third Test annihilation of Mathews team rubbed the salt in the wounds. Of course, the swaying factor that made the big difference between the two teams was the superior South African pace bowling attack. At the New Wanderers Stadium pitch which is pace friendly… Read More →

Suranga Lakmal – a find in art of swing bowling

Suranga Lakmal

Swing bowling is an art when perfected to good measure is a thing of beauty to watch! The flying action, the foot rotation, and above all the two arms that dictate that final fling; one fronted up lending leverage to the delivery arm. Essentially the feet-arm, hip coordination as the swiveling chest as much overly perfects the delivery. Indeed, swing and out swing have down the years of the over century long game of ball versus bat decorated it in the science of fast bowling in a host of great names like Australia’s Ray Lindwall, Allan Davidson, Dennis Lillee to England’s Fred Trueman, Pakistan’s Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee, India’s Kapil Dev, and our own… Read More →

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 →