New look ammunition Sri Lanka could topple S. Africa in T20 opener

Sri Lanka T20 Squad

Battered and bruised in the three Test matches, Sri Lanka does get an opportunity to have a go at South Africa in the shortest version of the game, the T20 at Centurion on Friday January 20. A format that the island nation finds itself more at home as an exponent that has basked in instant cricket being one of the elite five nations to have won cricket’s world cup in 1996, indeed, Angelo Mathews altogether different cast to the ones that featured in the disastrous Test series, could derive morale boosting strength therein when Sri Lanka takes on the obviously odds on home favourites in their own backyard. To six of the Test squad including the talented young duo of… 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 →

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 →

Going for Gold – youth plan to feed national grid managed by Hemal Mendis

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Touching gold is the ultimate in cricket be it the big stage performers or the establishment, and it is an ambitious five-year plan by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to drive youth cricket at grass roots level island wide from the cradle of junior cricket to the national mainstream that has raised great expectations for Sri Lanka. A vision of incumbent President of Sri Lanka Cricket, Thilanga Sumathipala, and directed by Hemal Mendis, the Manager in charge of District and Provincial coaching, this initiative is expected to unearth and garner the cream of youth talent from under 15, 17 in a concentrated overhaul of the existing national coaching system involving 48 district and provincial coaches. It would be a lead up… 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 →

SLC President and Wasim Akram recall cricket’s poignant past at Dialog Cricket Awards

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The game of cricket is all about performance and the stage and awards of trophy glitter the culminating reward for sweat, blood and tears for players who risk limb and life. It is the colorfully decorative ceremonial awards stage that brings together a cast who have performed for country and self. It is the fusion of performance in a calendar year and what a fusion it was of Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) 2016 Dialog Cricket Awards night in what as the presenter put it was a fusion of cricket and music with the SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala leading the way. There he was flanked by the legendary former Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram gangling tall as ever on stage as… 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 →