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 →

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 →