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A Royal-Thomian without fans and outside Colombo for the first time

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The Battle of the Blues will be played without fans and outside Colombo for the first time this year.

by Reemus Fernando

The organizers of the historic Royal-Thomian cricket encounter are planning to conduct this year’s Battle of the Blues at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa in May.

It will be the first time the historic Big Match is played outside Colombo and without fans.

“The joint match organizing committee has set tentative dates for the 142nd Battle of the Blues between Royal College, Colombo and S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia to be played on 6th, 7th and 8th of May,” a communiqué issued by the organizers announced.

“The one-day match is scheduled for May 10 and may be played as a T20 encounter. That will be decided in due time.”

“The joint match committee is seeking the necessary approvals from the respective government institutes and ministries and will be closely monitoring the health and safety conditions of the country in order to follow appropriate regulatory steps to secure necessary bio bubbles. We hope to telecast the match live in the interest of the supporters of both schools and cricket loving public,” the communiqué further stated.

Speaking to The Island an official said that both matches will be played behind closed doors keeping in line with health and safety guidelines.

The cricket series which commenced in 1880 had not been interrupted even during the two World Wars, local insurgencies and civil war. Generally the match is played in mid March and the joint committee commences preparations months ahead of the match.

It is the first time since 1994 the match will be played at a venue other than the SSC ground. It had been played at either the SSC or the Oval since 1942.

The Battle of the Blues was one of the very few Big Matches to be played last year before the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic brought sports to a grinding halt and forced many Big Matches to be cancelled.



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Silverwood applauds problem solver Asalanka

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His ability to debate makes him a cut above the rest – Arthur

By Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chris Silverwood and his predecessor Mickey Arthur heaped high praise on middle order batsman Charith Asalanka, whose stunning 83 not out helped Sri Lanka to complete the highest successful run chase ever at home on Wednesday.Set an improbable target of 314, Asalanka played a blinder smashing five fours and four sixes during his 72-ball knock with the last six sealing Sri Lanka’s victory with two balls to spare.

Asalanka made his Sri Lanka debut in England during Arthur’s time as Head Coach last year. Although a top order batsman, Arthur made him to bat at number five, a position where you have to absorb pressure, especially during run chases. What factors in Asalanka impressed Arthur?

“Charith worked so hard when he came into the team. He is always willing to take on information, listen and ready to debate if he wasn’t convinced on something. That’s a very good feature in a young player. I like that kind of attitude. He has this aura about him. Dasun Shanaka is doing a fine job right now but one day when he is finished Charith is the guy who is going to take on the reins of leadership,” Arthur told Sunday Island.

The former Head Coach currently lives in UK where he coaches English county Derbyshire. He is in Colombo for the Lanka Premier League that gets underway next week.

“What prompted us to fit him in the middle order is that a left-hander gives you so many positives. Charith has this ability to switch gears. Increase and decrease the tempo. He is a wristy player and can manipulate things when he is out in the middle. He can hit boundaries at any given time with his ability to find gaps and he is good at rotating the strike. He has worked very hard on sweeping and he is now able to score all-around the wicket.”

While Arthur is in Colombo, Silverwood is back in the UK spending time with family for Christmas. Although he is from Yorkshire, he lives now in Essex, half hour drive from London. Silverwood won the County Championship with Essex, a title that they won after 25 years.

“I am looking for people who want to put their hands up and get the team over the line. The way Charith went about his business was superb. The influence he had on Dunith was a strong one as well during the run chase. He took calculated risks and showed what a fine player he is,” Silverwood added.

“Charith is a problem solver. He can find answers for any tough situation. He is a strong character and a good thinker.”

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World Cup 2022: Did it cross the line? Germany out as Japan and Spain progress

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Did the ball cross the line?

That is the age-old World Cup question for Germany, who crashed out as Japan beat Spain thanks to an opinion-dividing winner that left many scratching their heads.Kaoru Mitoma’s cutback for Ao Tanaka’s tap-in happened just after the ball looked to have crossed the byeline.

Even after cropping and zooming it looked incredibly close. Eventually it was ruled that the ball had not fully crossed the line.

In other words, if you drew an imaginary line upwards at 90 degrees from the far edge of the whitewash, it would have still passed through the curve of the ball – albeit only just – even though the part of the ball that touched the ground had fully crossed the line.The goal was initially ruled out by the assistant referee after a long pause, then the video assistant referee (VAR) intervened and ultimately Japan’s lead would stand – and they would go on to win.

“I have seen a photo that must have been tampered with, it cannot be that this photo is real. It has to be manipulated,” said Spain boss Luis Enrique.

“I felt that something fishy was going on when the VAR took as much time as it did to decide… I have nothing to say.

“Luckily, the team only goes into collapse mode once every four years, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to cope.”

The controversy evoked memories of Frank Lampard’s “ghost goal” against Germany in 2010, when England went out in the last 16, and – no doubt for German fans of a certain vintage – of 1966 and Geoff Hurst’s extra-time effort when England won the World Cup.

In Qatar, those three points for Japan meant Germany were out, the four-time winners falling at the group stage for a second consecutive tournament.It was just one moment on a World Cup night full of spine tingling drama.

(BBC)

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Vishen Halambage could be next big thing in cricket

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St. Peter’s take on Thurstan College in the under-19 finals today at Colts Cricket Ground and all eyes will be on young Vishen Halambage, who has been making headlines as a prolific run scorer in schools’ cricket.
The right-handed opening batsman is the leading run scorer in the competition having scored 456 runs with two hundreds and one fifty. He is also a handy leg-spinner and has taken 18 wickets in the tournament.
Vishen hails from Ambalangoda, a town that has produced many fine cricketers. He had his initial education at Stafford International before shifting to St. Peter’s to pursue his cricketing ambitions. He has done well in all age groups at St. Peter’s and has got one more year in the under-19 set up.
Vishen is in the national selection panel’s radar and has been shortlisted in the initial pool of 30 to take on West Indies in the bilateral series. He is also expected to feature in the next ICC Under-19 World Cup and could go onto skipper the Sri Lankan team having already captained the national under-15 side.
Cricket is in Vishen’s blood. His father Kumara Halambage played cricket for Dharmashoka, Ambalangoda and First-Class cricket for Singha SC. His uncle, Premasiri Halambage, was the President of Galle District Cricket Association.

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