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Arthur bemoans poor batting after second Test goes ‘horribly wrong’

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Angelo Mathews was bowled attempting to sweep Dom Bess (SLC)

Sri Lanka “let it slip in one disastrous session”, says coach, after second Galle defeat

Sri Lanka threw it away. Their hyper-aggressive approach to the second innings wasn’t part of the plan. And their 126 all out ruined three days of good work.

These were Mickey Arthur’s takeaways after the dispiriting 2-0 loss against England. Sri Lanka had established a 37-run first-innings lead on the fourth morning, with England due to bat in the fourth innings. And yet, their batsmen crumbled to 66 for 6 before lunch – five of those players dismissed playing attacking shots. That phase of play essentially handed England the match, even if they eventually had to chase 164 for victory, thanks to a late 40 from No. 10 Lasith Embuldeniya.

“We fought and fought and fought for three days and got ourselves in a really good position, and in two hours we proceeded to throw it away,” Arthur said. “It was poor batting. It’s something I’m going to sit and talk with the players about now. When we lead the game, we’ve got to be able to put our foot on the neck of the opposition and we didn’t do that. That today just wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to learn to be ruthless.”

Such was Sri Lanka’s commitment to wanton aggression in this innings, that there were questions whether the team had agreed that all-out attack was their best way forward in this Test. Arthur said, however, that the plan had actually been to progress more gradually, and to bat time, as they had in the second innings of the first Test, when Sri Lanka made 359 in 136.5 overs.

“That was nowhere near our gameplan. Our gameplan this morning was to absorb pressure, grind away, and grind out a couple of sessions to make sure that we got ourselves into a very good position to push for the win tomorrow. That was our strategy. We had a long chat about that this morning. We used the blueprint of our second innings in the first Test match as something that we wanted to base our innings on. Somewhere it’s gone horribly wrong. That’s something I’m going to dig up and find tonight.”

The first Test was lost due to a similar collapse, in the first innings of the match that time. Sri Lanka were skittled for 135, again playing with extreme aggression.

“This isn’t the first time that it’s happened, and it’s something I need to look into with the team,” Arthur said. “We let it slip in one disastrous session. Much like in the first Test when we let slip in the first innings again. We can’t afford as a team to have those poor sessions. We’ve got to get our good and our bad closer together. The game was there for us to take and we didn’t take it. Extremely disappointed with that.”

Among the only bright spots for Sri Lanka for this series was the bowling of Embuldeniya, who took 10 for 210 in this Test, and also produced his best first-class score with the bat. Embuldeniya had not been selected for the Tests against South Africa several weeks earlier, but through the course of this series has presented a case for being considered Sri Lanka’s premier Test spinner.

“I was very excited for Lasith Embuldeniya,” Arthur said. “He works so hard at his game. When you get those rewards, in his ninth or tenth Test match, it’s unbelievable. I always tell him he’s got the gift of the fingers – he’s able to spin the ball. I think he’s got a wonderful future. He really is a very impressive young man and spin bowler. I’m very excited to be working with him in future, because I think he’s going to be very special.” (ESPN)



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Saajida Razick clinches Under-16 girls’ title

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SSC Open Ranking Tennis

Bishops College player Saajida Razick out played Dinara de Silva to clinch the Under-16 girls’ singles title of the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Thursday.

The number two ranked Under-16 player beat the St. Bridget’s Convent player 6-2, 6-1 to claim her first title of the year in her age category.

Razick was out played by Hasali Gajaba at last month’s Colombo Championships and was eliminated in the quarter-finals at the Tennis Nationals 2020 (U16) which was played in January.

Though the finalists are from two schools they represent the same tennis school, namely the Dineshkanthan Tennis School.

In the Under-12 boys’ singles Elizabeth Moir School’s Saha Kapilasena won the title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Jayin de Saram in the final.

Meanwhile, Dulkini Ranasinghe and Arushi Thomas overcame stiff resistance to advance to the Under-14 girls’ singles final. Ranasinghe beat Jayami Thambugalage 4-6, 7-5, 10-7, while the other semi-final too was decided in three sets. Arushi Thomas beat Onali de Silva 6-7, 7-5, 10-6.

Results

Under-16 girls singles final

Saajida Razick beat Dinara de Silva 6-2, 6-1

Under-12 boys singles final

Saha Kapilasena beat Jayin de Saram 6-3, 6-4

Under-14 girls singles semi-finals

Dulkini Ranasinghe beat Jayami Thambugalage 4-6, 7-5, 10-7

Arushi Thomas beat Onali de Silva 6-7, 7-5, 10-6 (RF)

 

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Ahan, Sadeesh in record-breaking stand as Royal recommence cricket

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Under-19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

Captain Ahan Wickramasinghe scored an unbeaten double century and put on a record breaking partnership with Sadeesha Rajapaksha as Royal recommenced First XI cricket in style against Trinity at Reid Avenue on Thursday.

Royal reached 403 for two wickets at stumps as Wickramasinghe and Rajapaksha put on an unbroken third wicket stand of 362 runs.

According to Royal statistician M.L. Fernando ‘it is the highest stand by a Royal College pair against any opposition in more than their 140 year old history.

They broke the record held by Sumithra Waranakulasuriya and Ajith Dewasurendra.

“In 1981 Sumithra Waranakulasuriya and Ajith Dewasurendra put on 304 runs for the third wicket. Ajith walked in when the score was 10 for two and their stand helped the school win by an innings and 62 runs,” Fernando told The Island. Incidentally, the previous record too had been established against Trinity.

According to Fernando the partnership is also a new ground record at Reid Avenue, a venue which had witnessed the rise of a number of Sri Lanka national players.

The 19-year-old Wickramasinghe who was part of the Sri Lanka Under-19 team that featured in the last Youth World Cup faced 223 balls and stroked 17 fours and two sixes in his knock.

Rajapaksha’s knock which came in 259 balls contained ten fours.

The match started on Thursday was Royal’s first official cricket encounter since the 141st Battle of the Blues played last March. Though the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association is set to start a limited overs tournament instead of the customary league tourney of innings format, schools which respect their historic traditional encounters have resumed their First XI cricket matches.

The Royal-Trinity cricket series, which according to Royal statistician had been played uninterrupted, had commenced in 1893.

Scores:

Royal 403 for 2 in 98 overs

(Ahan Wickramasinghe 210n.o., Ashen Gamage 22, Sadeesha Rajapaksha 152n.o.,)

 

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SLT-MOBITEL Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb 2021 Concludes Successfully

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SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb 2021’ Motorbike and Car racing championship powered by the ultra-high speed fibre broadband and fastest mobile internet services provider in Sri Lanka SLT-MOBITEL concluded successfully amid much fanfare, on the 27th and 28th February, 2021 at the Eliyakanda racing circuit in Browns Hill Matara.

SLT-MOBITEL joined hands with the Southern Motor Sports Club (SMSC) for the 25th edition of the ‘SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb’.

The exciting racing spectacle comprised of 16 motor cycle events and 17 motor car events, on an uphill course covering a distance of 540 metres, The Bike races were conducted on 27th February and the Car races took place the next day, on 28th February, 2021.

Jaden Gunawardena took pole as the faster rider among 103 racers, marking a new race record of 33.63 seconds. Moreover, Ashan Silva made history at the car race as the first person in the event’s 25 year history to complete the race in 31.26 seconds. The race was made extra special as Ashan had in his first run beat Dilan Seneviratna’s record of 31.783 seconds.

The SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb is a national championship event which functions under the purview of the Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS), the governing body for motor sports in Sri Lanka.

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