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Ashen Bandara set to raise Sri Lanka’s fielding standards

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Ashen Bandara has been named in the Sri Lankan squad for the first time.(The Papare)

by Rex Clementine

Over the years, there’s been a few concerns about Sri Lanka’s poor fielding standards. Dropped catches have cost the national cricket team dearly with costliest of them being at the Champions Trophy in 2017 in Wales when Thisara Perera put down Sarfraz Ahmed. At the post match media briefing, the Pakistan captain rubbed salt into wounds saying, ‘I will remember it for the rest of my life and he will remember it for the rest of his life.’ Pakistan went onto win the title beating arch-rivals India in the final at The Oval. Mickey Arthur was Pakistan’s coach.

Arthur desperately searches for fielding excellence and he was able to raise Pakistan’s standards. He seems like pushing for excellence in fielding with Sri Lanka too and several young players who are good fielders are being drafted into the side and the most exciting of them all is Ashen Bandara.

Galle has produced many fine cricket talents in recent years with Richmond College producing most of these standout players. Bandara, however, is from St. Aloysius.

In 2017, during the Galle Test against India, a few players were injured and soon word was sent to the closest school to the ground to send a few players just in case of emergency. So St. Aloysius sent down a few of their First XI cricketers and Ashen was one of them.

In fact, Ashen had to come onto the field for a session. He was electric – diving around and sprinting like a cheetah to cut off boundaries. He caught the imagination of Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who predicted a bright future for the young kid.

That Ashen would go onto make headlines in international cricket was first predicted by Upul Chandana, the fielding coach of Sri Lanka Under-19.

“We are really pleased that both Ashen Bandara and Pathum Nissanka are joining us on tour for the first time. They are both dynamic and versatile in the field which is a credit to Manoj Abeywickrama and the staff at High Performance Center,” Shane McDermott, Fielding Coach of the Sri Lankan team told The Island.

“Ashen is very exciting young talent. He hits the ball well and he is very athletic. He has a good technique and he is electrifying in the field,” Head Coach Mickey Arthur said.



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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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