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Automatic World Cup qualification in Sri Lanka’s mind ahead of today’s game



Sri Lanka’s hopes of qualifying for the semis are almost over.

Rex Clementine
in Brisbane

After weeks of rain and washouts, finally the World Cup has returned to Queensland where hot and sunny weather is greeting the teams. The Sri Lankans of course are feeling at home and trained yesterday at Ian Healy Oval, an half hour drive from Brisbane.

Sri Lankans of course remember Healy very well. He was an outstanding wicketkeeper and was stand-in captain when Mark Taylor was unwell but never got the job permanently as the Aussies have the habit of not giving the job to their keepers on a full time basis. Healy was sandwiched between two other fine keepers – Rod Marsh and Adam Gilchrist, who never got the job full time, although they were brilliant leaders. Tim Paine of course was an exception? Or was he? Well, after the sandpaper gate, the Aussies were left with Hobson’s choice and Paine became captain by default.

Healy was also known for his sharp sledging. Once at SCG when Arju called for a runner, Healy was furious as he saw the team’s fastest man Sanath Jayasuriya coming in to run for the skipper. And he told Arju, ‘You don’t get a runner for being a fat, unfit c***.’

Induwara Ranatunga, Arju’s nephew lives in Brisbane and he plays for Northern Suburbs District Club, the same club as Healy. His son and Arju’s nephew are team mates. Yes, it’s a small world after all.

Talking about today’s World Cup fixture between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, although Brisbane has been hot and sunny, there’s rain predicted for today. The good news is it is supposed to clear by the afternoon. Sri Lanka play the first game of the day while later in the day New Zealand and England will be involved in a game. It’s a crunch match for England.

Sri Lanka’s hopes of qualifying for the semis are almost over. Although technically they do have a chance, those are very remote.

However, the Afghanistan fixture is crucial for Sri Lanka as a win here will help them to move from bottom of Group 1 to number four. Irrespective of the result of their last game in the group against England, they should be able to hold onto that slot and the top four teams from each group qualify for next World Cup in USA and West Indies.

Fortunately for Sri Lanka, there are no injury concerns. They should play the same team like the last game.

While the fast bowlers have come good and the top order has fired, Dasun Shanaka’s side will be worried that their captain and Bhanuka Rajapaksa have not come up with big contraptions.

Afghanistan humbled Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup first round game in August in UAE. After that defeat Sri Lanka bounced back in style. Not only did they beat the Afghans in the second round, they went onto defeat India and Pakistan as well on their way to a sixth Asia Cup title.

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Track and field action from Diyagama



Olympian Sumedha Ranasinghe was the winner of the men’s javelin throw as he cleared a distance of 78.31 metres.

The Track and Field season commenced with some of the best athletes in the senior and Under 20 age categories producing notable performances during the two-day Junior and Senior Selection Trial concluded at Diyagama on Tuesday. Here are some action pictures from the day two of the event.

(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

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Dharshana’s false start dampen an otherwise remarkable day



Tharushi Karunaratne beat Nadeesha Ramanayake to win the women’s 400 metres.

by Reemus Fernando

Sprinter Aruna Dharshana gave athletics fans both joy and heartache on an otherwise remarkable day as the Junior and Senior Track and Field trials concluded with a number of athletes achieving their personal bests at Diyagama yesterday.

Athletics analysts were waiting for Dharshana to reach his personal best in the men’s 400 metres final after the Army athlete produced the best performance in the heats where as many as five athletes clocked sub 47 seconds. When Dharshana followed up his 200 metres winning time of 21.12 seconds with a feat of 46.43 seconds in the 400 metres many expected him to produce a sub 46 seconds performance in the final.

But the shocking foul start meant that he will have to wait for more than a month to test his true potential. Incidentally, Kalinga Kumarage, who was off-colour in the heats (47.51 secs – second in heat 3) won the final with a feat of 46.27 seconds. However, 100 metres sprinter Medhani Jayamanne who was disqualified for a foul start in the women’s 100 metres heats was not so unlucky, as athletics officials gave her an opportunity to compete in the women’s 100 metres final, though her place was (2nd) not recognised. She clocked 12.16 seconds in the final.

Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best to win the men’s 100 metres.

In Dharshana’s absence four others, namely, Kumarage, R.N. Rajakaruna, Dinuka Deshan and Pabasara Niku clocked sub 47 seconds.

In the corresponding women’s 400 metres, schoolgirl Tharushi Karunaratne continued to shock her senior counterparts. Having won the women’s 800 metres on day one, the Ratnayake Central prodigy also bagged the 400 metres victory as she clocked 53.41 seconds to beat Asian Championship participant Nadeesha Ramanayake.

In the men’s 100 metres Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best as he clocked 10.37 seconds to win the final.

In the women’s 100 metres final, Rumeshika Ratnayake clocked 12.01 seconds to win running against the wind (-2.9). In the heats, she clocked sub 12 seconds.

In the morning, Gayanthika Abeyratne finished the women’s 1500 metres just three seconds shy of her national record mark as she clocked 4:12.53 seconds to win closely followed by steeplechase national record holder Nilani Ratnayake. Abeyratne’s national record established last year stands at 4:09.12 seconds.

In the Under 20 age category events Malith Yasiru produced the second-best performance of the Asian region in the Under 20 boys’ triple jump this year when he cleared a distance of 15.43 metres to win the event.

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Sri Lankan sailing teams compete in Pakistan



The Sri Lankan national team of two sailors and one windsurfer, with the Navy team of a sailor and a windsurfer, were invited to participate at the first Chief of Navy Staff International Sailing Regatta 2023 held from March 14 to 20 in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve countries including Australia, Bahrain, Croatia, Egypt, China, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey had sent their teams to Karachi. The Sri Lankan national team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) NGMU Ghanawardene, Sri Lanka Navy, Priyantha Gunawardene, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class and Laser 4.7 (ILCA 4) sailor Tharen Nanayakkara. The Navy team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) JMPL Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Navy and WAS Weeratunge, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class.

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