Chamidu Abeysinghe, Ivanka Samarasinghe and Gianna Perera won their respective age group singles titles and Saajida Razick and Dinara de Silva bagged the women’s doubles title of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association conducted Hard Court Tennis Nationals 2023.
In the Under 12 girls’ singles final, Gianna Perera beat Hesandee Mallawa 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the title.
Ivanka Samarasinghe overcame a set defeat to beat Vinethya Dharmarathne 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 in the Under 16 girls’ final.
Chamidu Abeysinghe won the Under 14 boys’ singles crown when he beat Ashlin de Silva 7-6, 6-1 in the final.
In the women’s doubles, Saajida Razick and Dinara de Silva beat Janali Manamperi and Neyara Weerawansa 6-4, 6-4.
Moeen Ali turns on the power as England overwhelm Bangladesh
England enjoyed a useful, if hyper-extended, workout under the Guwahati floodlights, as a three-hour rain delay and even a nearby earthquake couldn’t prevent the world champions from finalising their tournament plans in a high-octane run-chase against Bangladesh. The result, while immaterial, was secured with a blizzard of sixes from Moeen Ali whose 56 from 39 balls secured a four-wicket win with a hefty 77 balls remaining of their rain-reduced 37-over chase.
Bangladesh had their moments, particularly while Tanzid Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman were showing their ability with bat and ball in the powerplay, but ultimately they were overwhelmed by England’s unrelenting aggression. The tone of England’s attacking display was set by a bristling Jonny Bairstow who stretched his legs for 34 from 21 balls, in the manner that had been denied him during the “utter chaos” of England’s 38-hour trek to India’s eastern extremities.
Jos Buttler kept up the belligerent tempo to make 30 from 15 in his short and on-point visit to the crease, and though Liam Livingstone came and went tamely, by the time Moeen holed out with four runs to win, he’d launched six sixes into the Assam night to confirm his side will be striding confidently into this week’s tournament opener against New Zealand.
Of far more relevance than the result was the time in the middle for a host of cooped-up players, most particularly the 2019 veterans, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid, who have both been wrapped in cotton wool for the past few weeks, and Joe Root, who remains short of form and confidence, but who survived a painful blow to the groin, as well as a grim error from Taskin Ahmed at deep backward square, to anchor the chase with an unbeaten 26 from 40 balls.
The contest duly finished some eight-and-a-half hours after the first ball had been bowled, but for a time, it had seemed that England’s preparations – across both this game and Saturday’s wash-out against India – would be limited to a 30-over work-out in the afternoon’s truncated action.
At least in that time, England were able to give a clean bill of health to nine members of their bowling attack, including all six of their frontline fast bowlers … although they are now about to be folded back up and stowed away once more in economy class for Tuesday’s flight to Ahmedabad.
Most crucial among those was Wood, England’s fastest and most ferocious point of difference, who had not been unleashed in a competitive environment since the end of July, ostensibly due to a bruised heel sustained during the Ashes. Not for the first time, he showed his explosive pace from the outset of his three-over burst, and should have claimed the wicket of both of Bangladesh’s most effective batters.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz anchored Bangladesh’s innings with a hard-earned 74 from 89 balls, but he should have fallen for 7, to the sixth ball of Wood’s return, when, after a tentative start to his knock, he fenced a lifter outside off but neither Buttler nor Root at first slip reacted in time to cling onto the edge.
However, Wood got his reward two overs later instead. Tanzid’s 45 from 44 balls at the top of the order had gone some way to confirming his readiness to fill the sizeable boots of Tamim Iqbal, but having picked off seven fours and a flamboyant six over deep midwicket off Reece Topley, he was caught in two minds as Wood fired a lifter across his bows, and inside-edged a tentative push onto his own stumps.
The first 20 overs of Bangladesh’s innings was an exclusive diet of seam, as England’s quicks each lined up for a short gallop, and showed their readiness for the main event through a combination of economy and incision, with only Chris Woakes and Gus Atkinson going un-rewarded in their five-over contributions.
However, the other major plus for England was the return of Rashid, who missed the bulk of their recent series against New Zealand with a calf niggle. He showed no ill-effects after entering the attack in the 21st over of Bangladesh’s innings and struck twice in five overs to remove the veteran pairing of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah – the latter to a full-toss but the former to a brilliantly disguised googly that skidded into his stumps under an attempted cut.
When the rain arrived, it seemed that Bangladesh’s 153 for 5 in 30 overs would be the end of that. Instead, they returned – after one aborted restart – for seven further overs, in which the quicks got back into the action. Sam Curran struck with the first ball of his second spell, before both Topley and David Willey found themselves on hat-tricks, the former some five hours after luring Bangladesh’s stand-in captain, Najmul Hossain Shanto, into a sketchy slice to deep third.
Topley’s display epitomised the combination of rustiness and raw threat that England are carrying into this tournament. His somewhat ropey first over went for 13, including a wide and two no-balls, but he swiftly hit back with the first ball of his second as Litton Das gloved a lifter down the leg-side to depart for 5 (although there were some doubts as to whether his hand was off the bat at the point of contact).
England’s reply was raucous from the outset. Dawid Malan, their in-form opener, caressed a poetic cut for a first-ball four, only to scuff his second from Mustafizur straight to slip. But Bairstow smashed four fours and a six in seven balls to turbo-charge the powerplay, with England’s 50 coming up inside four overs before Mustafizur powered a yorker past his toes to end the fun.
It took an even better ball from Hasan Mahmud to dislodge an ominously free-flowing Harry Brook. His four fours in a 15-ball 17 had all been stamps of raw class until he was bowled through the gate by a savage nipbacker on a tight off-stump line. Buttler then edged his second ball off Shoriful Islam low past the keeper before smoking his third high over extra cover for six – and as if to prove he was in no mood to stand on ceremony, he then top-edged his fifth over the head of Taskin, who could have had an easy catch had he been sitting back on the rope.
England’s only real concern remains the form of Root, who at least endured to the end of the chase, but rarely looked capable of raising his tempo in the manner that was coming so effortlessly at the other end. He should have holed out to Tanzim Hasan Sakib for 7 from 19, but that man Taskin once again over-ran his attempted catch at fine leg, then let the ball dribble over the rope too. Tellingly, that would be Root’s only boundary of his innings. Fortunately for England, Moeen and Co. had no such power failures to report.
England 197 for 6 in 24.1 overs (Moeen 56, Mustafizur 2-23) beat Bangladesh 188 for 9 in 37 overs (Mehidy 74, Tanzid 45, Topley 3-23) by four wickets (DLS)
Hasaranga’s World Cup hopes dimming by the day
by Rex Clementine
Star leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga is waiting to get visa clearance from the British High Commission in Colombo to travel to London to consult a surgeon having suffered a grade three hamstring tear lead up to the ICC Cricket World Cup. The surgeon will assess the spinner and decide whether he requires surgery. Going under the knife invariably means that he will be out of the World Cup.
Hasaranga suffered a grade two hamstring tare during the Lanka Premier League and was ruled out of the Asia Cup. However, he was expected to be fit for the World Cup but during rehabilitation aggravated the injury.
Although the selectors had initially named him in the squad, they pulled him out in the 11th hour. But, they were hopeful that the player will recover and would be able to play some part in the ten nation tournament, at least during the tail end of the competition.
However, medical experts in Colombo from the initial stages had suggested that him recovering before the World Cup wad not a possibility.
The rehabilitation of Maheesh Theekshana, who too injured his hamstring, during Asia Cup has gone well and the bowler is expected to travel to New Delhi on Wednesday ahead of Sri Lanka’s opening game of the tournament on Saturday against South Africa.
The bowler’s condition will be assessed in India and he should get the green light to play against the Proteas, who are vulnerable against spin.
Sri Lanka will take on Afghanistan in the second warm-up game in Guwahati today.
After suffering a seven wicket defat at the hands of Bangladesh in the first warm-up game last week, the Sri Lankans will be trying to tie up a few loose ends before the business end of the competition begins later this week.
One of the key areas the former champions will be looking at is batting out the 50 overs. They failed to utilize the full quota of overs against Bangladesh.
During the warm-up games, teams batting first tend to score in excess of 300 runs and unless Sri Lanka get those runs it will be a struggle for them to defend totals less than 300 on good batting tracks no matter how disciplined their bowling is.
The bowlers in recent months have done fabulous jobs despite missing key players, but batting has been bit of a worry.
The dodgy shoulder of Kusal Janith Perera and the form of captain Dasun Shanaka will be some of the things back in the mind of the team management lead up to the game.
Disappointment for Sri Lanka at Asian Games as team disqualified after finishing second
An Asian Games medal for Sri Lanka in track and field continued to elude them after the country’s relay team were disqualified for a lane infringement. The formidable mixed relay quartet of Aruna Dharshana, Kalinga Kumarage, Nadeesha Ramanayake and schoolgirl Tharushi Karunaratne did well to finish second behind Bahrain in the mixed relay final in Hangzhou on Monday but were later disqualified.
In a dramatic anchor leg Ratnayake Central Walala prodigy Karunaratne held off her Indian counterpart to finish second in a time of 3:14.25 seconds which could have erased their own national record.
The official results however showed Sri Lanka team being disqualified. Sri Lanka Athletics said in a statement that it had made an appeal but later Saman Kumara Gunawardena, the secretary of SLA said that in a violation of a lane rule, Aruna Dharshana had landed his foot on the inner lane while handing over the baton to Nadeesha Ramanayake for the second leg.
While Bahrain won the gold in a time of 3:14.02 seconds, India settled for silver (3:14.34). Kazakhstan won the bronze in a time of 3:24.85 seconds.
Sri Lanka were within a medal from the start as they were competing for gold alongside Bahrain and India. The disqualification force the likes of Tharushi Karunaratne and Gayanthika Abeyratne and men’s and women’s 4×400 metres relay quartets to battle it out to end the longstanding medal drought during the next couple of days.
Young Tharushi Karunaratne who is set to compete in the women’s 800 metres will also join the women’s 4×400 metres team to fight for podium place.
Dharshana and Kumarage will compete in the men’s 4×400 metres.
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