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Dates announced for India’s tour of Sri Lanka



by Rex Clementine

India will send a second string team to Sri Lanka later this month for a six-match bilateral series. The teams will be involved in three ODIs and three T-20 Internationals with all games taking place in a bio-secure bubble at RPS. It is unlikely that spectators will be accommodated for the series due to current rising numbers of COVID cases. RPS underwent extensive renovation recently and hasn’t hosted a game in two years.

India have made tremendous progress in the game in the last ten years that they are able to send their main team to England, that too an extended squad and then send a second string team that looks not too bad on paper to Sri Lanka. IPL has opened up a whole lot of new opportunities for India.

India must be confident of winning in Sri Lanka even with a second string side. For example, their main team whitewashed Sri Lanka 5-0 in ODIs when they toured here in 2017 and the following year at the Nidahas Trophy, they sent a second string team and won the competition where Sri Lanka even failed to make it to the finals.

Sri Lanka’s players or SLC will not be complaining. Tours by India will result in huge profits for SLC. Board of Control for Cricket in India has been extremely generous in helping out Sri Lanka coming in for hastily arranged series previously to bail out SLC that was feeling the pinch. This tour, however, was part of the Future Tour Programme.

In the three match ODI series, 30 points will be up for grabs in the ICC World Cup qualifiers and pitted against a weaker Indian team, Sri Lanka will be fancying their chances to win and boost their opportunities of automatic qualification for the sport’s showpiece event. At the moment Sri Lanka are languishing last at 13th position.

India will arrive on the 28th of June and after mandatory quarantine they will be allowed to train. The ODIs will be played on the 13th, 16th and 18th of July followed by the T-20s on the 21st, 23rd and 25th of July.


1st ODI

– 13th July – RPS – 2.30pm 

2nd ODI

– 16th July – RPS – 2.30pm 

3rd ODI

– 18th July – RPS – 2.30pm 

1st T20I

– 21st July – RPS – 7.00pm 

2nd T20I

– 23rd July – RPS – 7.00pm 

3rd T20I

– 25th July – RPS – 7.00pm


India’s squad:

 Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya 

Net Bowlers:

 Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh. 



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Ranindu draws with grandmaster, settles for third place



Asian Zonal Hybrid Chess Championship 2021

National Champion Ranindu Dilshan Liyanage fought hard to secure a draw against grandmaster Enamul Hussain on the final day as he settled for the third position of the Asian Zonal Hybrid Chess Championship 2021.

Starting with the Sicilian Defense the grandmaster sacrificed a pawn and got a strong knight against Ranindu’s bad bishop early in the game. He used all tricks available to earn points as a win would have earned him the gold medal and the possibility to play in the Chess World Cup 2021. But Ranindu had other ideas as the Anandian achieved the third spot winning six points from nine games.

Bangladesh grandmaster Ziaur Rahman (2434) also secured a draw in a hard fought game against 11-year-old, Manon Reja Neer who is also from Bangladesh and settled for eight points. Bangladeshi grandmaster Enamul Hussain needed a full point to tie with the leader but finally settled for the second position as he drew with Ranindu. He had 7 ½ points.

Grandmaster Ziaur won the gold medal and the ticket to the FIDE Chess World Cup. A total of US$ 3,000.00 is distributed among the winners. While the champion receives US$ 1,000.00, the runners up wins US$ 700.00. Ranindu is entitled for US$ 500.00 as he was placed third.

FIDE master Susal de Silva of Nalanda College met his colleague A.A.C.B. Amarasinghe of SJP Chess Club and the game ended in favour of Amarasinghe. Amarasinghe scored six points out of nine games. There were five other players who had scored six points each but he was placed eighth according to the tie breakers. Susal had a total of five points after nine games. Amarasinghe too is entitled for US$ 100.00.

The Asian Zonal Chess Championship 2021, the preliminary event for the FIDE World Chess Cup 2021 for the South Asian region started on June 1 and was held on the Tornelo platform. A total of 39 players from South Asian countries of Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka participated in the event. India is considered a single zone by FIDE and has a direct entry to the FIDE World Cup.

The Bangladesh Chess Federation conducted the event from Dhaka and the Sri Lankan players competed from the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka headquarters, Gangodawila, Nugegoda. The event which concluded on Wednesday was conducted according to the Swiss System of nine rounds.

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Yupun set to climb up Road to Olympic rankings



Yupun Abeykoon would be delighted to have placed fourth against a solid field that included American veteran Mike Rodgers and Ivorian Arthur Cissé.


by Reemus Fernando

Sri Lanka’s top ranked sprinter Yupun Abeykoon did well to finish fourth at the Rome Diamond League meeting on Thursday. Brushing shoulders against some of the world’s fastest sprinters, the national record holder clocked 10.16 seconds.

The fourth place finish will augur well for the sprinter as he aspires to earn a Tokyo Olympic berth. The 26-year-old is currently placed 65th in the Road to Olympics rankings and needs to secure a spot within the first 56 positions as only 56 athletes are selected for Tokyo Olympic 100 metres. To earn a direct qualification Abeykoon has to clock 10.05 seconds.

With Diamond League competitions guarantying more points, analysts believe that Abeykoon would secure a better position in the Road to Olympic rankings when the World Athletics update the rankings.

To secure the fourth place Abeykoon edged out some leading athletes who are placed higher in the Road to Olympic rankings.

He would be delighted to have placed fourth against a solid field that included American veteran Mike Rodgers and Ivorian Arthur Cissé.

US World Relay champion Michael Rodgers who is ranked 15th in the Road to Olympic rankings was placed fifth in a time of 10.25 seconds.

South African Akani Simbine clocked 10.08 seconds to win while Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah finished second in a time of 10.10 seconds. Emmanuel Matadi was placed third in 10.16 seconds.

None of Sri Lanka’s male athletes have reached qualifying standards for the Tokyo Olympics so far while Nilani Ratnayake is the only Sri Lankan athlete who is within the required ranking positions to book a berth. The steeplechase athlete is currently ranked 37th in the Road to Olympics rankings.

Rio Olympic participant Sumeda Ranasinghe is also closer to an Olympic berth in the men’s category. The javelin thrower is currently ranked 43rd in the list. High jumper Ushan Thivanka who has produced a superb 2.30 metres is ranked 51st in the list.

At the Rome Diamond League on Thursday one of the highlights of the night was Dutch long-distance star Sifan Hassan’s performance in the women’s 1 500m. The 10,000 metres specialist showed her prowess in the 1,500 metres, beating Olympic 1 500m champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya in a new meeting record of 3:53.63. It was also a world lead. Kipyegon was placed second in a personal best of 3:53.91.

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Brumbies pull one back



by Rajitha Ratwatte

The second game on Saturday was played in Canberra with the ACT Brumbies at home to the Wellington Hurricanes in front of a loud and patriotic crowd. The Hurricanes were at full strength and the Brumbies had that nuggetty Aussie battler of a scrum-half Nick White coming on off the bench. Paul Williams was the referee.

Two minutes into the game a kickable penalty was awarded to the ‘Canes was disregarded for touch and the Brumbies reciprocated in the ninth minute choosing the touch option off a possible three pointer well inside Hurricane’s territory.

The Brumbies decision paid off when Ryan Lonergan (one of two brothers playing for the Brumbies) in the number nine jersey scored under the posts allowing Lolesio to convert.

The 17th minute saw Dan Coles, skipper and hooker of the Hurricanes do his thing off the back of a maul, peel off and run ten meters to score the equaliser for the Wellingtonians 7 – 7.

The rugby was not scrappy and the Brumbies defence seemed to have done their homework, they were very organized. The refereeing was pedantic but fair as both sides were given no quarter by Paul Williams who was also very consistent throughout the match.

Twenty three minutes into the game Du Plessis Kirifi playing at number seven for the ‘Canes was pinged for a high tackle and although the crowd and commentators tried their best to get a red card the referee yellow-carded him.

The Hurricanes scrum was dominating winning two scrum penalties, but Dan Coles was not getting his line out throws on target, and this together with some penalties conceded by the ‘Canes on the attack, resulted in them losing momentum at important times. Rayasi who had a great game last week on the wing for the Hurricanes was looking overconfident, trying to run on his own and not passing when he should have. The Brumbies were unable to capitalize on their numerical advantage and the ten minutes that Kirifi spent in the bin passed without a change on the scoreboard.

Two minutes after the sides were restored to 15 each, the ‘Canes got a penalty around 40 meters out and Jordie Barret had no difficulty in adding three points to take the score to 10 – 7 with the Hurricanes going into half-time, in the lead.

Within the first minute of the second-half, a penalty from 30 meters out, which should have been bread and butter for Jordie Barret struck the left upright, thus reducing a chance for the Hurricanes to score on either side of the break.

Fifty minutes into the game Nick White came off the bench for the Brumbies and assumed the half-back position. He brought a new dimension into the game and the results were immediate with a beautifully timed pass (a la George Greegan!) to Len Niketau resulting in a try mid-left in the 51st minute. White himself stepped up to try and add the balance points but failed, 10 – 12 to the Brumbies.

The Hurricanes brought on their bench players and Dan Coles left the field. The Brumbies gained dominance in the scrums and line outs and Nick White’s presence was very evident and without Dan Coles to counter the niggling aggression, the ‘Canes were losing the initiative.

Seventy minutes into the game, a penalty that Jordie Barret may have had a go at was disregarded for touch and it seemed to pay off when the substitute prop for the Hurricanes showed great speed and scored under the posts but a very marginal knock-on (even in the view of the Aussie commentators) by Aardie Savea off the preceding ruck, quickly and vociferously pointed out by Nick White, resulted in the try being disallowed.

Two quick penalties awarded to the ‘Canes in the 72nd minute (mid-left and 35 meters out) and in the 77th minute (50 meters out and in front) were missed by the youngest of the Barret brothers, leaving the score unchanged at 10 – 12 to the ACT Brumbies. A technical victory in every sense of the word as the only possible impact on the tournament would be that the Hurricanes lose any chance, they had to feature in the final that looks like it will have the Auckland Blues and one other NZ team, depending on the final points tally from this weekend’s games.

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