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De Mazenod stun Nalanda to create history

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De Mazenod reached the semi-final of the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket tournament with a stunning eight wickets victory over Nalanda at Mount Lavinia on Tuesday.

Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ Cricket quarter-final

by Reemus Fernando

De Mazenod turned tables on Nalanda, a top favourite to win the title, to secure a semi-final berth in the Under 19 Division I cricket tournament for the first time in three decades.

The team captained by Ruveen Fonseka cruised to a stunning eight wicket victory after restricting the formidable team to 120 runs in the quarter-final played at Mount Lavinia on Tuesday.

Skipper Fonseka did everything right from the time he won the toss as he put Nalanda into bat, reduced them to 120 before scoring a measured half century to guide the team to their first semi-final spot since 1992.

“This is a huge accomplishment. This is the first time we are in a semi-final since 1992,” De Mazenod coach Prasanna Vishwanath told The Island.

The Master-in-Charge of Cricket of the school, Malik Keerthi said that no De Mazenod team had reached the semi final stage after Sarada Perera led outfit reached that stage in 1992. They lost to Ananda in the final that year.

According to team officials a team from Kandana reached the quarter-final under Chiranthana Fernando in 2002. They were beaten by St. Sebastian’s in the quarter-final that year.

In the crucial quarter-final yesterday, Nalanda top order was rattled by De Mazenod new ball bowlers. The top three batsmen were out without reaching double figures as speedsters accounted for the first three wickets to fall before spinner Senash Fernando joined them with a four wicket haul to contain the Campbell Place school to their lowest total of the tournament.

Nalanda had topped the 290 runs mark twice during the league stage where they remained unbeaten and their lowest total batting first was the 235 runs scored against Royal. De Mazenod fielders also accounted for three wickets.

Chasing the target skipper Fonseka scored a patient 51 in 114 balls. His knock included just three boundaries.

He was ably supported by Lester Jayaweera and Mithul Senerath. While Jayaweera stroked 21 runs in 23 balls, Senerath scored an unbeaten 41 inclusive of one four and three sixes.

De Mazenod were the runners up to Mahanama in group ‘Z’ and reached the quarter-final with three wins under their belt.

Nalanda inclusive of two Sri Lanka Under 19 players, namely Raveen de Silva and Vinuja Ranpul were the unbeaten champions in their group.

However Nalanda were without their key player Raveen de Silva for the crucial encounter. A team official said that he was not well.

De Mazenod will now meet the winners of today’s quarter-final between St. Joseph’s and Wesley in the semi-final.

Scores:

Nalanda

120 all out in 34 overs (Chanul Athukorala 20, Sajitha Vithanage 33, Extras 20; Senash Fernando 4/22)

De Mazenod

121 for 2 in 32.2 overs (Ruveen Fonseka 51, Lester Jayaweera 21, Mithul Senerath 41 n.o.)



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Spin bowling coach concedes Sri Lanka under bowled Dhananjaya

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Rex Clementine in Galle

The question in everyone’s mind watching the second day’s play of the first Test between Australia and Sri Lanka was why off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva was not bowled enough as he was creating opportunities. The part-timer sent down just two overs on the day while the rest of the spinners took a hammering.

Dhananjaya had started off the day well claiming the wicket of Travis Head when he took a return catch but skipper Dimuth Karunaratne hardly bowled him thereafter even when Australian batsmen went on the rampage. Sri Lanka’s Bowling Coach Piyal Wijetunga conceded that Dhananjaya was under bowled.

“When Ramesh was bowling well, I thought we could have used Dhananjaya more. I thought we under bowled him. Had he bowled more, it could have been lot more different,” Wijetunga, a former Test cricketer told reporters.

Lasith Embuldeniya has been disappointing. While he has not been able to make breakthroughs, he also sent down too many loose deliveries which were duly punished. The left-arm spinner had struggled in the recent Test series in Bangladesh as well and the question was asked whether he would have been better off playing against Australia ‘A’ lead up to the Test series.

“Lasith has bowled well in training. The problem is when he goes out to the middle he struggles. It’s a matter of handling the pressure. The Bangladesh setback maybe is working on his head. When something of this nature happens, the player has to sort it out. A spinner more than a fast bowler or a batsman needs to be mentally strong. We need to address that issue,” Wijetunga stressed.

Sri Lanka’s spinners haven’t been able to send down even a single maiden over in the innings and Wijetunga said that it was due to the fact that the opposition batsmen were looking to attack. But in reality, every over the spinner offered loose balls and they were put away.

“I accept the fact that we didn’t bowl single maiden over in this innings. On spinning tracks batters try to be aggressive. This is not an excuse. We could have bowled a few maiden overs. According to my opinion the reason is the batsmen trying to be aggressive. They were looking to sweep and reverse sweep. Their batsmen handled spin better than our batters.”

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Science in search of first win this season

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By a Special Sports Correspondent  

S. Thomas’ College will be looking for a better performance this week when they confront St. Joseph’s College in their Division 1 Segment A Group 1 A match scheduled for Saturday (June 2) which could be rated as one of the key matches to be worked off in the second week of the inter-school league rugby tournament.

The match scheduled to take place at Havelock Park will be played for the Lady Jayatilake Shield. The Thomians went down fighting last week to Trinity. Much is expected from the lads from Mount Lavina tomorrow if they are to get the better of Trinity; a team which proved last week that they are one of the sides to watch this season.

Trinity meanwhile lock horns with St. Anthony’s Katugastota at Nittawela today (Friday). Royal take on Kingswood which is the other game scheduled today.

In a key game in the Division 1 Segment A Group 1 B this week Science take on Dharmaraja. In this fixture Science is set to record its first win for the season. Last week the lads from Mount Lavinia went down fighting to Isipathana 18-9 and earned much respect for the spirited performance.

Vidyartha host St. Peter’s on Sunday at Nittawela. At the time of writing the venue for the Wesley vs Isipathana match was not released to the media by the tournament organizers.

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Sri Lanka lose plot as Australia lead goes past 100

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Rex Clementine in Galle

Spin had done the job against Australia in the limited overs series and with the opposition vulnerable against the turning ball, the quartet of spinners that Sri Lanka had picked were expected to put the brakes on the batsmen in the first Test in Galle. But the hosts were poor as they bowled too short and sent down too many loose balls to hand the initiative of the Test match to Australia, who finished day two on 313 for eight with a healthy lead of 101.

Sri Lanka were unable to tie down the attacking batsmen as none of the spinners managed a maiden over. Left-arm orthodox spinner Lasith Embuldeniya was expensive conceding 73 runs in his 15 overs giving away almost five runs an over while leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay went  for more than six runs an over with his ten overs costing 68 runs.

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s bowling changes were also poor. Off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva had provided an early breakthrough when he took a return catch to dismiss Travis Head but soon after that he was taken off the attack on a rain curtailed day. Shockingly, Dhananjaya bowled just two overs on day two and the most economical and experienced bowler in the team has sent down only five overs in the innings.

Ramesh Mendis finished with four wickets and looked the most threatening among the bowlers, particularly against the left-handers. Jeffrey Vandersay claimed two including the big wicket of Usman Khawaja, world’s highest run getter this year, but lacked discipline.

Only 44 overs were bowled in the day of the scheduled 90 due to rain and a wet outfield. Sri Lanka had reduced Australia to 157 for five and were looking to knock the lower order cheaply, but there was little pressure from the spinners despite the pitch offering assistance.

Alex Carey and Cameroon Green added 84 runs for the sixth wicket with the wicketkeeper smashing 45 off 47 deliveries with six fours. There were questions asked at the start whether Australia would have been better off with the spinning all-rounder Glenn Maxwell instead of seaming all-rounder Green. But the Perth based big man justified his selection top scoring with 77 runs.

Green, considered a long term investment by Australia with a solid First Class record, could play a role of someone like Michael Bevan, who was an expert batting with the tail in limited over games.

Green and Mitchell Starc were dismissed in the space of three deliveries and with the total on 278 for eight, Sri Lanka looked to knock off Australia before they reached 300. But skipper Pat Cummins with a few mighty blows took the score beyond 300 and the lead past 100. He remained unbeaten on 26 in 16 deliveries with one four and three sixes. All three sixes came off Vandersay including two in an over.

Play will get underway early today at 9:45 am to catch up for lost time on day two.

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