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Dhammika Prasad, for one last go in Tests?



Dhammika Prasad was probably a name that was fading in the local cricket circuit, but after a number of injuries to the Sri Lankan fast bowling contingent, there is a buzz around a comeback for the veteran seamer.

Sri Lanka’s front line seamers have all suffered injuries in the recent past, resulting in Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha all missing the second and final Test against the South Africans in the New Year. This meant Asitha Fernando was handed a debut in the recent Test, while Dushmantha Chameera returned to the playing XI after a long hiatus. It was fair to say Vishwa Fernando led the attack decently in the second Test as Sri Lanka also made good use of their fast bowling all-rounder, Dasun Shanaka.

Sri Lanka have really dug deep in these trying circumstances to look for fast bowling stock, as they have even recalled Nuwan Pradeep to a red ball training squad ahead of the England series. Pradeep had opted only to play white ball cricket for Sri Lanka in order to prolong his career.

Prasad, 37, last played intentional cricket for Sri Lanka in October, 2015, in a Test against the West Indies. In fact it was the year that he was probably in the form of his life in Test cricket as he went on to capture 41 wickets in just 9 Tests finishing among the top ten wicket takers in 2015.

It all went down hill since then for the former the De Mazenod College cricketer, as a serious shoulder injury sidelined him for a couple of years before he slowly started to make a comeback.

The fighter that Prasad is, he made sure he worked hard to get fitter along with plenty of rehab work for his shoulder, as he played more regularly for his club, SSC and a bit of mercantile cricket for MAS Unichela in last couple of years.

He was also picked up by the Colombo Kings in the recently concluded Lanka Premier League (LPL), though he only featured in a couple of games for his franchise.

It feels like  time is running out for Prasad but his experience could be key as Sri Lanka look to recover from the dark memories of a 0-3 loss in their last home Test series against the Englishmen.

Sri Lanka will take on England in the first Test of the series on the 14th of January, while the second and final Test will be played from the 22nd to the 26th of January. Interestingly, both Tests are set to be played in Galle and Sri Lanka are likely to go in to the Tests with two specialist fast bowlers.


Niroshan Dickwella stars in Greens 8-run win over Reds



Opening batsman Niroshan Dickwella hammered an unbeaten 76 off 56 balls packed with 8 boundaries as Team Greens defeated Team Reds by 8 runs to register back to back wins in the SLC Skyexchange Invitational T20 League 2022 at the R. Premadasa International Stadium yesterday. Batting first the Greens ran up 161 for 6 off 20 overs with Dickwella dominating the innings. Skipper Dasun Shanaka struck 21 off 12 hitting 3 boundaries before getting run out followed by Dhananjaya de Silva 19 off 12 with 3 boundaries and Ramesh Mendis 11 off 8 (1×4).

The Reds did make a match out of it making 153 for 5 but lacked the final charge to make it despite having enough wickets in hand. Bhanuka Rajapaksa top scored with 34 off 28 with 2 boundaries while skipper Kusal Mendis made 30 off 28 with 3 boundaries and Kamindu Mendis 24 off 22 hitting a six.Upfront opening batsman Lasith Croospulle struck 31 off 24 inclusive of 3 boundaries for the Reds. Dickwella was adjudged Player of the Match.


Team Greens 161/6 (20 Overs) (Niroshan Dickwella n.o. 76, Dasun Shanaka 21, Dhananjaya de Silva 19,.Dinesh Chandimal 15, Ramesh Mendis 11, Asitha Fernando 2/32, Sahan Arachchige 1/13, Matheesha Pathirana 1/25, Wanindu Hasaranga 1/30).

Team Reds

153/5 (20 Overs) (Bhanuka Rajapaksa 34, Lasith Croospulle 31, Kusal Mendis 30, Kamindu Mendis 24, Sahan Arachchige n.o. 19, Ramesh Mendis 1/22, Nimesh Vimukthi 1/23, Nuwan Thushara 1/32, Dhananjaya Lakshan 1/39).


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New Zealand juggernaut rolls on with another all-round win



Odean Smith’s all-round show went in vain as West Indies’ batting once again did not manage to come to the party. Chasing 186, West Indies fell 13 runs short in the opening T20I in Jamaica as New Zealand’s juggernaut rolled on.

New Zealand had their returning skipper Kane Williamson put up a solid 47 off 33, and with Devon Conway’s 29-ball 43, the pair gave New Zealand a solid foundation to pile on the runs. There was a rain interruption in the 12th over for almost two hours, and although New Zealand lost momentum, briefly then, they recovered pretty quickly. Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell got starts but couldn’t convert them. It was, however, Jimmy Neesham’s 15-ball 33 in the end that propelled New Zealand towards the finish they wanted. Odean Smith finished with a career-best 3-32, striking at vital junctures to dismiss New Zealand’s top three; else the West Indies could’ve been chasing a lot more.

Tim Southee struck in the second over to dismiss Kyle Mayers, but West Indies would take heart from Shamarh Brooks’s fighting 42 off 43 while wickets fell at the other end as all of New Zealand’s bowlers cashed in. West Indies were reduced to 114/7 with the inevitable end drawing closer, but resistance came, albeit late, of 50 off 23 balls from the eighth-wicket stand Smith and Romario Shepherd.

Smith smashed four boundaries and a six in his unbeaten 27 off 12, while Shepherd struck three sixes and a four in his 31 not out off 16 balls. New Zealand’s spinners shone through once again on a wicket that assisted them, returning four wickets. Santner was the pick with 3-19 in his four leading New Zealand’s defence, making the most of the knowledge gained from his CPL experience.

Brief scores:New Zealand 185/5 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 47, Devon Conway 43; Odean Smith 3-32) beat West Indies 172/7 in 20 overs (Shamarh Brooks 42; Mitchell Santner 3-19) by 13 runs.


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CSA T20 league: Livingstone and Buttler in top salary bracket as England, SA players hit paydirt



Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy are among 11 England players to have signed on for CSA’s new T20 league, joining Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali. English representation is the largest among the direct overseas signings the league has made so far. With 10 players, including Niroshan Dickwella, Sri Lanka is next. English players will also be the best paid. The likes of Buttler and Livingstone can expect to earn US$ 500,000 each to play in the league in January and February next year, while Moeen will be paid $400,000.

On Wednesday, CSA announced that it had signed over 30 marquee names for the league, without identifying them. But ESPNcricinfo has a list of the players signed up.As expected, there are no Pakistan players on the list. There have been suggestions that they would not be picked because franchises are owned by IPL owners – where Pakistani players have, in effect, been barred. But a league official, while clarifying that the league doesn’t get involved in selections, said Pakistan’s schedule constraints, where they have home series and then the PSL this year, have played a part in their non-availability.

The list also shows the salaries these players will receive, ranging from $30,000 all the way up to $500,000. That ceiling means that this league is now jostling with the UAE-based ILT20 for the title of cricket’s second-most lucrative league behind the IPL. The two leagues are competing for the world’s best players and a window in the calendar; the ILT20 has been offering up to $450,000 to top players.

Though it is not yet public, the overall purse for each of the six franchises is expected to be $2 million. But $250,000 will be considered the maximum salary in that purse: any player above that will be paid the full amount but over $250,000 will be considered a marketing cost. In Buttler’s case, for example, $250,000 will be his salary as far as the purse is concerned but he will be paid $500,000 – the remaining $250,000 will be part of the league’s marketing cost.

Each of the six franchises will have 17-man squads, in which up to five players – three overseas but no two from the same country, one South Africa international player and one uncapped South African player – will be pre-signed. An auction for the remaining spots will be held in the next few weeks. The league is likely to allow four international players in XI, with no other requirements such as transformation targets.

As all franchises in the league are owned by IPL owners, it is likely that there will be an alignment between players who play in the IPL for a franchise, and the corresponding franchise in CSA’s league. It is believed, for instance, that Buttler has signed with the Paarl franchise owned by Rajasthan Royals, Holder has signed with the Durban franchise owned by Lucknow Super Giants and Theekshana has signed with the Super Kings-owned Johannesburg franchise.


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