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Drop catch costs Sri Lanka dearly against Aussies



Rex Clementine in Dubai

Sri Lanka suffered their first defeat in the ICC T-20 World Cup losing to Australia by seven wickets in a Super 12 encounter at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Having set Australia a target of 155, Sri Lanka conceded too many runs in the Power Play, 63 for no loss, and to add insult to injury, Kusal Perera dropped a regulation catch off the dangerous David Warner when he was on 18. Dushmantha Chameera was the unlucky bowler.

Australia were hardly troubled by the Sri Lankan attack and despite Wanindu Hasaranga picking up two wickets, they won with three overs to spare.

Warner top scored with 65 runs off 42 balls with ten boundaries. Skipper Aaron Finch finished on 37 off 23 balls with five fours and two sixes as the openers shared 70 runs in only 41 balls.

Steven Smith ensured Australia got home without any dramas finishing on 28 off 26 balls.

It was Sri Lanka’s first defeat in the competition having won three games in the qualifying round and the Super 12 fixture against Bangladesh.

Earlier, Sri Lanka fought back well after a hostile spell from left-arm quick Mitchell Starc reduced them to 94 for five to finish on 154 for six .

The former champions were brilliant during the Power Play managing 53 runs during the six over period with rookie Charith Asalanka outscoring his more experienced colleague Kusal Perera.

Asalanka played some elegant strokes taking the attack onto the opposition to put Sri Lanka in control and at one stage they looked set to post in excess of 170.

Australia then bounced back with four wickets for 16 runs to wrestle back the initiative.

Adam Zampa and Mitchell Starc accounted for the four wickets to fall leaving the Sri Lankan innings in disarray. Zampa found the breakthrough when Asalanka tried to clear the deep fine leg boundary but was caught by Steven Smith. He made 35 off 27 deliveries with four fours and a six.

Starc then nailed an in-swinging yorker to dismiss Kusal Perera, the key for Sri Lanka to post a formidable total. Perera’s 35 came off 25 balls and contained four fours and a six.

Avishka Fernando managed only four while Wanindu Hasaranga’s promotion ahead of Dasun Shanaka did not work as he was caught behind off Starc.

At 94 for five, Australia were in control. But Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Shanka steadied the ship adding 40 runs for the sixth wicket.

Rajapaksa delivered yet again finishing unbeaten on 33 off 26 balls with four fours and a six.

Rajapaksa had brought up Sri Lanka’s hundred with a boundary off Hazlewood and remained till the end to ensure his team crossed the 150 mark.


Sri Lanka level series with big win in second ODI 



Dushmantha Chameera wheels away in celebration

Rex Clementine
at Suriyawewa  

Sri Lanka bounced back to beat Afghanistan by 132 runs on Sunday to square the three-match one-day series in Suriyawewa yesterday. It was Sri Lanka’s biggest win over Afghanistan in ODIs and makes amends for its disappointing performance in the first ODI on Friday, which they lost by six wickets,

Having set Afghanistan a stiff 324-run target, fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera dismissed the dangerous Rahmanulah Gurbaz cheaply for two runs to give his side an early advantage. Although Afghanistan put together two strong partnerships after that, the required run rate kept climbing and the Afghans lost their way trying to keep pace.

 Opening batsman Ibrahim Zardan continued his good form, posting 54 runs while captain Hashmatullah Shahidi top scored with 57 runs, but once Sri Lanka dismissed the top order there was not much resistance from the rest of the batters.From 146 for two, Afghanistan collapsed to be bowled out for 191 runs in 42.1 overs, losing their last eight wickets for just 45 runs.

Spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Dhananjaya de Silva shared six wickets between them to seal a comprehensive win for the home side.   Sri Lanka’s batting put on a show giving the team confidence ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe this month.

Afghanistan have already qualified for the World Cup and despite the heavy defeat on Sunday, will feel positive with star Rashid Khan expected to feature in the final game on Wednesday. The leg-spinner was ruled out of the first two games with a back injury.

Half-centuries by Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne helped Sri Lanka post their commanding total. While Mendis top scored with 78 runs off 75 balls with seven fours and one six, Karunaratne, who was recalled for this series to stabilize the batting, made 52 off 62 balls with seven fours. Opener Pathum Nissanka contributed 43 runs while Sadeera Samarawickrama, featuring in an ODI for the first time since 2019, made 44 off 46 balls.

There was some big hitting by the lower middle order with captain Dasun Shanaka chipping in with 23 runs while Wanindu Hasaranga finished things off in style with an unbeaten 29 off 12 balls with four fours and a six. Dhananjaya de Silva was named Man of the Match for his unbeaten 29 and three wickets.

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Tharushi wins silver, Uththara clinches bronze at Asian Junior Athletics Championships  



By Reemus Fernando  

Ratnayake Central, Walala runner Tharushi Karunaratne and Holy Cross College, Gampaha sprinter Jayeshi Uththara shared the silver and bronze medals respectively of the women’s 400 metres to give a winning start to Sri Lanka’s Asian Junior Athletics Championship campaign on day one of the event in South Korea on Sunday.

Karunaratne and Uththara reached the final as the second and third fastest from the heats held in the morning and those positions remained unchanged as they finished second and third respectively in the final.

Karunaratne clocked 53.70 seconds to finish second behind India’s Rezoana Mallick Heena who returned a time of 53.31 seconds for the gold. Uththara clocked 55.51 seconds for her bronze.

Commenting on their achievements Sri Lanka Athletics in a statement said that it was the first time in almost three decades that two Sri Lankan female athletes had won medals in a single event at the Asian Junior Championships.

The track and field governing body was referring to the gold and silver doubles of legendary Susanthika Jayasinghe and Damayanthi Dharsha who shared the gold and silver medals in the 100 metres and 200 metres with championship records at the 1994 edition held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

At the last edition held in Gifu, Japan Sri Lanka’s men’s pair of Aruna Dharshana and Pasindu Kodikara won the gold and silver medals in the men’s 400 metres.  Karunaratne who is trained by veteran coach Susantha Fernando is set to compete in the women’s 800 metres final today where she will be the favourite for gold.

She returned an Asian leading time of 2:01.39 seconds at the selection trail held in March though her preparation for the event was plagued by a sickness forcing her to skip the recently held Junior National Championships. Tharushi will enter today’s race as the third fastest 800 metres runner in the world this year.

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Dominant Sri Lanka claw back to level series




Sri Lanka came up with a dominant show with both bat and ball to stage a strong comeback and level the three-match series against Afghanistan on Sunday (June 4). Having lost the first ODI, the hosts staged a commendable comeback with their top four laying the platform for a 300-plus total which was then defended with ease as Afghanistan fell short by 132 runs.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 323/6 in 50 overs (Kusal Mendis 78, Dimuth Karunaratne 52; Mohammad Nabi 2/52) beat Afghanistan 191 in 42.1 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 57, Ibrahim Zadran 54; Dhananjaya de Silva 3/39) by 132 runs

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