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Eight Sri Lanka cricketers fail fitness tests

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Avishka Fernando has failed a second fitness test inside ten days.

By Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka Cricket has issued an ultimatum to its contracted players after eight of them failed a fitness test in Colombo. A pool of 20 shortlisted players for the upcoming tour of West Indies underwent fitness tests in Colombo and eight of them did poorly failing the tests. The list includes several permanent members in the side and some senior players.

The players have now been given an ultimatum to get their act together before another fitness test on February 3rd. If they failed the second fitness test, they will be ineligible for selection for the tour of West Indies. Sri Lanka will play two Tests, three ODIs and three T-20s in the Caribbean.  

Fitness has been a growing concern within the team and Head Coach Mickey Arthur has demanded excellence in this aspect. Opening batsman Avishka Fernando was sent home from Galle lead up to the Test series against England after he failed the fitness test. It is believed that Fernando had failed a second fitness test as well conducted yesterday.

It has been argued that players remaining at home during COVID times had resulted in poor fitness levels. But question marks about fitness standards had been there for a while now.

Meanwhile the bio-bubble in Galle has been pruned to 17 players after Sri Lanka Cricket informed team management to send home five players. The bubble will be reduced by a further two on the day of the match making the squad to 15 players, like during pre-Covid days.

The reserves engaging in card games when the batting was collapsing on day one of the Test match had angered fans and former players. It is believed that the drastic measure to send players home was taken as a reaction to it. The players were not in the dressing room when cameras caught them playing cards but in a floor above the dressing room.

Accordingly, Dimuth Karunarante, Kusal Mendis, Nuwana Pradeep, Minod Bhanuka and Lahiru Kumara have been sent home. Karunaratne and Mendis were not involved in card games. The former has been released as he is injured while the latter has been sent to the High Performance Center at RPS to work on technical aspects of the game. Mendis picked up four ducks in a row.

Suranga Lakmal and Oshada Fernando, two players who engaged in card games, have recovered from their injuries and are expected to feature in the second Test match. While Lakmal is expected to share the new ball with Asitha Fernando, Oshada is expected to fill the vacant number three slot.

Niroshan Dickwella will continue to bat at number six but has been asked to provide more consistency.



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Navy men and women record wins at Inter Club rugby matches

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The men’s and women’s rugby teams of the Navy secured two more wins in their encounters over the Air Force in the Sri Lanka Rugby Nippon Paint Inter Club League Rugby Tournament at the Navy Rugby Ground, Welisara.

Navy men scored a thrilling 32-31 victory over Air Force where T.M. Weerasinghe added points through three conversions and two penalties. Further, S.J.F. Gregory, R.A.N.U. Perera, M.A.F.M. Mushin and G.D.J. Laksara also made a try each.

In the meantime, Navy women recorded a comprehensive 55-0 win over their Air Force counterparts. In this encounter, A.H.S. Madumali scored three tries and collected points through five conversions. In addition, R.S.H. Kumari scored two tries and P. Dilani, M.R. Kumudumalee, G.G. Randunu and W.R.W. Vithana too scored a try each.

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Dinara, Sajida win first-round matches

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ITF Junior Circuit Week I Tournament

Dinara de Silva and Sajida Razick won their respective first-round matches of the ITF Junior Circuit Week I tournament which commenced at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Monday.

De Silva beat Silvia Caliman of Spain 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the second round and Sajida Razick overcame India’s Gagana Mohal with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win in her match.

The tournament is set to conclude on February 5.

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St. Anthony’s in command against Ananda

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Under 19 Cricket

Kaveesha Piyumal and Induwara Galapitage shocked Ananda sharing six wickets between them as St. Anthony’s, Katugastota contained the home team to 56 for eight wickets at stumps after posting a commanding 268 on day one of the Under 19 traditional match at Ananda Mawatha on Monday.

Mohomed Aaqil (73) and Kavindu Shehan (46) gave the hosts an ideal start adding 90 runs for the first wicket after they decided to bat first. Lahiru Abeysinghe, Rayan Anthonyzs and Janith Rathnasiri then made vital contributions for them to reach 268 runs.

In their essay home team were rocked by the visitors as Piyumal grabbed for wickets for 17 runs to rattle the middle order.

Scores:

St. Anthony’s

268 all out in 54 overs (Mohomed Aaqil 73, Kavindu Shehan 46, Lahiru Abeysinghe 47, Rayan Anthonyzs 27, Janith Rathnasiri 36, Charuka Ekanayake 21; Kithma Sithmal 3/86, Ashinsa Nainayake 2/57, Ayesh Shashimal 5/40)

Ananda

56 for 8 in 32 overs (Kaveesha Piyumal 4/17, Induwara Galapitage 2/11) (RF)

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