Green top awaits Sri Lankans in Perth
The Aussies were given a real hiding by New Zealand as they opened their World Cup campaign in Sydney last week. Following the 89-run loss, the defending champions are not only last in the points table but they have got a lot of catching up to do with a Net Run Rate of -4.45. The only way they can close the gap is with a big win and Sri Lanka will be hence given a green top here with the hosts expected to pack their side with quicks.
Opening batsman Pathum Nissanka (groin) and fast bowler Pramod Madushan (hamstring) have been given the all-clear having passed their fitness tests and they will be available for selection today. Madushan hasn’t played since the qualifying round game against UAE last week while Nissanka missed the last game against Ireland on Sunday.
Scheduling during the World Cup has been tough on teams and the Sri Lankans are feeling the pinch. Soon after their opening game of the Super 12 round on Sunday, the former champions flew to Perth from Hobart in a chartered flight. Western Australia is three hours behind other Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. After just one game here in Perth, Sri Lanka will travel to Sydney where they will take on New Zealand in their third second-round game. Perth is only two and half hours ahead of Colombo, so the game will get underway at 4:30 pm local time this evening.
Sri Lanka will bring down three players – Asitha Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella and Matheesha Pathirana – to Australia as cover in case someone gets injured. SLC High-Performance coach Tim McCaskill will accompany the players. The three players will not join the main squad but train separately and will be drafted in if a necessity arises.
Australia’s pace attack looks quite formidable with Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc sharing the new ball and Pat Cummins coming in as the first change. Marcus Stoinis, the all-rounder is quite handy too and for the Sri Lankan clash the hosts will have a fifth-pace bowling option in Mitchell Marsh. Australia’s number three batsman has only been playing as a specialist batsman as he is managing his injuries but ahead of the must-win clash today he declared that he will be doing bowling duties too.
Former captain Steve Smith hasn’t been able to find a place in the side and three are suggestions that he could make a comeback to the side.
Track and field action from Diyagama
The Track and Field season commenced with some of the best athletes in the senior and Under 20 age categories producing notable performances during the two-day Junior and Senior Selection Trial concluded at Diyagama on Tuesday. Here are some action pictures from the day two of the event.
(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)
Dharshana’s false start dampen an otherwise remarkable day
by Reemus Fernando
Sprinter Aruna Dharshana gave athletics fans both joy and heartache on an otherwise remarkable day as the Junior and Senior Track and Field trials concluded with a number of athletes achieving their personal bests at Diyagama yesterday.
Athletics analysts were waiting for Dharshana to reach his personal best in the men’s 400 metres final after the Army athlete produced the best performance in the heats where as many as five athletes clocked sub 47 seconds. When Dharshana followed up his 200 metres winning time of 21.12 seconds with a feat of 46.43 seconds in the 400 metres many expected him to produce a sub 46 seconds performance in the final.
But the shocking foul start meant that he will have to wait for more than a month to test his true potential. Incidentally, Kalinga Kumarage, who was off-colour in the heats (47.51 secs – second in heat 3) won the final with a feat of 46.27 seconds. However, 100 metres sprinter Medhani Jayamanne who was disqualified for a foul start in the women’s 100 metres heats was not so unlucky, as athletics officials gave her an opportunity to compete in the women’s 100 metres final, though her place was (2nd) not recognised. She clocked 12.16 seconds in the final.
In Dharshana’s absence four others, namely, Kumarage, R.N. Rajakaruna, Dinuka Deshan and Pabasara Niku clocked sub 47 seconds.
In the corresponding women’s 400 metres, schoolgirl Tharushi Karunaratne continued to shock her senior counterparts. Having won the women’s 800 metres on day one, the Ratnayake Central prodigy also bagged the 400 metres victory as she clocked 53.41 seconds to beat Asian Championship participant Nadeesha Ramanayake.
In the men’s 100 metres Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best as he clocked 10.37 seconds to win the final.
In the women’s 100 metres final, Rumeshika Ratnayake clocked 12.01 seconds to win running against the wind (-2.9). In the heats, she clocked sub 12 seconds.
In the morning, Gayanthika Abeyratne finished the women’s 1500 metres just three seconds shy of her national record mark as she clocked 4:12.53 seconds to win closely followed by steeplechase national record holder Nilani Ratnayake. Abeyratne’s national record established last year stands at 4:09.12 seconds.
In the Under 20 age category events Malith Yasiru produced the second-best performance of the Asian region in the Under 20 boys’ triple jump this year when he cleared a distance of 15.43 metres to win the event.
Sri Lankan sailing teams compete in Pakistan
The Sri Lankan national team of two sailors and one windsurfer, with the Navy team of a sailor and a windsurfer, were invited to participate at the first Chief of Navy Staff International Sailing Regatta 2023 held from March 14 to 20 in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve countries including Australia, Bahrain, Croatia, Egypt, China, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey had sent their teams to Karachi. The Sri Lankan national team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) NGMU Ghanawardene, Sri Lanka Navy, Priyantha Gunawardene, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class and Laser 4.7 (ILCA 4) sailor Tharen Nanayakkara. The Navy team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) JMPL Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Navy and WAS Weeratunge, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class.
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