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Hasaranga a world superstar says Arthur



Rex Clementine in Dubai  

Sri Lanka’s chances of a semi-final berth in the ICC T-20 World Cup are gone but they have had so many positives in UAE and several young players have stood out during the campaign. Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has been the cynosure of all eyes having now emerged as the world’s number one bowler in T-20 cricket. The last time Sri Lanka had someone in the number one spot in official ICC Rankings for bowlers was Ajantha Mendis in 2011.

Hasaranga is also the highest wicket-taker in the World Cup and has the most wickets in T20 Internationals this year. He’s been not bad with the bat either coming up with match-wining efforts like in the Ireland game and that has seen him rise to the number four slot of ICC Rankings for all-rounders in T-20s.

“He just excites me. Every time I see him with a ball or see him with a bat or in the field, he excites me as a cricketer. Right from the start, when I saw him for the first time, I knew he was special,” Arthur said.

“His confidence is sky-high. And I just get really excited for what he’s going to achieve for Sri Lankan cricket down the line. He works unbelievably hard at his game and doesn’t leave anything to chance in terms of his preparation. He’s a genuine world superstar at the moment,” added Arthur.

It’s been a tough few months for Arthur as he was forced to rethink his strategy and bring in new players after three players were suspended. Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella were going to be the backbone of the side after several seniors were sidelined but the trio’s suspension came as a massive blow. But Arthur has put up a bold face and the young players have received a lot of praise in this campaign.

“Our T-20 team has turned the corner. I think our Test team’s in a good place. I think our one-day team is getting there. The selection panel, coaches and I have identified some really good young players and we’ve trusted them to deliver. We’re getting some very good performances out of them. The Sri Lankan nation can be incredibly proud of the attitude, intensity and work ethic of this group because they’ve been wonderful. We have shaken up the World Cup. We’re not going to go to the semis but Sri Lankan cricket is now in good hands.”

“I’d like to say we’ve just planted the seeds because I think in a year or two those seeds will start to turn into some pretty good flowers and Sri Lankan cricket is in a healthy state with this bunch of young players,” Arthur commented.

Sri Lanka will take on two-time World Champions West Indies today in Abu Dhabi in their last fixture of the competition and left-arm seamer Binura Fernnado is expected to come in for Lahiru Kumara.


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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