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Injury nightmare amidst heavy defeat for Lankans

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Ruan van der Merwe in Centurion

The scorecard suggests that Sri Lanka lost the first Test against the Proteas by an innings and 45 runs but there was lot of sympathy for them from the hosts after they were hampered by a series of injuries. The game ended inside four days and a session to spare but more worryingly several players will be out of action for the next Test match at the Wanderers.

Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara are all out of second Test and batsman Dinesh Chandimal remains doubtful too after was troubled by a groin strain.

Sri Lanka resumed on 65 for two and needed the overnight pair of Chandimal and Kusal Perera to bat deep. But the Proteas found the breakthrough in the eighth over of the morning.

All the talk before the series was the serious pace that Anrich Nortje could generate and trouble the batsmen. But in this day and age of bowling machines, more than pace, a skilful seamer is handy. Wiaan Mulder, barely touches 135kmph but his skill set is highly valued by the Proteas. He bowled Chandimal with a delivery that kept low.

Mulder picked up five wickets in the game and his batting is more than handy and he is the best all-rounder to emerge from South Africa since Jacques Kallis. Aged 22, the Proteas prefer him in white ball cricket but with the red cherry he adds variety to the attack which is known for outright pace comprising the likes of Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, both men who clock 145kmph on average.

Kusal Perera went onto top score with 64 runs but it was the half-century by Wanindu Hasaranga that took the attention of all. The highly rated Sri Lankan all-rounder threw caution to wind smashing 59 off 53 balls with 12 fours and a six.

Sri Lanka did not chicken out sending both Rajitha and Kumara to bat. Dhananjaya de Silva was absent as he barely could walk following a thigh strain.

You would have expected Sri Lanka to bat more than 46 overs and perhaps make the Proteas bat again. But given the calamities they have suffered in this game, their minds were not all there. They will bounce back for sure having played such attractive cricket on the opening day. Cricket is a funny game.

There was some doubt whether the series will go ahead after the South African government announced a nationwide lockdown to deal with the pandemic but there was confirmation from Cricket South Africa that the series will continue – behind closed doors.

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Arthur bemoans poor batting after second Test goes ‘horribly wrong’

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Angelo Mathews was bowled attempting to sweep Dom Bess (SLC)

Sri Lanka “let it slip in one disastrous session”, says coach, after second Galle defeat

Sri Lanka threw it away. Their hyper-aggressive approach to the second innings wasn’t part of the plan. And their 126 all out ruined three days of good work.

These were Mickey Arthur’s takeaways after the dispiriting 2-0 loss against England. Sri Lanka had established a 37-run first-innings lead on the fourth morning, with England due to bat in the fourth innings. And yet, their batsmen crumbled to 66 for 6 before lunch – five of those players dismissed playing attacking shots. That phase of play essentially handed England the match, even if they eventually had to chase 164 for victory, thanks to a late 40 from No. 10 Lasith Embuldeniya.

“We fought and fought and fought for three days and got ourselves in a really good position, and in two hours we proceeded to throw it away,” Arthur said. “It was poor batting. It’s something I’m going to sit and talk with the players about now. When we lead the game, we’ve got to be able to put our foot on the neck of the opposition and we didn’t do that. That today just wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to learn to be ruthless.”

Such was Sri Lanka’s commitment to wanton aggression in this innings, that there were questions whether the team had agreed that all-out attack was their best way forward in this Test. Arthur said, however, that the plan had actually been to progress more gradually, and to bat time, as they had in the second innings of the first Test, when Sri Lanka made 359 in 136.5 overs.

“That was nowhere near our gameplan. Our gameplan this morning was to absorb pressure, grind away, and grind out a couple of sessions to make sure that we got ourselves into a very good position to push for the win tomorrow. That was our strategy. We had a long chat about that this morning. We used the blueprint of our second innings in the first Test match as something that we wanted to base our innings on. Somewhere it’s gone horribly wrong. That’s something I’m going to dig up and find tonight.”

The first Test was lost due to a similar collapse, in the first innings of the match that time. Sri Lanka were skittled for 135, again playing with extreme aggression.

“This isn’t the first time that it’s happened, and it’s something I need to look into with the team,” Arthur said. “We let it slip in one disastrous session. Much like in the first Test when we let slip in the first innings again. We can’t afford as a team to have those poor sessions. We’ve got to get our good and our bad closer together. The game was there for us to take and we didn’t take it. Extremely disappointed with that.”

Among the only bright spots for Sri Lanka for this series was the bowling of Embuldeniya, who took 10 for 210 in this Test, and also produced his best first-class score with the bat. Embuldeniya had not been selected for the Tests against South Africa several weeks earlier, but through the course of this series has presented a case for being considered Sri Lanka’s premier Test spinner.

“I was very excited for Lasith Embuldeniya,” Arthur said. “He works so hard at his game. When you get those rewards, in his ninth or tenth Test match, it’s unbelievable. I always tell him he’s got the gift of the fingers – he’s able to spin the ball. I think he’s got a wonderful future. He really is a very impressive young man and spin bowler. I’m very excited to be working with him in future, because I think he’s going to be very special.” (ESPN)

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SSC to name indoor nets after Michael De Zoysa

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Singhalese Sports Club today will name their indoor nets after club stalwart Michael De Zoysa. 

Michael, who passed away recently, had been with SLC for almost half a century and had served the club in various capacities. 

He was Manager of the Sri Lankan cricket team when they won ICC World T 20 in 2014. 

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Chess Champs Academy emerge champions

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Online Women’s Rapid Team Chess Cup 2021

Chess Champs Academy team led by Thilini Koswatte won the maiden Online Women’s Rapid Teams Chess Cup conducted by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL). At the grand finals, which was held in double rounds, each player received black and white moves. Chess Champs scored three match points against their rivals who could score only one match point in first round.

In the first round the Women Grand Master from Kazakhstan, Gulmira Dauletota and Tharushi Sandeepani scored points for Passed Pawns while Women International Master from India Isha Sharma and Saumy Zainab scored points for Chess Champs Academy. But, in the second round Thilini played a key role out playing strong Kazakhstani WGM Gulmira at a critical juncture when their WIM Isha Sharma had suffered a lost from Sri Lankan Women International Master Sachini Ranasinghe. Dinushki Premanath and Saumy Zainab, both former national champions excelled scoring full points for their team. Chess Champs beat Passed Pawns 3-1 in the second round to win the championship.

According to CFSL a total of 275 players belonging to 55 teams participated in the tournament and teams were categorized into three Divisions according to their player ratings.

The Division ‘C’ consisting of the lowest ranked 27 teams played pm January 14. The top three teams of that division then advanced to the ‘B’ Division to compete against the 23 teams in that division on January 16.

The top three teams of ‘B’ Division advanced to play a round robin event with top five ranked teams in the ‘A’ Division on January 17.

 The top four teams of the ‘A’ Division, paired according to double knock out method competed in the final stage.

Results

Passed Pawns CC (Champions of ‘A’ Division) beat Fischer Chess Club ‘A’ (4th in ‘A’ Division) 3-1

Chess Champ Academy (1st Runner up of ‘A’ Division) beat Fischer Chess Club ‘B’ 3-1.

Results of the Finals

Round 1.

Chess Champ Academy tied Passed Pawns 2-2

Round 2

Chess Champ Academy beat Passed Pawns 3-1

Teams:

Chess Champ Academy: Thilini Koswatte (Captain), Dinushki Premanath, WIM Isha Sharma, Saumy Zainab and Prasansa Premanath.

Passed Pawns CC: WIM Sachini Ranasinghe (Captain), WGM Gulmira Deltoteva, Dasuni Mendis, Pasindi Yathra Wijesuriya and Sandeepani M Tharushi.

Result of the Finals

Rd 1

Thilini Koswatte lost to WGM Gulmira Dauletova

WIM Isha Sharma beat WIM Sachini Ranasinghe

WFM Dinushki Premanath lost to Tharushi Sandeepani

WFM Zainab Saumy beat WFM Dasuni Hansika Mendis

Rd 2

WGM Gulmira Dauletova lost to Thilini Koswatte

WIM Sachini Ranasinghe beat WIM Isha Sharma

Tharushi Sandeepani lost to WFM Dinushki Premanath

WFM Dasuni Hansika Mendis lost to WFM Zainab Saumy

The games were played under strict anti-cheating rules and regulations according to FIDE standards on chess.com platform.

 

 

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