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Jhulan Goswami’s fairytale Lord’s farewell takes unexpected twist

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It was spine-tingling, tear-jerking stuff. Walking out at Lord’s to bat in her final appearance for India, the legend that is Jhulan Goswami was met by a guard of honour, formed by the entire England fielding team, the umpires and her batting partner, Deepti Sharma.Little did we know that Deepti would play a bigger role in Goswami’s swansong than we could ever have expected.

When Deepti, who had scored an unbeaten half-century to drag her side to a respectable total from 29 for 4, ran out Charlie Dean while backing up on the last ball of the match to seal victory for India and a 3-0 ODI series sweep, it guaranteed that Goswami’s farewell would be talked about for other reasons besides a sport’s goodbye to a champion.

As she walked through that initial guard of honour, Goswami modestly waved to them all in appreciation, enjoying the moment. That it ended with her falling first ball attempting to drive at a fuller delivery that jagged back in from the 17-year-old seamer Freya Kemp – who wasn’t born when Goswami made her international debut – didn’t matter so much in the context of her goodbye. Goswami’s batting wasn’t what people had come to see.

It could well have mattered in the context of an innings where she was one of five India players to depart without scoring, although they managed to reach 169 before being bowled out in the 46th over. And again when Dean dragged England to within 17 runs of their target with a brilliant 47 batting at No. 9.Goswami walked out to bowl through another guard of honour from her own team, which followed her almost all the way to the pitch.

Her first over was a maiden, then as Goswami knelt down to tie her laces at the end of her second, Harmanpreet Kaur, the India captain who made her debut when Goswami was in her shoes back in 2009, made a point of running by and patting her on the back. It was as though Harmanpreet wanted to cherish their proximity for as long as it lasted.

Hamanpreet had stood nearby as Goswami contested the toss and wrapped her former skipper in a tearful embrace during the team’s pre-match presentation to their beloved stalwart.

The only time Goswami was alone was as she patrolled the boundary at deep backward square leg. Even as she stood at the top of her mark, all eyes were on her. Those eyes turned into the arms of her team-mates and rapturous voices of the 15,187-strong crowd when Goswami had Alice Capsey simply caught by Harleen Deol at cover point.

That made it 39 for 3 for England after Renuka Singh had removed Emma Lamb and Tammy Beaumont, the latter having noted on the eve of her 100th ODI that she had provided a healthy share of Goswami’s record haul of 255 ODI wickets. In fact, Beaumont had fallen to Goswami eight times among her 20 dismissals in the format against India before this match, where it was Renuka who did the damage this time, bowling Beaumont with one that shaped in off a length to clatter into the top of off stump.

Renuka mirrored the feats of Kate Cross, who had threatened to ruin Goswami’s party as she found formidable movement off the seam bowling down the slope from the Pavilion End to claim 4 for 26. As it turned out, this became a storyline shared by Cross and Goswami with Renuka – playing her seventh ODI at the age of 26 – providing an epilogue which pointed to the next edition before that last moment opened a new chapter.

Having missed selection in England’s 2017 World Cup squad and sat in the stands as the hosts defeated India in a thriller – the last time Lord’s staged a women’s international – this day held huge significance for Cross, too.She had 3 for 3 in 3.2 overs at one point and accounted for India’s top four. It was reminiscent of Cross’ match-defining performance against the same opposition at Taunton in June last year. On that occasion, however, Cross sealed her five-for in a winning cause. This time, as England’s batting misfired, it looked like being India’s day.

Goswami took a low catch at slip to remove Sophie Ecclestone off Rajeshwari Gayakwad as England slid to 53 for 6 and, with the hosts flagging wildly at 111 for 8, Harmanpreet brought Goswami back into the attack for her eighth over, from which she conceded two runs.A maiden followed and then, with just five balls left to bowl in a stellar international career, she removed Cross playing across a full, straight one – Goswami’s 10,001st ODI delivery – and a child-like grin broke out across Goswami’s 39-year-old features as she was mobbed by her team-mates.

Surrounded again at the end of the over, completed with four dot balls, it was over – almost. On the very next ball, from Deepti, Goswami got her hands to an edge at slip off Dean, but what would have been the last wicket to fall and a fairytale finish slipped through her fingers.At that point England still needed 52 runs from 13.5 overs with just one wicket in hand and it felt very much as though India – even with Goswami bowled out – had it in them to win.

Then Dean and Freya Davies dug in for 35 runs and the match got tense. So it was with a degree of disbelief that it would come to be remembered largely for the way in which it ended. Dean’s dismissal was within the rules of the game but it meant that it ended amid a cacophony of boos as well as cheers.

A devastated Dean threw her bat to the ground, tears streaming down her face before composing herself and heading to the Indian huddle to shake their hands. Moments later, Goswami was being chaired to the edge of the field to embark on a lap of honour carrying the Indian flag and flanked by her team-mates in a moment of sweet celebration that couldn’t completely mask a slightly bitter undertone.

(cricinfo)



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Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

 

 

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My best knock for Sri Lanka – Asalanka

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By Rex Clementine

If you had no idea why Roy Dias identified Charith Asalanka as a Test captain in the waiting some seven years ago, there was proof for his claims at Pallekele on Wednesday as the diminutive left-hander from Elpitiya pulled off a stunning run chase against Afghanistan.Sri Lanka chased down a target of 314 in the last over with Asalanka finishing things off in style with a pulled six. What’s so special with the win is that it is Sri Lanka’s highest successful run chase ever at home.

“I was struggling with cramps. The heat was too much in the afternoon.

Once Dunith came in, I told him not to do too much running and target the gaps. There was a good partnership with Dasun too before that and that helped us to get back into the game,” Asalanka noted.

Most players when they get into the Sri Lankan cricket set up they get themselves tattooed and buy fancy cars and luxury apartments. Asalanka has remained grounded and he is very much close to his roots at Elpitiya.

In fact, he married his childhood sweetheart, whom he fell in love with at the age of 15. The pair met at the school bus when Asalanka was playing under-17 cricket and despite money and fame the captain in waiting hasn’t forgotten his past. Asalanka took a break middle of the series to get married on the 28th of November, the day of their tenth anniversary of falling in love. However, there was no honeymoon as Asalanka had to return to Pallekele for the rest of the series.

His wife is an English teacher and that gives us hope that press conferences are going to be interesting again although the good old days of Sanga will never come.Asalanka received a scholarship to Richmond College after passing the Grade Five scholarship and he is known as a sharp thinker of the game.

“First game the ball swung a lot. It was a grassy pitch. We knew this wicket was not going to do much for the bowlers. The main thing we wanted was to bat 50 overs. Everyone contributed from top to the lower middle order, and it was great to watch.”

Sri Lanka have a settled top order when it comes to white ball cricket and the middle order could be built on Asalanka who can accelerate and rebuild an innings. “Dasun is the one who told me that I’d be batting at number five and to feel comfortable. I was going to get the long rope. I had never batted at number five before that and glad I have cemented my place now.”

“This is my best innings in international cricket. Dunith Wellalage was outstanding as well. Afghanistan have a very experienced side. They have lot of players who are involved in league cricket. Dunith showed lot of maturity.”

“We had identified that Rashid Khan was their key players. We didn’t want to take risks against him. We got out for some good balls. We made sure that we didn’t give wickets to him, and it got easier to score runs.

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Richmond, Trinity clash for Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket title  

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by Reemus Fernando  

The stage is set for a thrilling climax when unbeaten Richmond meet formidable Trinity in the final of the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket tournament at the Thurstan College ground today.

There are two factors indicating to a thrilling climax. Both teams know what it takes to win a championship title as they have players who have featured in finals before. It was not long ago that a few players in the Trinity team guided their Under 17 team to joint champions title of the Division I cricket tournament of that age category. The team from Galle have in their ranks a number of players who had to be content with the runner up position after reaching the final of this tournament during the last season.

For the final, Trinity are likely to stick to the same team which won the semi –final against their arch rivals St. Anthony’s at the same venue early this week. During this tournament captain Rahal Amarasinghe has seen Manula Kularathne, Theeraka Ranatunga, Dinusha Pieris  and Janith Warnakula sharing most of the batting responsibilities for the team’s success.

In the bowling department, Ranatunga (with over 20 wickets) has topped the wicket takers list. Dinuka Thennakoon, Tharana Wimaladharma and Manula Kularathne are the others shouldering most of the wicket taking duties.

During the semi-final Ranatunga was joined by skipper Amarasinghe, Peiris, Wathila Udara and Vibhavith Ehelepola to play crucial roles with the bat, while the former and deputy skipper Ehelepola took two wickets each to contain St. Anthony’s to 202 runs.  A prominent feature of Richmond during this tournament was the dominant role played by their Sri Lanka Under 19 player Malsha Tharupathi. Tharupathi produced outstanding all-round feats to beat defending champions St. Joseph’s and St. Benedict’s in the quarter-final and the semi-final.

They have a strong batting line up from skipper Tharinda Nirmal, Helitha Edirisinghe, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Kavindu Nirmana, wicketkeeper batsman Janeth Kaushal to Tharupathi.

While Tharupathi is easily their top wicket taker, Nalaka Jaywardena, Nirmal and Sharon Abishek have all shared bowling responsibilities. Maheesha de Silva and Kaveesha Induwara have been economical with the new ball.

How they reached the final 

Trinity beat St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa and St. Anthony’s, Katugastota during the knockout stage after completing their first round matches as the third placed team in their group. They won five out of the eight matches during that phase.

Richmond have remained unbeaten during this tournament. They won all their eight matches in the first round to be the champions in their group. During the knockout stage they ousted defending champions St. Joseph’s and St. Benedict’s in a row to reach their second consecutive final.

Teams:

Richmond (from): Tharinda Nirmal  (Captain), Kavindu Nirmana (Vice Captain), Ruwan Jayawardena, Janeth Kaushal, Maheesha De Silva, Malsha Tharupathi, Sharon Abhishek, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Chehan Subasinghe, Sihath Ramanayake, Sasindu De Silva, Seneth Sisan, Kaveesha Induwara, Manuja Dulneth, Helith Edirisinghe, K.K Yuri, Pubudu Mihiranga,  Charuka Gunasekara. 

Officials:

Nuwan Jayasinghe (Master in Charge), Lakmal de Silva (Head Coach), Umal Udayanga (Asst. Coach), Lahiru Madhuwantha (Asst. Coach) 

Trinity (from):  Rahal Amarasinghe (Captain), Vibhavith Ehelepola (Vice Captain), Theeraka Ranatunga, Supun Waduge, Manula Kularatne, Tharana Wimaladharma, Kusal Wijetunga, Dinusha Pieris, Dinuka Tennakoon, Jayavi Liyanagama, Janith Warnakula, Malith Rathnayake, Lakvin Abeysinghe, Wathila Udara, Yewan Hulangamuwa, Viduka Dhammage. 

Officials:

Brian Senaratne (Master in Charge), Naveen Ekanayake (Head Coach),  Lakshitha Alahakoon (Asst. Coach) 

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