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Karunaratne joins Sri Lanka’s 10-man 5000 Test-run club

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Dimuth Karunaratne crossed the 5000 run milestone on Thursday (29)

Dimuth Karunaratne has become the 10th Sri Lanka batsman to score 5000 runs in Test cricket and the fourth fastest to do so in terms of matches played. Take a look at the exclusive group he has joined.

Dimuth Karunaratne

5000* runs at 37.88

5000th run in his 72nd Test and 138th innings

The newest member in Sri Lanka’s 5000 Test-run club, Karunaratne crossed the milestone in Sri Lanka’s first innings of the second match against Bangladesh.

Having only celebrated his 33rd birthday in March, Karunaratne is Sri Lanka’s 10th highest run-scorer in the format and still has time to climb that ladder.

The left-hander looks good value to do just that considering he scored a double-century in the first Test against Bangladesh. He has 11 centuries to date and is enjoying one of the finest calendar years of his career.

Arjuna Ranatunga

5105 runs at 35.69

5000th run in his 92nd Test and 153rd innings

One of the nation’s most iconic players, an 18-year-old Ranatunga made his debut in Sri Lanka’s first-ever Test in 1982. He notched Sri Lanka’s first Test half-century in that match. More than 18 years later he raised his 5000th run for the country in Test cricket in his penultimate match for Sri Lanka.

Among the greatest contributors to Sri Lankan cricket ever, Ranatunga famously captained the team to a stunning ICC Cricket World Cup victory in 1996.

Thilan Samaraweera

5462 runs at 48.76

5000th run in 71st Test and 114th innings

Solid as a rock, Samaraweera was the glue in a Sri Lankan batting order boasting some of the most stylish players in the game, while still having plenty of glorious strokes in his own arsenal. A century-maker on debut against India, Samaraweera went on to hit 14 hundreds in the format, with a high score of 231.

The right-hander raced to 5000 Test runs in fewer matches than any Sri Lankan bar Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

Tillakaratne Dilshan

5492 runs at 40.98

5000th runs in his 81st Test and 132nd innings

A middle-order batter when he was first picked in the team, Dilshan looked the part early in his career, scoring an impressive 163 in just his second match. But it was not until he was promoted to the top of the order that Dilshan’s career really took off. He averaged 44.29 across his 53 innings opening the batting and allowed Sri Lanka to put opposition attacks under pressure from ball one. All that and he was an exceptional fielder and more than handy bowler too.

Marvan Atapattu

5502 runs at 39.02

5000th run in his 80th Test and 138th innings

One half of Sri Lanka’s most fruitful opening pair, Atapattu was the ice to Sanath Jayasuriya’s fire, wearing opposition attacks down from one end while his partner flayed them from the other. The old-school opener was one of cricket’s great converters, turning 16 of his 33 50+ scores into hundreds, and six of those 16 centuries into doubles.

Angelo Mathews

6219* runs at 45.39

5000th run in his 75th Test and 133rd innings

Up until Karunaratne’s entry, Mathews was the most recent Sri Lankan to join the 5000 Test run club, getting there in mid-2018. As reliable a servant to the game as any who has ever represented the island nation, Mathews started his career as the complete all-rounder in 2008. While a run of injuries has stymied his bowling over the past few years, he remains a lock in Sri Lanka’s XI.

Already the fifth-highest run-scorer in Sri Lanka’s Test history with an average that currently sits fourth among them, he already stands as one of the nation’s finest ever performers.

Aravinda de Silva

6361 runs at 42.97

5000th run in his 74th Test and 128th innings

The hero of Sri Lanka’s glorious victory in the 1996 World Cup final, de Silva was one of the gems of the country’s Test batting order for nearly two decades. With a technique that could stand up to the sternest of examinations, he scored 20 centuries and 22 fifties across his 93 Tests.

The dashing star was the first Sri Lankan to ever score 5000 runs.

Sanath Jayasuriya

6973 runs at 40.07

5000th run in his 79th Test and 133rd innings

Before there was Steve Smith there was Sanath Jayasuriya – a player picked as a bowling all-rounder who would go on to become a batting great. One of the stars of the ‘96 World Cup, Jayasuriya took his Test cricket to the next level in the years that followed as Sri Lanka established themselves as a force to be reckoned with across formats.

His incredible 340 off 578 against India in 1997 was Sri Lanka’s first Test triple-century and it remains the second-highest score by a Sri Lankan batsman.

Mahela Jayawardene

11,814 runs at 49.84

5000th run in his 70th Test and 114th innings

A modern giant of the game, Jayawardene is Test cricket’s ninth-highest run-scorer and joint sixth-greatest century-maker, well and truly justifying the clamour that surrounded him when he debuted as a 19-year-old.

A remarkable player of spin and more than adept against pace, Jayawardene scored runs all around the wicket and his combination with Kumar Sangakkara stands among the most reliable cricket has seen. Fittingly, the pair boasts the record for the biggest stand in Test history, putting on 624 runs against South Africa in Colombo.

That same innings saw Jayawardene score 374 runs – the fourth-highest score in Test history.

Kumar Sangakkara

12,400 runs at 57.40

5000th run in his 64th Test and 106th innings.

A member of the ICC’s Test Team of the Decade, Sangakkara stands among cricket’s finest ever players with a case to be considered the best batsman of his generation.

Across 134 Tests he scored 12,400 runs at 57.40, finishing his career as the format’s sixth greatest run-scorer with comfortably the best average of anyone who scored more than 10,000 runs. Those statistics are all the more remarkable when you consider he had to keep wickets in 48 Tests. He scored 9283 runs at 66.78 in Tests where he was not the designated keeper.

Sangakkara raced to 5000 runs in just 64 Tests and 106 innings – comfortably the fastest of any Sri Lankan.

(ICC)

 

 



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Bringing cricket’s glory days back

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Rev. Br. Nimal Gurusinghe FSC

After several setbacks in cricket in recent years, the national cricket team is looking to regain past glories. I must congratulate the national selection panel headed by former fast bowler Pramodaya Wickramasinghe for some of the bold decisions they have taken over the past two months.

In the Caribbean, the selectors handed the first Test cap to Pathum Nissanka, who made a hundred on debut and then last week in the second Test against Bangladesh, the selectors blooded in Praveen Jayawickrama, who took 11 wickets for 178, a Sri Lankan record for a debutant. It is also the tenth best figures by a player on debut in the history of Test cricket.

There is no doubt that we have talent in the country and bold moves such as these throwing the players into the deep end will bring us desired results.

I would like to see continuity in selections and for this to happen the current lot of selectors need to serve for a longer period of time. Our present system where we change selectors every year simply doesn’t help.

One of the things that I would like to see is resource personal like psychologists being brought in to assist our players. The modern day game has changed so much and a psychologist will be able to help players meet modern day demands. I see that teams like Australia, England and South Africa make use of psychologists. Although we too have done so, there is no continuity in this vital aspect.

One of the modern trends that I have seen in Sri Lankan cricket is our tail is too long. We do not have many tail-enders who are able to contribute towards the team’s total. We need to emphasize a lot on the tail getting exposure during training sessions and as a result they will be able to contribute towards the team’s total.

I am also glad to see that the selectors emphasizing a lot on fielding these days. At the same time, I would like to see them giving equal importance to fielding. This vital area has been neglected so long and that is one reason why we do not do well at present in one-day cricket. Sri Lankan teams of the past were on par with teams like Australia and South Africa when it came to fielding. But not anymore.

When we stress the importance on fielding in selections, if players are able to take half chances and create run outs that is going to be so crucial in crunch games.

Another aspect that I would like to see improve is running between the wickets. I can not recall when the last time a Sri Lankan pair completed three runs was. Physical fitness is so vital for this to happen.

Another thing that I would like to see happening is our players doing well not just at home but overseas as well. We are yet to win Test matches in Australia and England although we have been a Test playing nation for 40 years now.

I wish Pramodaya and his team good luck and look forward to see them transforming Sri Lankan cricket. Pramodaya is a member of the World Cup winning team and he knows what is required to become a champion team.

 

 

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National badminton players dominate Summer Season Tournament in the hills

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The hills were alive with the swish of rackets and smashing shuttles as the popular Summer Season Badminton Level I Championships came to a close last week. What was noteworthy was the performances of Sri Lanka’s top shuttlers who left no room for contention by winning all the plums of the scintillating competition. With Olympic prospect Niluka Karunaratne away on the international qualifying circuit and brother Dinuka domiciled in the UK on an advanced training program, the rest of the Elite Squad were equal to the task.

Ranthushka Karunatilake, for long in the shadows of his more renowned exponents came out fighting to get the better of the seasoned Buwaneka Gunetileke. The hunger Ranthushka displayed was plain to see for after giving up the first set, he clawed his way back to surprise the senior partner with a nerve wracking battle that went to the wire with a 21-19 score in the two following sets. Earlier, he partnered Buwaneka to clinch the men’s doubles with an overwhelming victory against evergreen contenders Clarence Homer and Hasitha Chanaka.

In the Women’s Open, Dilmi Dias had no major opposition clinching the women’s singles with ease against the up and coming Ranithma Liyanage before taking the women’s doubles with her partner, Kavindika de Silva. Young Ranithma just 13 years of age, though beaten in the final, is certainly making an emphatic statement in the sport. Badminton fans are sure to hear about her in the not-too-distant future.

Other top ranked players to impress were Rasindu Hendahewa and Viren Nettasinghe in the men’s category, while Panchali Adhikari and Madushika Dilrukshi were notable in the women’s category. Many others in the elite squad were not present due to on-going examinations, the likes of Lochana de Silva and Thulith de Silva and yesteryear champions Thilini Hendahewa and Kavidi Sirimanage. Sachin Dias and Hasini Ambalangoda are nursing injuries following the Nationals and are expected to return to the courts in the Southern Open, late May.

Watching their charges keenly were the National Coaches led by Pradeep Welagedera assisted by Yukthi Perera, Rajitha Dahanayake and Subash Chanaka, while Chairman of the National Pools, Palitha Hettiarachchi had a good look at the National Pool players, especially those in the Elite Squad who have undergone a very high-level training and conditioning over several months.

SLB President Rohan de Silva who is always seen among the Badminton Masters winning several medals both here and abroad was at hand to witness the performance of est players in the country and also give the Summer Season event a big boost by ensuring all arrangements were fully supported to achieve a very high level of organization amidst the stringent Covid 19 protocols.

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Bangladesh-Sri Lanka ODI series to be held in Dhaka

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The upcoming three-match ODI series between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be held at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, the BCB has announced.

The matches, part of the ICC’s ODI Super League, will be held on May 23, 25 and 28, within a bio-bubble stretching between the team hotel and the ground.

Sri Lanka will arrive in Dhaka on May 16, shortly after the Eid ul Fitr weekend, and complete a three-day quarantine. Their first practice session will be on May 19 at the National Cricket Academy ground, adjacent to the stadium. The visitors will then play a practice match at the BKSP on May 21. At the conclusion of the ODI series on May 28, the Sri Lankan team will depart on the following day.

This will be Bangladesh’s third ODI series within the ICC’s World Cup qualifying campaign. They are currently in seventh place, having beaten the West Indies 3-0 at home in January, but lost to New Zealand 3-0 in March. Sri Lanka lost to West Indies 3-0 last month, are now in 9th place.

The two teams only last week played out their final World Test Championship series, which Sri Lanka won 1-0 after a 209-run win over Bangladesh in Pallekele.

Sri Lanka will become the second international team to arrive in Bangladesh since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The BCB successfully hosted West Indies in January-February this year, in a three-ODI and two-Test series in Dhaka and Chattogram.

This will however be a different situation, since Bangladesh are in the middle of a strong second wave of Covid-19 cases. The country has been under a lockdown since April 5. The international flight suspension ended on May 1, but the country’s lockdown has been extended till May 16.

Bangladesh will be without their fast-bowling coach Ottis Gibson, with the team opting to use a local coach instead. (ESPN Cricinfo)

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