KJP not expected to play today
by Rex Clementine
Although he’s part of the bubble for the current limited-overs series against South Africa, the team’s most experienced player Kusal Janith Perera is not expected to feature in today’s series decider at RPS.
The series is levelled at 1-1 with the hosts winning the opener on Thursday by 14 runs while the Proteas bounced back by winning on Saturday. KJP seems to be not match-fit having spent several weeks on the mend after sustaining a shoulder injury. Then he also tested positive for COVID and had to be in isolation.
Dinesh Chandimal is a reserve batsman in the squad and he’s expected to play at the expense of Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who is getting the chop following his back-to-back ducks.
Question marks have been also raised on Akila Dananjaya, who failed to pick up a wicket in the last game. The indications initially were when he made a comeback after remodeling his action that he will be only considered for T20. However, the selectors have given him a go in ODIs as well and the experiment is not working.
The South Africans have executed the sweep shot so well throughout the series and Sri Lanka will have to think of some way to stop them.
Top-order batsman Janneman Malan has been a real find for the Proteas. At the age of 25, he has only played in eight games but already has got three centuries and two fifties. His stunning hundred in the second game set up South Africa’s victory. You don’t find many young South Africans playing spin so well but Malan looks a different beast.
Charith Asalanka has been the find for the Sri Lankans with back to back half-centuries.
From the time Asalanka was a schoolboy it was clear that he will go on to play for Sri Lanka. A lot of people expected him to be drafted into the side last year but that was delayed by knee surgery. Now he has arrived and grabbed the opportunity from both hands. His fielding, however, needs a lot of polishing up.
There was some superb fast bowling on display on Saturday as Kagiso Rabada hurled down some thunderbolts making the Sri Lankans hop around. He returned to the pavilion halfway through the innings with a sprained ankle having bowled just one spell. But he had done the damage in that spell. The six-over burst on the trot produced two for 12. Sri Lanka never recovered. He was receiving treatment and he’s expected to play today.
Kipyegon breaks world 1500m record with 3:49.11 in Florence
Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon captured the world record she had been hunting, winning the women’s 1500m in a stunning 3:49.11* at the Golden Gala, the third Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season, in Florence on Friday (2).
The two-time Olympic and two-time world champion was already the second-fastest women’s 1500m runner of all time thanks to the 3:50.37 she clocked in Monaco in August, when she missed the world record of 3:50.07 set by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2015 by just 0.3.
This time, Kipyegon blew the mark apart, becoming the first woman to break 3:50 in the discipline and taking almost a second off the previous record.
Kipyegon had been open about her world record ambition in 2023. “The record is in my heart and on my mind and I hope this will be a perfect year for me,” she said on the eve of the Golden Gala.
She has started it in sensational style.
On Friday evening Kipyegon followed the pacemakers Brooke Feldmeier and Sage Hurta-Klecker through 400m in 1:02.37 and Hurta-Klecker was right on schedule through 800m in 2:04.00, with Kipyegon on her shoulder.
As Hurta-Klecker moved to the side, Kipyegon forged on and reached 1200m in 3:05.28. In a race of her own, she pushed again and was roared over the finish line, past a clock showing 3:49.11. She raised her hands to her face and then dropped to the track in delight.
Behind her, Britain’s Laura Muir finished second in 3:57.09, while Australia’s Jessica Hull was third in an area record of 3:57.29, and the field came together after the race to celebrate with Kipyegon.
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Afghanistan cruise to comfortable win after Zadran 98
Opening batsman Ibrahim Zadran scored a fine 98 to help Afghanistan to a comfortable six wicket win with 19 balls to spare in the first ODI against Sri Lanka at Suriyawewa on Friday. Chasing a target of 269, the tourists reached home in 46.5 overs with Zadran sharing a second wicket partnership worth 146 runs with Rahmat Shah. Zadran one of the brightest young batting talents to come through from Afghanistan has already scored three hundreds in nine games and he nearly had a fourth one on Friday before being dismissed two runs short of the milestone.
The 21-year-old was expected to play the anchor role but he wasn’t afraid to punish the loose balls as he raced to his half-century in just 35 balls. He whipped Matheesha Pathirana for two sixes in an over as the debutant fresh from his IPL heroics failed to live up to the expectations conceding 66 runs in his 8.5 overs.
A bouncer by Kasun Rajitha helped Sri Lanka claim the key wicket of Zadran as the batsman attempted a pull shot but couldn’t keep it down and was caught in the deep. Zadran made a run a ball 98 and hit 11 fours and two sixes.
Rahmat Shah went onto post 55 that came off 80 deliveries with three fours.
Nothing much went right for Sri Lanka who are using the series as preparation for the World Cup qualifiers later this month in Zimbabwe. Fast bowler Lahiru Kumara had to pull out after sending down just 4.3 overs with a hamstring strain.
Sri Lanka got off to a poor start losing four wickets for 84 runs inside 20 overs before Charith Asalanka rescued them top scoring with 91 runs. Asalanka added 99 runs for the fifth wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva, who chipped in with a half-century.
When captain Dasun Shanaka was dismissed with the total on 215 for six with seven overs remaining, Sri Lanka were in danger of getting bowled out without utilizing their 50 overs. But Asalanka found a solid partner in debutant Dushan Hemantha as they added 48 runs for the seventh wicket.
Asalanka was run out in the last over with his 91 coming off 95 deliveries with 12 boundaries. Left-arm quicks Fazalhaq Farooqi and Fareed Ahmad picked up two wickets apiece. The second ODI will be played on 4th June followed by the final game on June 7th. All games will be at Suriyawewa.
Sri Lanka 268 all out in 50 overs (Charith Asalanka 91, Dhananjaya de Silva 51, Pathum Nissanka 38, Dushan Hemantha 22, Fazalhaq Farooqi 2-58, Fareed Ahmad 2-43.
Afghanistan 269 for four (Ibrahim Zadran 98, Rahmat Shah 55, Hashmatullah Shahidi 38, Kasun Rajitha 2-49)
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