by Rex Clementine
Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka has suddenly become the talk in cricket circles after he was drafted into the Sri Lankan squad that will tour South Africa later this year for the Boxing Day and New Year Tests. The 22 players who will go on the tour will begin a week-long residential training camp in Pallekele later this week and all eyes will be on Madushanka.
The 20-year-old hails from the fishing village of Hungama in the Hambantota district. His father is a fisherman and his talent was spotted by former fast bowling great Chaminda Vaas. A couple of years ago, Madushanka had turned up as a net bowler in Hambantota as Sri Lanka were training and Vaas referred him to former Test captain Hashan Tillakaratne, who was the Head Coach of the Under-19 side.
Soon, the youngster was drafted into Sri Lanka Under-19 team and played this year’s ICC Youth World Cup.
Madushanka’s raw pace – clocking over 140 kmph – has impressed all and sundry and so is his smooth action. Then of course left-arm quicks are a rare breed.
All 22 players who will take part in the residential camp and the coaching staff comprising ten individuals went through PCR tests on Wednesday and all reports returned negative.
Sri Lanka are carrying seven extra players to South Africa as they will be not provided net bowlers due to health regulations.
A notable feature in the squad is that Dimuth Karunaratne’s side taking as many as nine seam bowlers.
Dushmantha Chameera, who once was the quickest bowler in Sri Lanka makes a comeback to the side after injury. Chameera and Dasun Shanaka, both of whom hail from Negombo made it to the national team at the same time and Chameera was the most impressive. However, Shanaka has gone onto captain Sri Lanka but Chameera has made little progress due to injuries.
The reason for Sri Lanka to carry that many seam bowlers is that the Tests will be played at Wanderers in Johannesburg and Centurion, a half-hour drive from the South Africa capital. Fast bowlers dominate at both venues and the hosts rarely play a spinner at these venues.
Sri Lanka’s squad for South Africa (subject to Sports Ministry approval)
Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka, Santhush Gunathilaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera and Dilshan Madushanka.
Afghanistan elect to bat first in third T-20 International
Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first in the third T-20 International against Sri Lanka at Dambulla on Wednesday. The Afghan captain won all three tosses in the series but this is the first time he has opted to bat first.
The game is a dead rubber with Sri Lanka having already secured the series 2-0.
Sri Lanka made four changes from the side that won on Monday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match series.
They left-out Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Binura Fernando and Maheesh Theekshanka and brought in top order batter Kusal Perera, all-rounder Kamindu Mendis, off-spinner Akila Dananjaya and seamer Nuwan Thushara.
Afghanistan also made four changes leaving out Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq.
They brought in all-rounder Sharfuddin Ashraf, left-arm seamer Fareed Malik, right-arm quick Wafadar Momand and batter Mohammad Ishaq, who is making his debut.
The tourists are yet to win a game in the multi-format bilateral tour. They lost the one off Test match in Colombo and suffered a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series at Pallekele before conceding a 2-0 advantage in the three match T-20 series in Dambulla.
Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (Wicketkeeper), Kusal Perera, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kamindu Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga (Captain) Matheesha Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Thushara.
Ibrahim Zadran (Captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (Wicketkeeper), Azmatullah Omarzai, Karim Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Noor Ahmad, Hazratullah Zazai, Sharfuddin Ashraf, Mohammad Ishaq, Fareed Malik and Wafadar Momand.
Lyndon Hannibal (SRI) and Ravindra Wimalasiri (SRI)
Ruchira Palliyaguruge (SRI)
Chris Broad (ENG)
Sri Lanka teams reach tennis quarter-finals
The girls and boys teams of Sri Lanka reached the quarter-finals of the Billie Jean King Cup Junior and Junior Davis Cup Asia Oceania Pre Qualifying tournaments continued at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Wednesday.
The girls team beat Maldives 2-0, as Ivanka Samarasinghe (beat Nishan Naba 6-1, 6-2) and Dinara de Silva (beat Azim Araa Aasaal 6-2, 6-2) registered straight set victories in the singles.
The boys team edged out Iraq 2-1. Ganuka Fernando beat Shammama Faisac 6-1, 6-2 in his singles match before joining Lithum Jayabandu to win the doubles against Shammama Faisac and Bakr Akam 6-2, 6-1.
In the second singles Jayabandu went down to Bakr Akam (6-3, 6-2).
Dialog powers Royal – Thomian for 19th time
Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, has extended corporate backing for the 19th year as official sponsor of the country’s blue ribboned cricket encounter, the ‘Battle of the Blues’ between Royal College, Colombo, and S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia on March 7, 8 and 9 at the SSC Grounds, Colombo. The limited-over ‘Mustang’s Trophy’ match will be on March 16, also at the same venue.
The 145th cricket encounter will be aired live on Dialog Television – ThePapare TV HD (Channel Number 126), live-streamed on ThePapare.com and the Dialog ViU App.
Further, Dialog initiated the ‘Play for a Cause’ charity initiative with a mission to uplift school cricket across Sri Lanka. Through a generous pledge of Rs. 1,000 for every run scored and Rs. 10,000 for every wicket taken, last year’s encounter raised a substantial donation of Rs. 1,128,000. The proceedings were distributed in consultation with the Principal of Royal College and the Warden of S. Thomas’ College. This commendable effort helped support and empower four deserving schools in the country.
In this year’s encounter, the boys from Mt. Lavinia will be led by Mahith Perera, while the lads from Reid Avenue will play under the captaincy of Sineth Jayawardena, the U-19 Sri Lanka skipper. The ‘Royal-Thomian’ series spans an impressive 144 years, making it the second longest uninterrupted cricket series in the world, behind the annual encounter between St. Peters College, Adelaide, and Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia, which began just a year earlier.
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