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Madugalle and Dharmasena set to officiate ‘home’ Tests

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by Rex Clementine

One of cricket’s sharpest brains – Ranjan Madugalle – is set to appear in his first Test match in Sri Lanka as a Match Referee when Bangladesh tour the island. Madugalle, a veteran of 193 Test matches started his career with the ICC in 1993. Although he has officiated in over 50 Test matches in places like England (12 at Lord’s alone), this is the first time he will be officiating in a Test match in Sri Lanka. It will be also the first time ever that he will function as Match Referee in a game involving Sri Lanka in any format.

With travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Cricket Council has altered playing conditions which allows local match officials to officiate in games. Otherwise, match officials are not from participating nations. As a result, we have seen Chris Broad officiating England’s home games and Madugalle is set to follow suit.

Former Test cricketer Kumar Dharmasena will also stand as an umpire in a Test match for the first time in Sri Lanka. Dharmasena unlike Madugalle gets regular postings in Sri Lanka in white ball cricket where local umpires are allowed but Madugalle’s opportunities in Sri Lanka have been restricted to ICC events such as – 2011 World Cup games and 2012 World T-20 games and they are just a handful.

Madugalle, currently 61, is a former Test captain who retired at the age of 29 to concentrate on his professional career at Ceylon Tobacco. He has had several stints as a member of the National Selection Panel including the one that served during the 1996 World Cup. Arjuna Ranatunga hails him as one of the best selectors he had worked with calling Madugalle, ‘firm but fair.’

Madugalle has been one of the most respected and long standing officials at the ICC having served the organization for more than quarter century now. His 27 year tenure with the game’s governing body has been an unblemished one although there have been the odd tackle or two by our own.

He was making huge strides as a Match Referee when Sri Lanka Cricket surprisingly withdrew his name in 2000. Time was when the home board nominated Match Referees. Madugalle shifted gears and took to commentary like a duck taking to water. He was hugely popular mixing up his in-depth knowledge, mastery of the language and light-hearted nature.

However, his commentary stint lasted just a few months as ICC revamped the Match Referees panel. Then ICC boss Malcolm Speed did away with home boards nominating match officials and instead ICC directly named them.

Madugalle was not only drafted into the new panel but was named as Chief Match Referee ahead of other stalwarts such as Clive Lloyd, Mike Procter and Gundappa Viswanath.

Madugalle has indeed done Sri Lanka proud as he has become the most sought after cricket official in the world. He has become the obvious choice to officiate World Cup finals whenever Sri Lanka have been not involved and other high profile events such as The Ashes and Border – Gavaskar Trophy.

SLC is yet to announce the schedule for the series but originally Bangladesh were set to play three Test matches in Sri Lanka.

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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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