Mathews, Chandimal lead Sri Lanka’s solid response
An Angelo Mathews fifty in the company of another senior Dinesh Chandimal punctuated Sri Lanka’s strong response to being rattled late on Day 3 as they went to Lunch on Day 4 at 150 for 4, with a lead of 132 over New Zealand in Christchurch. The only wicket to fall in the session was that of nightwatchman Prabath Jayasuriya, who became Blair Tickner’s fourth dismissal of the innings.
New Zealand began the fourth day without the services of Neil Wagner, who failed a fitness test in the morning following some back issues he suffered on Day 3. That combined with Matt Henry not being fully fit played into the hands of Sri Lanka as they patiently added to their lead in a session where they scored 67 runs in 28 overs at under 3-an-over.
Though the pitch appeared to be easing out a bit, Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal had to proceed cautiously as the odd-ball misbehaved and kept New Zealand in business to trigger a collapse. The swing that the pacers on both sides got on the previous days was gone but there was still some seam movement for Tim Southee & Co. to latch onto. Tickner, who’d picked the three wickets in the final session on Day 3, got his fourth of the innings when he got Jayasuriya to feather a good length delivery – that straightened a little – to the keeper. The tailender wasn’t sure if he nicked it but a review was not taken, a rightly so as there was a clear spike.
Dinesh Chandimal arrived and joined forces with Mathews to put on a solid, undefeated partnership worth 55 runs, en route which they constantly had to deal with variable bounce. One such ball from Southee kicked off the surface and struck Mathews on the glove, leading to medical attention for the veteran. After some taping to the hand, Mathews was swiftly back to take guard and soon reached his 38th Test fifty. New Zealand could’ve had a late breakthrough from Michael Bracewell as he also got a ball to jump up on Mathews and surprise the batter, but he did enough to keep it down and away from the forward short leg fielder – the only catcher deployed around the batter.
Brief Scores:(at lunch on day 4)
Sri Lanka 355 & 150/4 (Angelo Mathews 54*, Blair Tickner 4-40) lead New Zealand 373 (Daryl Mitchell 102, Matt Henry 72, Tom Latham 67; Asitha Fernando 4-85) by 132 runs
Sri Lanka level series with big win in second ODI
Sri Lanka bounced back to beat Afghanistan by 132 runs on Sunday to square the three-match one-day series in Suriyawewa yesterday. It was Sri Lanka’s biggest win over Afghanistan in ODIs and makes amends for its disappointing performance in the first ODI on Friday, which they lost by six wickets,
Having set Afghanistan a stiff 324-run target, fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera dismissed the dangerous Rahmanulah Gurbaz cheaply for two runs to give his side an early advantage. Although Afghanistan put together two strong partnerships after that, the required run rate kept climbing and the Afghans lost their way trying to keep pace.
Opening batsman Ibrahim Zardan continued his good form, posting 54 runs while captain Hashmatullah Shahidi top scored with 57 runs, but once Sri Lanka dismissed the top order there was not much resistance from the rest of the batters.From 146 for two, Afghanistan collapsed to be bowled out for 191 runs in 42.1 overs, losing their last eight wickets for just 45 runs.
Spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Dhananjaya de Silva shared six wickets between them to seal a comprehensive win for the home side. Sri Lanka’s batting put on a show giving the team confidence ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe this month.
Afghanistan have already qualified for the World Cup and despite the heavy defeat on Sunday, will feel positive with star Rashid Khan expected to feature in the final game on Wednesday. The leg-spinner was ruled out of the first two games with a back injury.
Half-centuries by Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne helped Sri Lanka post their commanding total. While Mendis top scored with 78 runs off 75 balls with seven fours and one six, Karunaratne, who was recalled for this series to stabilize the batting, made 52 off 62 balls with seven fours. Opener Pathum Nissanka contributed 43 runs while Sadeera Samarawickrama, featuring in an ODI for the first time since 2019, made 44 off 46 balls.
There was some big hitting by the lower middle order with captain Dasun Shanaka chipping in with 23 runs while Wanindu Hasaranga finished things off in style with an unbeaten 29 off 12 balls with four fours and a six. Dhananjaya de Silva was named Man of the Match for his unbeaten 29 and three wickets.
Tharushi wins silver, Uththra clinches bronze Asian Junior Athletics Championships
By Reemus Fernando
Ratnayake Central, Walala runner Tharushi Karunaratne and Holy Cross College, Gampaha sprinter Jayeshi Uththara shared the silver and bronze medals respectively of the women’s 400 metres to give a winning start to Sri Lanka’s Asian Junior Athletics Championship campaign on day one of the event in South Korea on Sunday.
Karunaratne and Uththara reached the final as the second and third fastest from the heats held in the morning and those positions remained unchanged as they finished second and third respectively in the final.
Karunaratne clocked 53.70 seconds to finish second behind India’s Rezoana Mallick Heena who returned a time of 53.31 seconds for the gold. Uththara clocked 55.51 seconds for her bronze.
Commenting on their achievements Sri Lanka Athletics in a statement said that it was the first time in almost three decades that two Sri Lankan female athletes had won medals in a single event at the Asian Junior Championships.
The track and field governing body was referring to the gold and silver doubles of legendary Susanthika Jayasinghe and Damayanthi Dharsha who shared the gold and silver medals in the 100 metres and 200 metres with championship records at the 1994 edition held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
At the last edition held in Gifu, Japan Sri Lanka’s men’s pair of Aruna Dharshana and Pasindu Kodikara won the gold and silver medals in the men’s 400 metres. Karunaratne who is trained by veteran coach Susantha Fernando is set to compete in the women’s 800 metres final today where she will be the favourite for gold.
She returned an Asian leading time of 2:01.39 seconds at the selection trail held in March though her preparation for the event was plagued by a sickness forcing her to skip the recently held Junior National Championships. Tharushi will enter today’s race as the third fastest 800 metres runner in the world this year.
Dominant Sri Lanka claw back to level series
Sri Lanka came up with a dominant show with both bat and ball to stage a strong comeback and level the three-match series against Afghanistan on Sunday (June 4). Having lost the first ODI, the hosts staged a commendable comeback with their top four laying the platform for a 300-plus total which was then defended with ease as Afghanistan fell short by 132 runs.
Sri Lanka 323/6 in 50 overs (Kusal Mendis 78, Dimuth Karunaratne 52; Mohammad Nabi 2/52) beat Afghanistan 191 in 42.1 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 57, Ibrahim Zadran 54; Dhananjaya de Silva 3/39) by 132 runs
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