Sri Lanka have suffered a major blow ahead of the tour of South Africa with the team’s senior most player Angelo Mathews being ruled out with a right hamstring injury. Chairman of Selectors Ashantha de Mel confirmed to The Island that Mathews will be out for about four weeks but expected him to be fit for the home Test series against England.
Mathews, who captained Colombo Kings on Sunday’s semi-final clash against Galle Gladiators in the Lanka Premier League was in pain as he was bowling and he left the field.
The former captain has been plagued by a series of injuries in the last three years and missed lot of cricket.
Chances of fielding a mixed relay team evaporates
Junior World Championship team pruned
By Reemus Fernando
Junior athletes who have already suffered setbacks due to cancelation of meets and postponements of international competitions are set to encounter further trouble as a number of athletes who have reached qualifying standards for the upcoming World Junior Championships face the axe due to the current economic crisis.Sri Lanka Athletics has dropped two athletes including Sithum Jayasundara who took part in the last World Junior Championships when the track and field governing body forwarded the names of the team for the World Junior Championships to request Sports Ministry assistance for their trip to Cali, Colombia in August.
At a time when senior athletes find it difficult to reach qualifying standards for the World Championships, some nine juniors reached qualifying standards for the World Junior Championships.It was a practice of Sri Lanka Athletics to send all athletes who reach qualifying standards for World Junior Championships as it provides impetus for juniors to remain in the sport.
The heavy cost involved in sending the team to Cali has made Sri Lanka Athletics reduce the number in the team from nine to seven and sources said that the Sports Ministry too could further prune down the team due to financial constrains.
Sri Lanka Athletics has sent the names of St. Joseph’s College triple jumper Pasindu Malshan, St. Peter’s athletes Hirusha Hashen (long jump) and Rumesh Tharuka (javelin), Ambagamuwa Central hurdler Dhanuka Dharshan, Royal College hurdler Nadun Bandara, Girls His School hurdler Amesha Hettiarachchi, Ratnayake Central Walala runner Tharushi Karunarante to request Sports Ministry approval and financial assistance.
Jayeshi Uththara who reached qualifying standards for the 400 metres is the other athlete who has been dropped from the team.By dropping Uththara and Jayasundara the team will miss the opportunity of fielding a mixed relay team. It was in the mixed relay that the Sri Lanka team produced their best result at the last edition.Tharushi Karunaratne who featured in the mixed relay final at the last edition making it to the team this time as well Sri Lanka were in with a chance to produce a better show in that event.
Exciting Test series awaits fans after hard-fought ODIs
by Rex Clementine
After three weeks of eight exciting one-day games, the Australians will now move to the south coast where Galle will host them for two Test matches. On paper, Sri Lanka, a team that had struggled in white-ball cricket for some seven years, had a snowball’s chance in hell. But cricket is such a funny game. One stunning run chance at Pallekele in the third T-20 scripted by Dasun Shanaka gave them confidence that there’s nothing impossible in sports and Sri Lanka looked a different side from thereon.
A lot has been said about the ODI series win being Sri Lanka’s first against Australia in 30 years at home. It is also their first-ever five-match series win against the five-time World Champions. It’s a pity that this series was not part of the ICC World Cup Super League. Had it been they would have carried vital points in a bid to qualify automatically for the World Cup. Now, even if they win their next six games in the Super League – against New Zealand away and Afghanistan home, they will not have enough points to go through.
The performance of several young players was the talking point. While Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka posted their maiden hundreds, Kusal Mendis finally delivered coming up with consistent performances. Wanindu Hasaranga is feared by every opposition while Maheesh Theekshana has improved leaps and bounds. Dunith Wellalage looks a mature man for a 19-year-old and claimed some big wickets in the series. Chamika Karunaratne showed the potential of a true all-rounder who needs a bit more trust from his captain. He is nicknamed ‘suicide’ by his NCC team mates and while the energy is good it could also bring him trouble unless he controls his emotions when things heat up. But, Sri Lanka had played boring white ball cricket in the last half a decade and the least thing we should complain about is energy.
What really pleases you is that the team could have in fact won all five ODIs. The manner in which they chased down stiff targets and the character they showed defending below par totals gives you assurance that this team has turned a huge corner. The Aussies may give you a loan to come out of the economic crisis but they give no corner in sports and the manner in which the likes of David Warner and Glenn Maxwell were tamed was quite impressive. Warner in particular looked a pale shadow of his former self. The Sri Lankan players will be hoping that we have not spoken too early with regards to Warner.
Head Coach Chris Silverwood has certainly made an impact and during a media interaction, he agreed that this team has the potential to do greater things when they fire on all cylinders. A lot of people feel that Australia will struggle in Galle as spin is their Achilees’ heel. But a look at stats would suggest that they have in fact done better in Galle having won two Tests and lost one. Those Australian sides that won in 2004 and 2011 played spin much better one may say. In the same breath Sri Lankan spinners of yesteryear were far better than the current inexperienced lot. The trio of Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrama and Lasith Embuldeniya struggled in the recent Bangladesh Tests as pace won Sri Lanka the games. Hoping pace to win you Test matches against Australia is wishful thinking. But the good news for Sri Lanka is that their batsmen are in form. This will be a keenly contested series like the limited over games.
Australia are ranked number one in the world in Test match cricket. A 2-0 series win will see seventh-placed Sri Lanka climbing up to number five above Pakistan and England. A 1-0 series win will see them securing the number six spot.
With Pathum Nissanka returning to the side the team will have a few selection headaches as to which batsman to leave out. Opener Oshada Fernando who replaced him in Bangladesh when Nissanka was injured could be the casualty.
There will be lot of emotions as well when the Australian train today in Galle for the first time as it was here Shane Warne took his 500th wicket. A match bag of ten wickets by the late leg-spinner helped Australia win the Test 2004 Test match. Later that year, when the tsunami struck, he was the first cricketer to visit the city pledging his support to rebuild. The winners of the series will take away the Warne-Murali Trophy.
Trinity take away Canon De Saram Shield at rugby
By A Special Sports Correspondent
Trinity College Kandy survived a spirited second half rally by S. Thomas’ College before winning their Inter-school Division 1 Segment 1 A match by 20 points to 17 at Pallekele on Saturday (June 25).
The winners by virture of the win took home the Cannon R.S. De Saram Shield. Trinity collected their points through two tries, two conversions and two penalties while the lads from Mount Lavinia collected their points through one try, one conversion and two penalties. The winners led 17-6 at the breather.
In a Division 1 Segment 2 A match played at Bambalapitiya, St. Peter’s College also had to fight hard to beat visiting Dharmaraja 27-12. It was a strong second half rally that helped the Peterites pull through in their first outing for the season.
At Longden Place, on Saturday, Wesley produced thunder and the first week’s highest score in Division 1 rugby when they routed Vidyartha by 38 points to 7. Meanwhile in a Segment B Group 2 B match D.S Senanayake College ran up a massive score of 50 points to zero against St. Benedict’s College. The winners ran down eight tries from which five were converted.
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