Debutant Kyle Mayers scored a magnificent 210 not out as West Indies pulled off the fifth-highest successful chase in Test cricket, and highest in Asia, nailing down 395 for a miraculous three-wicket win on the final evening in Chattogram.
In a display of exemplary temperament and power-hitting, Mayers struck 20 fours and seven sixes during his 310-ball stay at the crease. When he hit the winning run, a hurried single to mid-on, only 15 balls were left before the close of play. During the course of his innings, he became only the sixth Test batsman to score a double-century on debut, and also the sixth overall to score a double-ton in the fourth innings of a Test.
For the most part of the final day, Mayers was accompanied by fellow debutant Nkrumah Bonner, who himself struck a gritty 86. The duo added 216 for the fourth wicket and kept Bangladesh wicketless for the first two sessions of the day.
That left West Indies needing 129 in a minimum of 33 overs in the final session. Bonner hit Islam for a six in the first over after tea but was lbw on the very next ball. His dismissal gave Bangladesh an opening. Jermaine Blackwood started aggressively, slog-sweeping Islam over long-on for six, before being bowled for 9 while going for another big hit against Nayeem Hasan.
With West Indies 292 for 5 and the target still 103 runs away, Bangladesh had their hopes renewed. Suddenly there were four men close to the bat. It also meant there were many gaps in the outfield and Mayers and Joshua Da Silva took advantage of that, hitting a four each in one Hasan over.
A few minutes later, when Mayers pulled Hasan over deep midwicket for a six to bring the target down to 76, Bangladesh were forced to spread the field once again.
Mayers was at his striking-best when the last hour of the Test commenced. With 61 required at that stage, he backed himself to clear the boundary-riders and scored 49 by himself, in just 40 balls, bludgeoning five sixes and a four. Islam, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, no one was spared. In a 100-run stand with Da Silva for the sixth wicket, Mayers’ contribution was 80.
The credit must go to Da Silva as well who played a perfect foil to Mayers and must have calmed the nerves in the dressing room. He was eventually bowled for 20 when the target was just three runs away. Kemar Roach, too, fell on the same score – – caught at leg slip off Miraz, who ended with a hundred and eight wickets in the match – but by then even the Bangladesh players knew a West Indies victory was inevitable.
Bangladesh, however, will rue the chances they missed and the reviews they didn’t take, apart from losing Shakib Al Hasan to a thigh injury on the second day of the Test.
In the morning, West Indies resumed from their overnight 110 for 3, and in the first hour alone there were at least three opportunities Bangladesh should have been converted into wickets. Mayers was on 47 when Islam got one to straighten from around the wicket to hit the batsman on the pads. There was a loud appeal for lbw but umpire Richard Illingworth deemed it not out. Bangladesh didn’t opt for the review but replays showed Mayers would have been out had they done so.
Shortly afterwards, Miraz induced an outside edge off Mayers bat but this time Najmul Hossain Shanto put it down at first slip. The resulting single took Mayers to his maiden Test fifty.
Bangladesh missed another opportunity to overturn an on-field decision when Hasan got one to turn sharply from outside off and ping Bonner’s pads. Illingworth once again ruled it in the batsman’s favour. Replays, once again, confirmed he was wrong.
Kyle Mayers gets a hug from fellow debutant Nkrumah Bonner during their double-century stand BCB
The Bangladesh spinners were also guilty of not bowling enough full-length deliveries, allowing Bonner and Mayers to wait on the back foot and adjust to whatever turn and bounce the pitch offered.
Mayers was the aggressor right from the start, cutting and pulling spinners to the square boundaries. When Rahman was brought into the attack, he welcomed him with a four and six off successive deliveries. Bonner, meanwhile, was happy to keep his end occupied. And even before lunch, their contrasting approach led to the comparisons with Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant’s knocks in India’s win against Australia in Brisbane last month.
The two seemed to have switched their roles in the second session. On 1the first ball of the second over after lunch, Bonner cleared his front leg and lofted Taijul Islam over mid-on. It fetched the batsman four runs but the impact was such that Bangladesh went on the defensive after that shot. For the next few overs, they had just one close-in fielder, either a slip or a short leg, for spinners.
With a single off Nayeem, Bonner reached his half-century, in 164 balls. After delaying the second new ball by an over, Bangladesh seemed to have found success with it when umpire Sharfuddoula gave Bonner lbw off Islam. Bonner, though, knew he had got an inside edge and got the decision reversed.
Meanwhile, Mayers found himself stuck. Having reached 90 in 146 balls, he took another 32 balls to bring up his maiden Test hundred. And it was a streaky boundary between slip and gully, via an outside edge off Rahman, that took him to the landmark.
What followed was a slew of loose shots from Mayers, all in that Rahman over. He was beaten outside off twice in the next two balls and, a ball later, miscued two consecutive lofted attempts. Luckily for West Indies, both fell away from the fielders. It took a message from the dressing room at the end of the over for Mayers to regain his composure, which he didn’t lose till the end of the match. (cricinfo)
The brand of cricket we want to play is free and relaxed: – Sangakkara
The 2008 IPL champions employed five opening pairs in the previous edition.
As many as five opening pairs were experimented with by the Rajasthan Royals last season. Ahead of their season opener against Punjab Kings, Sanju Samson, the newly-appointed captain of the franchise says that this year around, more stability can be expected from the side that chopped and changed so much to the extent of being unable to settle on a side until much later in the tournament.
“Myself and Sanga will try to give the best combination,” said Samson on Sunday (April 11). “From my point of view, it’s crucial to give an individual or a pair of opening partners enough time in the tournament. So, I think a bit of stability will be seen in this tournament. The rest it depends on how we go.”
Much has been debated about the batting order. Whilst Jos Buttler’s record at the top speaks for itself, Ben Stokes has been their go-to man for the opening slot. With Robin Uthappa gone this year, will they persist with Stokes at the top with Yashasvi Jaiswal, or will they promote Buttler up to a position he loves? Without committing too much either way about their preferred sequence, Kumar Sangakkara, the director of cricket at the Royals said the combination will be a decision they will undertake with the “full buying of the players involved”.
“We look to finalise (combinations) later on today before we go for training and we want we want to keep our options open,” said Sangakkara. “The most important thing is that players are communicated to clearly as to what their roles are and get them to commit to it.
“What we planned to do is get a balanced side, everyone available, a full squad, try and have a consistent philosophy of cricket. The brand of cricket that we want to play is quite free and relaxed. Also in terms of preparing well and executing well… to get everyone prepared to think and to be problem-solvers. To think for themselves. It helps Sanju a lot on the field when people are thinking for themselves and know what’s going on. It builds a lot of trust within the group as well. Everyone has individual strengths that they bring into the side which are highly valued. We try and build that into a good unit where everyone knows what they’re doing, what their value is and what their roles are. Then we’ll go and try to play some good cricket.”
An overhaul in how the Royals went about their business was needed, having had finished last in 2020. Rajasthan just couldn’t crack the code of winning matches consistently and a lot of it had to do with the lack of the team striking together. There were moments of brilliance before they fell back.
“We have a lot of match-winners who are absolutely wonderful players…in Sanju Samson, Rahul Tewatia, our fast bowlers. The key is to have different people who do something a little bit special on the day and the point of a great team performance is to have your regular players performing consistently and once in a while. Someone stepping in to do a little bit extra. If it’s a different player most of the time and not the same person, it’s even better.”
Another area of concern last year was the lack of support from the contingent of pace bowlers around Jofra Archer, who was named MVP. Archer missing the first few games will be a big blow for Rajasthan. Sangakkara, however, threw his support behind the inexperienced Indian bowlers in their squad to come good.
“I think inexperience sometimes can work for you and against. Inexperience would probably mean that the opposition has not really seen them either, but fast bowling, specially in the IPL is not an easy task and we saw that yesterday as well. Sometimes the wickets are really good for batting or most of the wickets are, so you have to be quite skillful. So I’m pretty confident that our young fast bowlers will step up. We’ve had Kartik Tyagi who did very well last season in patches in various phases of the game and this year we have a new additions in Kuldip Yadav and Chetan Sakariya. So I think it’s about you know keeping them again focused on what their job is really and get them trained and prepared to execute all the different deliveries and scenarios and match plans for the opposition. But at the same time concentrate in giving them confidence of their own strengths.”
When asked if despite all his years in the game, the highs and lows, he feels pressure of expectations in his new role, Sangakkara didn’t mince his words.
“I think there are always expectations and pressure. You can’t get away from that and you got to accept it. And the only way you deal with it is really, you know ticking off the boxes that you want in terms of training, in terms of preparation, getting combinations right. Get the players involved take ownership of not their own roles, but also the team plans and that makes things a lot easier. You can’t guarantee what will happen on the day of a match, but what you can guarantee is that you can go out and control what you control. Take a great attitude out, and Sanju always talks about playing with passion and with heart. I think that’s a very important point as well. That can really lift a team to do some special things out there when the pressure is on.
“So for me personally, know my job is to get everyone ready and once they get on the field my job is actually secondary. It’s about them going out there and expressing themselves playing really good smart cricket. But we wait and see. I think everyone’s really looking forward to starting the tournament,” he added.
Sheran’s back to back half centuries help Joes
Back to back half centuries by Sheran Fonseka stood in good stead for St. Joseph’s as they forced a draw to their First XI cricket encounter against S. Thomas’ at Darley Road on Monday. Thus they retained the Gilmore Jayasuriya Trophy which they won under the captaincy of Sameera Weerasinghe in 2009.
Commencing from 344 for nine overnight, the Thomians declared their innings after Yasiru Rodrigo completed his century, an unbeaten 103 runs.
It was Rodrigo’s day as he followed up his century with a three wicket haul to trouble the home team.
The Joes lost wickets at regular intervals but Fonseka’s contribution helped them post 176 for nine wickets declared. Soon they were asked to follow on but the open batsmen put up a healthy stand to prevent a repetition of first innings disappointments.
Fonseka scored an unbeaten 57 runs and was involved in a first wicket stand of 123 runs with Sadeesh Jayawardena who scored 62.
Meanwhile the match between Mahanama and St. Anne’s ended in a draw at Kurunegala after the home team posted 164 for nine wickets in reply to visitors’ 169 runs.
S. Thomas’ V St. Joseph’s at
S. Thomas’ 344 for 9 overnight 350 for 9 decl. in 103 overs (Anuk Palihawadena 54, Ryan Fernando 71, Thenuka Liyanage 36, Yasiru Rodrigo 103 n.o., Gunaratnam Caniston 53; Dunith Wellalage 3/111, Shenuka de Silva 2/13)
St. Joseph’s 176 for 9 decl. in 51 overs (Sheran Fonseka 92, Mithira Thenura 20; Yasiru Rodrigo 3/48, Gunaratnam Caniston 3/42, Anuk Palihawadena 2/48) and 127 for 1 in 31 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 62, Sheran Fonseka 57n.o.)
Mahanama V St. Anne’s at Kurunegala
Mahanama 169 all out in 71.2 overs (Sadishan Chamodya 22, Pavan Rathnayake 81, Sachira Weliwatta 23; Pasindu Tennakoon 4/51, Manaan Muzammil 2/49, Kalindu Wijesinghe 2/28)
St. Anne’s 79 for 1 overnight 164 for 9 in 69 overs (Dilhara Deshabandu 39, Kavindu Ekanayake 43, Pivithu Fernando 22, Shevan Nimantha 20; Devindu Kekirideniya 4/57 ) (RF)
Dahamdi, Esha win Round Robin stage
Sri Lanka Girls U-14 Chess Grand Prix 2021
Sanudula Dahamdi of Musaeus College and Esha Pallie of Visakha Vidyalaya were the winners of Group ‘X’ and ‘Y’ respectively at the end of the Round Robin stage of the Sri Lanka Youth Girls’ (Under-14) Chess Grand Prix 2021
Dahamdi was outstanding right throughout as she remained unbeaten to score nine points in nine games. Pallie won Group ‘Y’ with a score of 7 ½ points.
Dahamdi beat L.H.M.G.S. Somarathne, Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake and Sasmi Sithumsa in the second session to remain unbeaten.
Esha had a tough competition in last three rounds with a win against Piyumi Uthpala Amarathunga and a draw against Onwli Vithanawasam. She lost her encounter Tenuli Dahamna Rathnayake.
Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake( Central College, Veyangoda), Tharuli Vihansa Ranganath(Yoshida International School) and Oshini Devindya Gunawardhana (Pushpadana High School) scored 5.5, 5.0 and 5.0 respectively and managed to win second, third and fourth places in Group ‘X’ respectively by selecting to the quarter finals.
Oneli Vithanawasam (Lyceum International, Wattala), Desandhi Dhihansa Gamage (Sirimavo Bandaranayake BV) and Tenuli Dhahamna Rathnayake (Gothami Balika Vidyalaya) were placed second, third and fourth in Group ‘Y’.
Esha Pallie, Oneli Vithanawasam, Desandhi Gamage and Dhahamna Rathnayake are now in the quarter-finals.
The top four players in Group ‘X’ and ‘Y’ will play a knocked out rounds.
The Youth Girls Chess Grand Prix 2021 which commenced on April 2 with 18 leading Girls Under 14 Chess players will culminate on April 16.
A – Q/F 1 – X winner V Y 4th – Dahamdi V Tenuli
B – Q/F 2 – Y Winner V X 4th – Esha Pallie V Oshini
C – Q/F 3 – X Runner Up V Y 3rd – Nemindi V Desandi
D – Q/F 4 – Y Runner Up V X 3rd – Oneli V Tharuli
The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka is offering Rs. 55,000/= as cash awards for the winners.
The event is held according to the strict health guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and The Medical Unit of Ministry of Sports.
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