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Mayers 210*, Bonner 86 script West Indies’ historic Chattogram chase

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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)



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Thewin, Pawan help Trinity as Gishan bags eight wickets  

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Under-19 cricket

by Reemus Fernando

 A laboured 44 runs by Thewin Amarasinghe in the first innings and an unbeaten 76 by Pawan Pathiraja helped Trinity avert defeat in the traditional Under-19 cricket encounter dominated by Royal at Reid Avenue on Friday. 

Royal declared their innings on the overnight score of 403 for two and spinner Gishan Balasooriya picked up five wickets to rattle the Trinity batting line up.  A painstaking 44 runs by Thewin Amarasinghe (in 155 balls) was the only highlight in Trinity’s first innings. 

Following on Pawan Pathiraja scored an unbeaten 76 (in 105 balls, 11x4s) as they reached 115 for six wickets when bad light forced an early end.  

Balasooriya was the pick of the bowlers as he collected a match bag of eight wickets. 

The match will be remebered for the record breaking partnership between Royal captain Ahan Wickramasinghe (210n.o.) and Sadeesha Rajapaksha (152n.o.). They broke the Royal record for the highest partnership held by Sumithra Waranakulasuriya and Ajith Dewasurendra when they put on an unbroken 362 runs stand for the third wicket against Trinity in 1981 which was won by Royal by an innings and 62 runs.   

Scores: 

Royal 403 for 2 in 98 overs

(Ahan Wickramasinghe 210n.o.,  Ashen Gamage 22, Sadeesha Rajapaksha 152n.o.)  

Trinity 133 all out in 62.3 overs

(Thewin Amarasinghe 44, Matheesha Pathirana 16, Ranuda Somaratne 16; Gishan Balasooriya 5/41, Kavindu Pathirathna 2/18) and 115 for 6 in 32 overs (Pawan Pathiraja 76n.o.; Prashan Kalhara 2/29, Gishan Balasooriya 3/44) 

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Dhananjaya returns for West Indies Tests  

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By Rex Clementine

Stylish Dhananjaya de Silva’s calm presence in the middle order had brought so much assurance to the Sri Lankan batting in recent times but he has been out of cricket for almost three months now after pulling a thigh muscle during the Boxing Day Test against South Africa at Centurion. De Silva was cruising on 79 when he attempted a run and pulled the muscle ruling him out of the series and the subsequent home Tests against England. His absence resulted in Sri Lanka struggling to balance the side.

The 29-year-old has been named in the 17 member squad that also includes Lahiru Thirimanne, who tested positive for COVID-19. Roshen Silva, Vishwa Fernando and Lasith Embuldeniya also have been named in the Test squad. All five players will fly to Antigua on Sunday via Doha and New York.

The selectors were contemplating of retaining an 18th player for the two match series. Lahiru Kumara had been named in the squad but he had to be withdrawn after testing positive for COVID. Sources said that either Nuwan Pradeep or Dilshan Maudhsanka could be retained as the additional player. However, no final decision had been made yet.

The players will have to go through 72 hours of quarantine in Antigua before being allowed to resume training.

All-rounder Dasun Shanaka will also travel to the Caribbean on Sunday but he will be taking an entirely different route – literally four flights. He will travel to Dubai from Colombo and will get connecting flights to Paris and St. Martin before reaching Antigua.

Shanaka was unable to get a US visa in time and was not able to be present in Antigua to lead the side. The all-rounder had lost his passport containing a valid US visa and the US High Commission in Colombo was investigating whether his previous visa had been used by someone else.

Sri Lanka will play three ODIs in Antigua prior to the two match Test series. All five games will be played at Sir Viv Richards Stadium. The T-20 series is being played at Alan Stanford Stadium, named after the Antiguan businessman who is currently serving a 110 year jail term in the United States for financial fraud.

Sri Lanka squad for West Indies Tests:

Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Niroshan Dickwella,  Angelo Mathews, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Chandimal, Dasun Shanaka, Dushmantha Chameera, Asitha Fernando, Ramesh Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Lasith Embuldeniya, Vishwa Fernando, Roshen Silva and Suranga Lakmal.

 

 

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Arushi going from strength to strength to clinch U14 title

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Arushi Thomas receives her trophy from Nishan Gunasekara, Honorary Chairman SSC Tennis House Committee while runner up Dulkini Ranasinghe and Manoj Lakmal, Assistant Referee look on. (Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

 

SSC Open Ranking Tennis

by Reemus Fernando

Newstead Girls School, Negombo player Arushi Thomas toppled top seeds and top ranked players on her way to clinch the Under-14 girls’ singles title at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Friday.

Thomas beat Dulkini Ranasinghe 6-2, 6-2 to win the title after ousting top seeds in the last two stages.

In the quarter-finals, Thomas beat top seed and number two ranked Under 14 player Melasha Randini 7-5, 6-4 before scoring a hard fought 6-7, 7-5, 10-6 to edge out Onali de Silva in the semis.

Thomas commenced the year reaching the last 16 at the Tennis Nationals (Under-14 tournament) in January and improved to reach the semi-finals at last month’s Colombo Championships where she was eliminated by Dinara de Silva.

Meanwhile, top ranked Under-14 player Lisal Goonethlleke ensured a Royal-Thomian clash in the semi-finals when he beat Aweesh Ganegoda 6-3, 6-3 in the quarter-final. The S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia player is set to meet Tharuk Marasinghe of Royal College. The third seed Marasinghe beat Senuk Herat 6-3, 2-6, 10-6 for his semi final place.

Sandas Usgodaarachchi beat fourth seed Dhanushka Dias in his match to meet number two ranked Methwan Wijemanne in the semi-final. Wijemanne advanced to the semi finals on Thursday when he beat Janava de Saram.

 

Results

Under-14 girls singles final

Arushi Thomas beat Dulkini Ranasinghe 6-2, 6-2

Under-14 boys singles quarter-finals

Methvan Wijemanne beat Janava de Saram 6-3, 6-4,

Tharuk Marasinghe beat Senuk Herat 6-3, 2-6, 10-6

Lisal Goonetilleke beat Aweesh Ganegoda 6-3, 6-3

Sandas Usgodaarachchi beat Dhanushka Dias 6-2, 6-3

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