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Mendis to open in Zimbabwe ODIs

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Kusal Mendis will open batting in the three match series against Zimbabwe.

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka confirmed that Kusal Mendis will open batting in the three match series against Zimbabwe that gets underway at Pallekele on Sunday. Mendis was not part of the initial squad but was a late addition after several COVID positive cases within the Sri Lanka bubble.

The 26-year-old Mendis last played international cricket more than six months ago and missed several series after he was suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket along with Niroshan Dickwell and Danushka Gunathilaka for breaching the bio-secure bubble during the team’s tour of England. The one year suspension was reduced to six months on appeal and Mendis now finds huge responsibility on his shoulders with the team missing Avishka Fernando and Dhananjaya de Silva.

Mendis is the brightest Sri Lankan talent to emerge in the last ten years and there have been some terrific match winning knocks like in Port Elizabeth three years ago when he helped the team to seal a series win in South Africa against an attack comprising Steyn, Rabada and Olivier. However, lack of consistency has been an issue. Given his talent and now with responsibility on his shoulders, fans will be hoping that he will have a telling impact in this series and moves forward emerging as one of world’s best batsmen.

Mendis will partner Pathum Nissanka who was in good nick in the Test series against West Indies last month.

Charith Asalanka was terrific during the T-20 World Cup last year and he has got an opportunity to cement his place in the ODI side as well having made his Test debut in December.

Injury to Minod Bhanuka has forced the selectors to rethink their strategy and it is likely that Niroshan Dickwella who was added to the bubble in Kandy will be drafted into the squad.

Meanwhile Dushmantha Chameera, who had tested positive for COVID two weeks ago has been medically cleared to resume training but whether he will be available for the series opener remains to be seen. The Island learns that the fast bowler will be given ample time to be match fit before making a return.

Three players who were named in the squad; Avishka Fernando, Janith Liyanage and Kamil Mishara were pulled out from the squad after testing positive for COVID. Dhananjaya de Silva, deputy to Dasun Shanaka, has been left out due to personal reasons and Sri Lanka’s batting looks thin on experience.

All three ODIs will be played at Pallekele.



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Four batsmen strategy backfire as Sri Lanka lose to Zimbabwe

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Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka scored a century but that effort wasn’t sufficient to take Sri Lanka over the line in the second ODI against Zimbabwe at Pallekele yesterday.

Rex Clementine
at Pallekele

Sri Lanka were flirting with danger having named just four specialist batsmen for the three-match series against Zimbabwe and set a target of 303 in the second ODI, the hosts managed only 280 for nine and lost the game by 22 runs here at Pallekele yesterday.

Sri Lanka’s recent problem in white-ball cricket has been their awful batting and it was bizarre to stick with just four batters most of whom were not in the best of form.

Questions had been asked about Dasun Shanaka backing himself to bat at number six as he had not achieved much as a batsman. His form too was not so great heading into the series. But he justified the decision with a maiden hundred that came off just 93 deliveries with seven fours and two sixes. But Sri Lanka needed more from their captain and could have probably got home with more cover in the batting department.

Shanaka had brought up his hundred by clearing the mid-wicket boundary and after muted celebrations attempted another six but failed to clear the long-off boundary.

Sri Lanka had a horrible start as they were reduced to 63 for four. Then Shanaka rebuild the innings adding 118 runs for the fifth wicket with Kamindu Mendis (57). Another 66 run stand followed for the sixth wicket with Chamika Karunaratne (34) but Sri Lanka were always playing catch up as no team had successfully chased over 300 runs at Pallekele.

Zimbabwe’s young seamers did a terrific job having taken wickets with the new ball and then the trio of Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava came back to pull things back in the death overs as Sri Lanka needed 100 runs in 70 balls.

Despite packing their side with bowlers and the return of Dushmantha Chameera, who missed the first game having not been medically cleared to play after testing positive for COVID, Sri Lanka conceded 302 runs as Zimbabwe opted to bat first.

Chameera is the nation’s best quick and although he generated pace, he wasn’t able to claim any wickets.

Captain Craig Ervine was the star for Zimbabwe as he posted 91 off 98 deliveries with ten fours.

Zimbabwe got off to a good start with the openers adding 51 runs for the first wicket before Jeffrey Vandersay’s leg-spin claimed both Regis Chakabva and Takudzwanashe Kaitano. Chakabva was smartly stumped by Kusal Mendis. It was his first stumping in international cricket and Mendis inflicted another stumping when Vandersay lured Sean Williams forward. Williams had scored a hundred in the previous game.

Zimbabwe’s lower middle order had failed in the first ODI but yesterday they clicked with Sikandar Raza stitching some partnerships that were crucial. The sixth wicket stand between him and Ryan Burl was worth 41 runs while Raza had added 51 runs with Ervine.

Raza was last man dismissed for a well complied 56 that came off 46 deliveries with four fours and a six.

Pradeep claimed two wickets in the last over of the innings. Sri Lanka used up as many as eight bowlers but couldn’t prevent Zimbabwe from scoring a match winning total.

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Wellalage dazzles as Sri Lanka Under 19s stun Australia  

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Dunith Wellalage was adjudged the Man of the Match.

Skipper Dunith Wellalage produced his second five wicket haul of the tournament before scoring a decisive half century as Sri Lanka Under 19s beat Australia Under 19s by four wickets in their second Group ‘D’ match of the ICC Under 19 World Cup in Basseterre, St Kitts on Monday.

The victory helped Sri Lanka cement their top position in Group ‘D’ as they reached a target of 176 runs with 13 overs to spare.

Chasing the target Sri Lanka lost three wickets for 41 runs and it soon became four wickets for 49 when Sakuna Liyanage, who was the leading scorer of the previous game, was out hit wicket for just seven runs.

That was when Wellalage came up with his captain’s knock to keep alive hopes. He had two crucial partnerships, a 70 runs stand with wicketkeeper batsman Anjala Bandara and a 52 runs stand for the sixth wicket with Ranuda Somaratne. Wellalage scored four fours and a six in his knock which came in 71 balls. When he was out caught and bowled by Tom Whitney Sri Lanka had almost reached the target. Four balls later Raveen de Silva scored a boundary to seal the win.

While Bandara stroked 33 runs, Somaratne remained unbeaten on 32. He faced 35 balls.

Deciding to field first Sri Lanka Under 19s did well to contain their counterparts to 175 runs as spinners lead by Wellalage produced economical spells.

Wellalage was the pick of the bowlers as Australia were bowled out in the final ball.

In the fight to retain the lead in the Group ‘D’ points table, Sri Lanka commenced with pace-spin combination of Yasiru Rodrigo and Treveen Mathew and the latter took two quick wickets to disturb Australia’s plans.

Opener Campbell Kellaway anchored the top order to score a half century. He was the only batsman to resist the Sri Lankan spin attack as skipper Wellalage handled his bowlers brilliantly.

While Matheesha Pathirana took two wickets, Sadisha Rajapaksa accounted for one wicket. Shevon Daniel gave away just 10 runs in his six overs.

Sri Lanka will now meet hosts West Indies in the final Group ‘D’ match on Friday.

In the other Group ‘D’ match played on Monday West Indies showed their all-round dominance in comfortable win over Scotland.

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Moose Clothing Company partners as the “Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket”

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Moose Clothing Company is ready to partner with Sri Lanka Cricket as the Official Overseas Team Sponsor for multiple series throughout the year.

Moose Clothing Company, Sri Lanka’s ever versatile and youthful clothing brand is ready to partner with Sri Lanka Cricket as the Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka cricket for multiple series throughout the year starting with the Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe tour 2022.

As an ardent supporter of sports in Sri Lanka, Moose Clothing Company have stepped up on previous occasions to support the much-loved local sport of cricket when they signed up for the England Tour of Sri Lanka 2021 and the official Co-sponsor for the Sri Lanka vs South Africa tour in 2018.

Commenting on this thrilling partnership, Moose Clothing Company CEO Hasib Omar stated: “We are excited to come on board as the official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket. We are confident that the partnership will be mutually beneficial for both the brand Moose Clothing Company and Sri Lanka Cricket.”

Having entered the Sri Lankan retail market in 2018, Moose Clothing Company already established itself as a cotton clothing brand for men and women alike and the brand has been recognized as the best new entrant brand of the year in SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2020. Moose Clothing Company products are available at over 100 stores island wide. Moose Clothing Company is backed by a strong online presence through their flagship online store.

‘’Sri Lanka Cricket welcomes Moose Clothing on board to partner with us during the Zimbabwe tour of Sri Lanka, and are confident that Moose Clothing will take this opportunity to achieve international reach,” said Ashley De Silva, CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket.

Passionately driven by the vision to be an international clothing brand which delivers exceptional value, Moose Clothing Company products are sold in Africa, the Middle East and India, with plans to launch the brand in Europe and the United States in the near future. The company has a long-term goal of representing Sri Lanka on the global fashion stage.

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