By Rex Clementine
There’s new found excitement as young Pathum Nissanka became the first Sri Lankan to score a hundred on debut overseas. There’s been a lot of talk about him when he was snubbed for South Africa after a prolific domestic season and then for the home series against England. His opportunity finally came in the Caribbean and he has shown what he’s capable of.
Pathum is good enough to be an all format player like he was made to do in this series. The way he adapted from white ball cricket to the longer format was remarkable, exhibiting patience in abundance during his century.
Former greats have been quick to congratulate him particularly making mention of his appetite for runs; he averaged 67 in First Class cricket in the last three seasons. A point noted by former captain Sanath Jayasuriya took the attention of many followers of the game. Jayasuriya reminded the need for young Pathum to be ‘managed well’.
For Jayasuriya to say that he needs to be ‘managed well’ there must be something wrong with the way young players are being managed at the moment.
The likes of Jayasuriya when he started his cricket and when he was at the peak of his prowess, had many well wishers like S. Skandakumar, Sidath Wettimuny and Jayantha Dharmadasa to support him. Currently they are replaced by player agents some of whom have clearly mismanaged players.
We are left with too many examples and the fans will be hoping that Pathum Nissanka’s will not be the same story. Sri Lanka needs some solid players to come out from their current mess and the game’s main stakeholders – the players and their agents need to fall in line.
Now that Pathum has made a dream debut selections for the home Test series against Bangladesh is going to be really tough with Angelo Mathews and Kusal Janith Perera expected to return to the side.
It was so good to see Niroshan Dickwella showing maturity that he has been lacking all these years. A clear message has been sent to him and Dickwella knows that more is expected of him. He’s been excellent behind the wickets and since the second England Test has taken more responsibly with his batting. If only he can get his act together with his reviews, Sri Lanka will have someone solid in their ranks.
Sri Lanka fought back in the first Test after being blown away for 169 runs in the first innings. Suranga Lakmal was brilliant with career best figures of five for 47 to restrict West Indies’ lead just over 100 runs. Then Sri Lanka took the game away from the hosts in the second innings with significant contributions from Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Pathum and Dickwella.
If they win the second Test, history will be created in the Caribbean as a Sri Lankan side has never won a Test series in West Indies.
Joes stun Richmond, Mahanama sail through
by Reemus Fernando
St. Joseph’s registered a stunning 128 runs win over league stage group champions Richmond and Mahanama beat St. Anthony’s Katugastota by 38 runs as the two teams completed the semi-final line up of the Under-19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament on Tuesday.
Dunith Wellalage top scored with 61 runs for St. Joseph’s before taking two wickets as the Joes ended Richmond’s unbeaten run restricting them to 100 runs. Incidentally, Richmond had recorded five wins in a row during the league stage and were the champions in group ‘Z’. St. Joseph’s were the third placed team in group ‘Y’ having scored three wins in five outings.
Mahanama lived up to their reputation as one of the favourites for the title as they knocked out the team from Kandy. Sampath Nissanka took four wickets to contain St. Anthony’s to 116 runs.
Now Mahanama will meet Royal in the semi-final, while St. Joseph’s take on Trinity.
Meanwhile in a Division II Tier ‘A’ quarter-final match Royal College, Panadura registered a two wickets win over Bandaranaike College, Gampaha.
Division I Tier A
St. Joseph’s beat Richmond at DSS ground
228 for 9 in 50 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 29, Sheran Fonseka 54, Dunith Wellalage 61, Hirun Matheesha 21n.o.; Amshi de Silva 2/46, Kavindu Nirmana 4/39)
100 all out in 29.3 overs (Hansamana de Silva 33, Amshi de Silva 25; Deshan Seneviratne 2/22, Shenuka de Silva 3/27, Dunith Wellalage 2/22, Shevon Daniel 2/00)
Mahanama beat St. Anthony’s at Kurunegala
154 all out in 46.4 overs (Savindu Kavinda 22, Sachira Weliwatte 50, Dhanaja Sadalidu 27, Achintha Supun 24; Chamindu Wickramasinghe 2/21, Divyesh Ramaiya 3/19, Tharindu Lamahewage 2/37)
116 all out in 44.4 overs (Anjala Bandara 44; Sampath Nissanka 4/36, Sethum Kenula 2/22, Sadishan Chamodya 2/22)
Division II Tier ‘B’
Royal beat Bandaranaike at Asgiriya
113 all out in 32.3 overs (S. D. Saranga 21, Rusith Kavishka 27; Himesh Fernando 2/15, Hasantha Warunajith 4/28, Milinda Sanjaya 3/26)
116 for 8 in 30.3 overs (Jayod Silva 17; Kanishka Malinga 4/29, Kavishka Jayawardena 3/17)
Green top awaits Cobras
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Head Coach Mickey Arthur take a look at the pitch ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh at Pallekele that gets under way today. Fast bowlers are expected to make merry on a green top never seen before in Sri Lanka.
Rex Clementine at Pallekele
One of the best gifts a dad can give a child is a trip to Leisure World at Avissawella and similarly one of the best things that can happen to a Sri Lankan quick is to get a green top at home. That’s exactly what’s going to happen at Pallekele today.
Not too sure when was the last time on Sri Lankan soil so much grass had been left on a cricket pitch. For a few days Pallekele is going to look like Newlands in Cape Town.
The unlucky ones are Dilshan Madusanka and Asitha Fernando who will not get a chance to bowl here.
The new ball will be shared by Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara with Vishwa Fernando providing variety with his left-arm seam.
A lot will be expected of Suranga Lakmal who was Player of the Series in the West Indies. Kumara will be a handful with his raw pace. But the real deal is Vishwa, whose clever tricks when conditions are helpful are a treat to watch.
Expect Angelo Mathews to do more bowling this series as well. Whether they will have a fifth seamer in Dasun Shanaka or opt for Wanindu Hasaranga at number seven remains to be seen.
With Mathews returning to the side, one of the batters will be left out from the side and whoever who gets the axe must consider himself very unlucky.
There is reason for Sri Lanka to change their strategy to pace based. Bangladesh’s strength is spin and the hosts don’t want to play into their hands. That’s exactly why the series is played in Kandy and not Galle.
Bangladesh will miss Shakib Al Hasan, their main match winner. They are also without their lead pacie – Mustafizur Rahman. Both are in India playing IPL.
The tourists are under pressure. They lost a home series to West Indies unexpectedly and were whitewashed in New Zealand losing all six white ball games. Their away record also nothing much to boast about having won just one Test match in the last four years – against Sri Lanka in 2017.
Lisal, Saajida win singles titles
Clay Courts National Tennis Championship
Number one ranked Lisal Goonetilleke bagged the Under-14 boys’ singles title, Saajida Razick claimed the Under-18 girls’ singles trophy as the Clay Courts National Tennis Championship continued at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.
S. Thomas’ College player Goonetilleke scored a 6-1, 6-4 win against Methvan Wijemanne to win the Under-14 final.
Bishop’s College player Saajida Razick beat Hasali Gajaba 7-5, 6-4 to win the Under-18 girls’ title.
In the Under-14 girls doubles final, Inuki Jayaweera of Musaeus College and Melesha Randini of Ave Maria Convent, Negombo beat Akeesha Silva and Movindi Fernando to win the trophy.
Under 14 Boys’ Singles Final:
Lisal Goonetilleke beat Methvan Wijemanne 6-1, 6-4.
Under-18 Girls’ Singles Final:
Saajida Razick beat Hasali Gajaba 7-5, 6-4.
Under-14 Girl’s Doubles Final:
Inuki Jayaweera and Melesha Randini beat Akeesha Silva and Movindi Fernando 5-3, 4-2. (RF)
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