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Perth has lost its old charm

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Cricket in Perth has moved from WACA to the new state-of-the-art Optus Stadium. While the former ground could only host 18,000 fans, the new venue can welcome more than 60,000 supporters.

Rex Clementine
in Perth

Covering cricket in Perth has been a pleasant experience. WACA considered the quickest pitch in the world tests batsmen’s technique, character, resolve and determination and the faint-hearted fade away here. It’s the battle-hardened men like Hashan Tillakaratna who succeed. The left-hander copped a few nasty blows on his way to a Test match hundred in 1995, becoming the second Sri Lankan to score a century in Australia. The former Test captain is also the first Sri Lankan to score a Test hundred in South Africa, on an equally fiery pitch at the Centurion in 2002.

There have been other big moments for Sri Lankan cricket here in Western Australia.

Sri Lanka played a T-20 in Perth in 2010, a game that they won. Needing 134 to victory, Sri Lanka were 119 for four in the 15th over and captain Kumar Sangakkara played down a maiden over. Ahead of the 17th over, the tourists were feeling the pressure. Thisara Perera was on strike and Australia called up a leg-spinner by the name of Steve Smith. Thisara wasted no time as he hammered two sixes and a four in the first three deliveries to end the show.

WACA is a venue where Sri Lanka have some happy memories. However, in 2018, cricket in Perth shifted to Optus Stadium from WACA, a stone’s throw from the old ground.

For all its charm and history, WACA had one major issue; the venue could host only 18,000 fans. The new ground, very much like the Gabba in Queensland can welcome over 60,000 fans and it’s the third largest sports stadium in Australia.

The new stadium is not exclusive to cricket, it hosts Australian Rules Football and a couple of years ago All Blacks took on the Wallabies here.

Despite its state-of-the-art facilities and massive media center, the new ground is a concrete jungle. You miss WACA for more than one reason. The nostalgic feelings are there but many in Australia agree that you have got to move on with time.

While cricket grounds like MCG, SCG, Adelaide Oval and Gabba had gone through major redevelopment works in the last 25 years, WACA had remained the same old stadium, close to the hearts of fans and players though. But the modern game has no place for romantics. They are a breed that’s in extinct.



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Hathurusingha named Bangladesh head coach

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Bangladesh Cricket Board, on Tuesday (31), said that Chandika Hathurusingha has been named as the new head coach for a two-year period. He is expected to join the set-up in February.

“We have appointed Hathurusingha for two years as across the format head coach,” BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury was quoted by Cricbuzz as having said.

The former Sri Lanka all-rounder had earlier served as the head coach of Bangladesh from 2014 to 2017. He has also served in various coaching positions with Sri Lanka, Canada, NSW and Sydney Thunder.

In his previous coaching tenure, Bangladesh had won ODI series against India, Pakistan and South Africa, alongside achieving Test victories versus Sri Lanka, England and Australia. During his stint, Bangladesh also reached the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in 2017.

“It’s an honour to have been given this opportunity to coach the Bangladesh national team once again. I really loved the warmth of the people and the culture of Bangladesh whenever I have been there. I’m looking forward to working with the players once again and enjoy their successes,” he said in a press release.

Cricbuzz had earlier reported that BCB is unlikely to continue with split coaching and Hathurusingha is the front-runner to replace Russell Domingo, who resigned before completing his stint that ran until the end of the 50-over ICC World Cup.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s Test and T20I skipper Shakib Al Hasan remained tightlipped on the return of Hathurusingha as the head coach. No comments,” it’s all right,” he said, without elaborating further.

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Methwan wins marathon encounter

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ITF Junior Circuit Tennis

Methwan Wijemanne overcame Josh Hinton of Great Britain in a marathon three and half hour battle to win the first-round encounter of the ITF Junior Circuit Week 1 Tennis Event at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.

Wijemanne scored 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Hinton.

ITF Junior Circuit Tennis Tournament which is currently underway in Colombo will conclude on February 5.

Meanwhile, in another first-round encounter, Nithila Goonathilake beat Aryan Mehata of India 6-3, 6-0.

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England Lions strongly placed

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Sadeera Samarawickrama with 43 runs was the top scorer for Sri Lanka.

Top-order batsmen Alex Lees, Haseeb Hameed and Tom Haines scored half-centuries for visiting England Lions to reach 249 for three wickets at stumps after they dismissed the hosts for 136 on day one of the unofficial Test at Galle on Tuesday.

Sadeera Samarawickrama with 43 runs was the top scorer for Sri Lanka.

Scores:

Sri Lanka ‘A’

136 all out in 35.4 overs (Oshada Fernando 21, Sadeera Samarawickrama 43, Lakshaitha Manasinghe 26; Matthew Fisher 5/34, Liam Patterson-White 3/51)

England Lions

249 for 3 in 48 overs (Alex Lees 56, Haseeb Hameed 81, Tom Haines 62, Josh Bohannon 26n.o.; Lasith Embuldeniya 2/89)

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