Ricky Ponting has called West Indies’ early exit from the T20 World Cup a “disgrace” after their heavy defeat to Ireland meant the two-time champions lasted just three matches in this tournament.After an opening loss against Scotland in Hobart, West Indies gave themselves a chance with victory over Zimbabwe which left their final group game as a winner-takes-all contest. In the end, they could only muster 146 for 5 which Ireland hunted down for the loss of just one wicket.
The reaction was swift with CWI president Ricky Skerritt blaming the batters and promising that a “thorough post mortem” would be carried out.The build-up to the tournament had included the much-debated omission of Andre Russell from the squad then the axing of Shimron Hetmyer after he missed his flight to Australia.
“It’s a disgrace,” Ponting said at the SCG ahead of the opening Super 12s match between Australia and New Zealand. “It’s so bad for their cricket. They’ve got too much talent in that team and in West Indies cricket not to be able to make it through to the next stage of a World Cup.
“And even one of their main players not making it to the flight to get over here for a World Cup… To me this sort of sums up probably how little these events mean to the West Indies players and if you look at the way that they played you’d say the same thing. [Nicholas] Pooran and these guys, they’re much better players than what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks so no doubt there’ll be some soul-searching done when they get back.
“They’ll be as disappointed as anyone, it’s easy for me to stand here and say that it’s a disgrace that they haven’t made it, but they’ll be hurting as much as anybody. They would have had big thoughts and dreams coming here and they haven’t played anywhere near well enough to even progress. So they have got some work to do.”
West Indies return to Australia next month for a two-Test series with what will be a very different-looking side. Ponting was already concerned about how competitive those matches in Perth and Adelaide may be although he did note West Indies have been more competitive at home. But in Australia, where they last played a Test series in 2015-16, they have not won in the format since 1997.
“I didn’t need to see that to make me more worried about the first couple of Test matches,” Ponting said. “But what’s interesting with that, they’ve actually found a way, mainly at home I guess, in the last few years to be reasonably competitive on the Test front with Brathwaite… and Holder, he’s done a really good job in Test cricket for them.
“But they’re going to have to find a few lengths if they’re going to compete against the Aussies with the current group that the Australians have got. If you just line them up on paper, there’s no way you think that they could compete. Cricket’s a funny game, but they’re going to have to play out of their skins I think to make the first two Tests entertaining.”
Dharmasena reaches singles final
Ranjan Dharmasena booked a berth in the singles final against Korea’s Sung Bong Han as he beat Sagg-Ho OH 6-1, 6-2 in his semi-final in the Sri Lanka Open International Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.
Sung Bong Han of Korea prevented an all-hosts final as he beat Gamini Dissanayake 6-1, 6-2 in the other semi-final.
New champions add spice to tennis singles events
By A Special Sports Correspondent
Tennis star Sharmal Dissanayake (26) made a comeback to the racquet game in Sri Lanka when he won the Men’s Singles event at the First Capital SSC Open Championships worked off in Colombo recently.
The annual SSC Open tournament gave a great start to the tennis scene in the island for the New Year. It was also a new start for champion player Dissanayake after being away from playing on Sri Lankan courts at local tournaments for a while. He overcame stiff resistance from Chaturya Nilaweera in the finals, which went for four sets. Dissanayake won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 and 7-6 in the pulsating final which was scheduled to go for five sets if required. This is the first time five-set tennis was introduced at a local tournament in the island.
Dissanayake has played at peak condition in past tournaments. Fitness was not a cause for Dissanayake at this tournament, but he can reach top playing condition as the months roll away this season. The talk doing the rounds in the tennis circles is that Dissanayake wants to raise his game and fitness and make himself available for the country at overseas assignments too. Meanwhile, Nilaweera, an up-and-coming player with much promise, had to sweat his way into the final with a tough semi-final fixture against Kiran Vairawanathan. It was good to see seasoned players like Guyanga Weerasekare contesting the SSC Open Men’s event. The men’s open tennis event overall in the country has just got the needed boost with the competition that’s raised by so many talented players entering and wanting a share of the pie.
Dissanayake won the Arjun Fernando Challenge Trophy for his efforts at the tournament which was witnessed by an appreciative crowd.
Schoolgirl Sajida Razick made a giant kill in the women’s open singles by beating seasoned player Neyara Weerawansa (6-3, 6-4). Despite taking the first set with her power play Razick saw the experienced Weerawansa breathing down her back in a well-contested second set. Both players made their share of unforced errors, but that didn’t take the punch away from the game Razick looked so confident throughout the game and brilliantly negotiated Weerawansa’s spirited late rally during the second set before winning her first major title in senior tennis. Razick overcame Vishmi Serasinghe in the semis while Weerawansa got the better of Dinara de Silva. Razick won the Sriya Munasinghe Challenge Trophy for her efforts.
Razick has raised her game tremendously and plays some powerful shots and also uses the full court. It would have been interesting to see how she would have fared against Anjalika Kurera had the latter taken part in this tournament. Incidentally, Kurera was not available for the SSC Open this season because she was busy preparing for a vital examination.
The tournament not only attracted its title sponsor in First Capital, but also saw Perera & Sons and Dimo coming in as co-sponsors. It’s one of the most looked forward-to events in the local tennis events calendar; having recorded its start in the 1980s. The SSC Open also serves as a category 1 ranking tournament.
The tournament was organized by the SSC Tennis Home Committee and held under the auspices of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association.
Amameth scores back-to-back centuries
Under 19 Cricket
by Reemus Fernando
Kavindu Amameth scored back-to-back centuries and put on a partnership over 200 runs for the second time in the match as Mahanama College earned major honours against De Mazenod in the Under 19 Traditional cricket encounter which ended in a draw at Kandana on Tuesday.
Amameth followed up his first innings score with an identical knock. In the first essay, he conceded 173 balls for his knock. But in his second he consumed only 101 balls as he cracked 11 fours and seven sixes to boost the score. He also put on a first-wicket stand of 209 runs with Anjala Bandara as Mahanama posted 323 for three wickets at close on a pitch where the home team could muster only 150.
It is also the first time this season that a batsman scored back-to-back centuries in a match.
At Ananda Mawatha, Mahinda College restricted the home team to 159 runs as Dhanuja Induwara picked up five wickets for the visitors to dominate day one of the traditional encounter.
Mahanama take major honours
363 all out in 92.1 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Inuka Karannagoda 75, Rashmika Perera 52, Chamika Heenatigala 24, Eshan Withanage 24; Kavindu Kaushalya 4/97, Thushan Udayanga 3/64, Sithum Fernando 3/71) and 323 for 3 in 54 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Anjala Bandara 84, Koojana Perera 55, Inuka Karannagoda 52n.o.; Thushan Udayanga 2/56)
2 for 1 overnight 150 all out in 49.0 overs (Neshan Dias 65, Shevan Menusha 25, Uvindu Perera 20, Thareen Perera 20; Chamika Heenatigala 4/12, Inuka Karannagoda 2/26, Rashmika Perera 2/29)
Mahinda dominate day one at Ananda Mawatha
159 all out in 53.1 overs (Viduna Wijebandara 27, Iruth Gimshan 25, Ayesh Shahimal 42; Dhanuja Induwara 5/33, Tharusha Dilshan 2/37, Arosha Udayandga 2/18)
142 for 5 in 44 overs (Hareen Achintha 36, Hiruna Gallage 38n.o., Tharusha Dilshan 21n.o.; Ashinsa Deshan Nainayaka 4/40)
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