Rex Clementine at Galle Fort
It’s not Brian Charles Lara class yet, but Joe Root has put up a splendid display on how to play spin bowling here in Galle in the second Test match against Sri Lanka. The former West Indian captain on a tour of Sri Lanka in 2001 had posted 688 runs in six innings and 20 years later, Root now has 415 runs after three innings.
The England captain missed out on a second double ton by 14 runs as he was run out in the last over before stumps on day three. Root had scored a match winning double hundred in the first Test here last week and he was rarely troubled during his marathon that lasted for eight and half hours and with the bowlers running out of ideas, the only possible way he could get out was via a run out.
Root attempted a flick to mid-wicket but the ball was collected on the bounce by Oshada Fernando who threw it back to the stumps and despite the diving effort by a tiring Root he was short of his crease. Root faced 309 deliveries for his 186 and hit 18 fours.
Root’s game plan was simple and yet he had to execute it and did it to perfection. For fuller length balls, Root would go on the back foot and defend and then when spinners bowled it short, he would play the sweep shot. Sri Lanka at times had three fielders on the boundary for the sweep, but he still managed to find the gap.
Lasith Embuldeniya picked up seven for 132, his career best figures, but his efforts were overshadowed by those of Root, who was never troubled during his knock.
The Yorkshireman brought up his 19th century in the morning having resumed on 67. He was involved in a 97 run stand for the fifth wicket with vice-captain Jos Buttler (55) and when debutant Ramesh Mendis broke the stand claiming his maiden wicket, Sri Lanka were looking to control proceedings with England still 152 runs behind.
But an 81 run stand followed between Root and Dominic Bess (32) for the seventh wicket as England regained the initiative. The pendulum, however, would swing back one last time in Sri Lanka’s favour on day three.
From 333 for six, England lost three quick wickets for six runs to slump to 339 for nine to trial by 42 runs.
Sri Lanka would be looking to knock off last man James Anderson early and if they are able to post 150 more runs in the second innings, they could square the series, with the wicket expected to deteriorate further in the last two days.
Veteran Dilruwan Perera needs to pull up his socks after he failed to pick up a wicket despite sending down 31.2 overs in the innings.
Open semis today, semi-finalists found in U12 category
SSC Open Ranking Tennis
The men’s and women’s open singles semi-finals of the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament will be played today with fifteen-year-old Dinethya Dharmarathne seeking a final berth against fancied counterparts.
Dharmarathne, who is also competing in the Under-16 age category singles, will encounter Janali Manamperi in the top semi-final of the women’s open singles. The other match will be between Savini Jayasuriya and Tania Doloswala.
Sankha Atukorale, who is the top seed in the men’s singles, will meet the Vibuda Wijebandara in the top semi final. Kiran Vairavanathan will take on Luca Knese, the champion of the recently held 105th Colombo Championships.
Meanwhile, the semi-finalists were found in the Under-12 girls’ singles, the lowest age category event, of the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament as two girls from Negombo schools and two girls from Musaeus College won their respective quarter-finals on Friday.
Movindi Fernando from Newstead College, Negombo, Githmi Fernand1o of Ave Maria and Musaeus College players Sandithi Usgodaarachchi and Gehansa Methnadi booked their spots to fight for a place in the final
More crisis as SLC forced to name new captain
Sri Lanka’s T-20 skipper Dasun Shanaka could miss the T-20 series in the Caribbean.
By Rex Clementine
Less than a month after Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) severely censured officials of Sri Lanka Cricket for inefficiency and lack of transparency, the sport’s governing body has been exposed once again after the captain they named for the upcoming series in the Caribbean has been left stranded in Colombo unable to get a visa to fly to West Indies.
Dasun Shanaka was named as the captain for the three match series in the Caribbean and there was indication that he might hold onto the job at least till this year’s World Cup in India.
The team, however, travelled to the Caribbean on Tuesday without the captain. Sri Lanka team arrived in Antigua on Thursday after transits in Qatar and New York but the man who is supposed to lead them is still in Negombo.
The laws in Antigua, the home for Sir Viv Richards and Sir Curtly Ambrose is that tourists need to be in isolation for 72 hours before being allowed to train and the Sri Lankan team’s quarantine period ends tomorrow.
The first T-20 International begins on Wednesday (3rd March) and even if Shanaka leaves Colombo today, he is unlikely to meet quarantine regulations in time ahead of the game. Sources said that Shanaka could end up missing the entire T-20 series if he is unable to fly by Monday.
The latest development comes as another blow for SLC who were involved in a bitter public spat with former great Chaminda Vaas hours before the team departed for the Caribbean. Vaas was a last minute replacement for Australian David Saker as Bowling Coach and requested for a raise of his daily allowance. SLC would have ended up only paying US$ 5000 but took the fight onto Vaas and stopped short of calling him a traitor in a media release that went viral.
As for Shanaka, why only his visa had been delayed is because the all-rounder had been issued a previous US visa but he had lost that passport. The US embassy in Colombo is investigating whether anyone had misused the visa on the stolen passport.
Sources said given the issues that Shanaka would face in obtaining a US visa, the practical thing to do would have been to fly Shanaka to London and let him catch a flight to the Caribbean after he was unable to fly with the rest of the team. Gatwick airport in London flies to all Caribbean islands from Antigua to St. Vincent’s.
When contacted by The Island, a senior official of SLC said that there was a delay in Shanaka submitting his passport to the US embassy as he was made to quarantine after attending the wedding of cricketer Sadeera Samarawickrama.
However, another source said that the selectors had submitted the names of 35 probables for the Caribbean as early as 20th January. The practice is to get visas for all 35 but for some reason, SLC had severely delayed the process.
The selectors will consult Head Coach Mickey Arthur before naming a new captain. Sources said that the choice is between two players who had captained the team before.
Dinethya shocks seniors to book semi-final place
by Reemus Fernando
Fifteen-year-old Dinethya Dharmarathne turned tables on Oneli Perera and Vonara de Alwis to secure a place in the women’s singles semi-finals of the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Thursday.
The Visakha Vidyalaya player beat Vonara de Alwis 7-5, 6-3 in the quarter-final yesterday after turning tables on Oneli Perera, the Under-18 champion of the recently concluded Colombo Championships.
In the third round, Dharmarathne overcame a first set defeat to beat Perera 3-6, 6-0, 10-4. The semi-final place is the highest achievement by the emerging player so far. Incidentally, it was Perera who eliminated Dharmarathne in the quarter-finals of the Colombo Championships.
Dharmarathne is the youngest in the semi-final line up now.
She is set to meet number one seed Janali Manamperi who beat Sethmi Sumanaweera 6-1, 6-0 in her match. The other semi-final will be between Savini Jayasuriya and Tania Doloswala who recorded victories in their matches.
In the men’s singles, Luca Knese, Sankha Atukorale, Vibuda Wijebandara and Kiran Vairavanathan completed the semi-final line up.
Atukorale is the number one seed of this Championship, which will conclude on March 7. While Knese beat number four seed Thehan Wijemanne, Wijebandara eliminated number three seed Savit Weerasinghe.
Men’s Singles Quarter-finals
Luca Knese beat Thehan Wijemanne 6-2, 6-4
Sankha Atukorale beat Dumindu Dilum 6-2, 6-0
Vibuda Wijebandara beat Savit Weerasinghe 6-4, 6-2,
Kiran Vairavanathan beat Gayanath Senadeera 7-6, 6-2
Women’s Singles Quarter-finals
Janali Manamperi beat Sethmi Sumanaweera 6-1, 6
Dinethya Dharmaratne beat Vonara de Alwis 7-5, 6-3
Savini Jayasuriya beat Dewmini Warnasuriya 6-0, 6-1
Tania Doloswala beat Nelini Jayasuriya 6-4, 6-3
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