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Root, Woakes guide England to easy win



Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga added 99 runs for the fourth wicket.


Joe Root scored unbeaten 79 runs to steer England to an easy five wickets win over Sri Lanka after the visitors collapsed to below par 185 runs in the first ODI at Chester-le-Street on Tuesday.

England reached the target with 14 overs to spare.

Put to bat Sri Lanka collapsed either side of a 99-run partnership between Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga to be bowled out for 185 runs.

They lost their first three wickets for 46 runs, and their last seven for 40.

England were largely disciplined with the ball, Chris Woakes and David Willey extracting early movement to remove the inexperienced men in Sri Lanka’s top order, some of whom were batting out of position. Later, when the one decent partnership was broken, the hosts were sloppy in the field, but it hardly mattered – they were being flung chances every over by an overawed opposition running in a manic fashion, playing low-percentage shots. Sri Lanka were all out in the 43rd over.

With Sri Lanka ranked ninth on the ODI rankings, this was already looking like a mismatch, before they lost six of their players. Bubble-popping trio Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis were already in Sri Lanka before this match began, having been flown back in economy class for their sins. Avishka Fernando and Dhananjaya de Silva, meanwhile, were out through injury, and Oshada Fernando was unavailable due to illness.

This left Sri Lanka with little choice but to field a slew of inexperienced players. Three – allrounders Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya Lakshan, plus left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama – were on ODI debut. Three others – Binura Fernando, Ramesh Mendis and Chamika Karunaratne – had played only one ODI. On top of which Pathum Nissanka was playing his seventh match. In fact, across the XI, Sri Lanka only has 195 caps – 105 of them belonging to captain Perera. Eoin Morgan was playing his 244th game.

Woakes’ new-ball bowling would have troubled even much better opposition, however. He rarely strayed from the channel, finding movement both in the air and off the surface, and nicked off Nissanka in the fifth over. Four overs later he bowled the delivery of the innings when he angled a ball in from over the wicket, then moved it away off the seam to take the edge of Dasun Shanaka. At the other end, Willey had had debutant Asalanka caught at slip for a duck.

While Perera and Hasaranga were at the crease, however, there was mild hope that Sri Lanka might muster a somewhat creditable total. Hasaranga in particular had been tested by the quick bowlers, but gritted his way through that period, until he felt confident enough to attack the legspin of Adil Rashid, which he slogged for four fours and a six, most of those boundaries coming in the arc between midwicket and cover.

Perera was easily the most competent batsman on show, cutting and driving the seam bowlers confidently, and rotating the strike well, to get to his fifty off 46 balls in the 20th over. Had Hasaranga hung around, instead of being bounced out by Woakes for 54 off 61, Perera might have pushed methodically towards a hundred. Instead, he holed out to deep square leg four overs after Hasaranga departed.

The collapse that followed was part comedy, part horror – Karunaratne in particular failing to respond to his partners, to get himself into awful situations. England’s inability to capitalise on these chances allowed him to survive briefly, but wickets continued to fall to the seamers, and two run outs closed out the innings.

Woakes was the best of England’s bowlers and took 4 for 18 from his 10. Willey took 3 for 44 in his 50th ODI. Moeen Ali was the only other bowler among the wickets, claiming the lbw of Mendis.


Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka 185 in 42.3 overs (Kusal Perera 73, Wanindu Hasaranga 54, Chamika Karunaratne 19; Chris Woakes 4/18, David Willey 3/44)

England 189 for 5 in 34.5 overs (Jonny Bairstow 43, Joe Root 79n.o., Moeen Ali 28; Dushmantha Chameera 3/50)




Selection impasse continues 



by Rex Clementine  

Sri Lanka Cricket and Ministry of Sports are at daggers drawn and virtually naming of new selectors has become impossible after SLC submitted the same set of names to be reappointed. SLC wants a fresh term for Pramodaya Wickramasinghe under whose tenure the team won the Asia Cup. The Sports Ministry meanwhile wants Wicky gone. Among other things, they aren’t happy that he retained Danushka Gunatilleke on tour after he was injured during the World Cup. The top order batsman brought international shame to the country after his arrest in Sydney. He was charged with sexual assault.   In order to break the deadlock, the Sports Ministry now  wants to issue a gazette and call for interested former players to apply. The age old practice has been for SLC to advertise for the post and among the applicants, ten names are handpicked and sent to the Sports Ministry, which then chooses five out of those ten names and appoint them as selectors. But it’s all going to change now. The board will no longer have a say on selections. The selectors are answerable to the Ministry of Sports. But the board will pay their salaries. This is not an ideal situation and let’s hope it’s just a one off. SLC should have known better and instead of going on a collision course should have negotiated for a better deal.

Getting selectors to apply is never the ideal thing. Greg Chappell was a selector of Australia for a long period of time and if someone had asked him to apply he would have given that person a piece of his mind. Chappell’s role was a unique one from rest of the panel. He was responsible to alert the selectors on the next biggest talent in the country having scrutinized a player.

Similarly a Sidath Wettimuny, an Aravinda de Silva or  a Marvan Atapattu aren’t going to apply for the post of selector. They’ll come and serve if protocols are followed and obviously they would want a free hand. That’s the best way forward too. Surely you don’t want your best brains left behind simply because they didn’t apply for a post. What’s it with Wicky that he wants to hold onto this post so much. He needs to learn to let go. He’s anyway known as someone who’ll not take a backward step but what about little Kalu? Now that’s a man who is very conscious about his  reputation. If the system doesn’t want you, then there’s no point in hanging around. Take a break and make a comeback when there’s an opportunity. The present selectors maybe feeling that they have done a good job and need a fresh term. Well it doesn’t always happen that way.

Duleep Mendis is a case in point. Through meticulous planning, he had helped the national team for a maiden Test win in South Africa in 2011. The whole county was excited at what the team had achieved. Yet, two weeks later he was sacked along with captain T.M. Dilshsn and Head Coach Geoff Marsh.

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Bangladesh selectors okay if Hathurusingha is included in selection panel



There’s been a buzz after BCB president Nazmul Hasan announced that newly-appointed coach Hathurusingha will have a say in selection, although a decision on whether he will be officially included in the selection panel like in the past is yet to be made.

“Whether Hathurusingha will be included in the selection panel will be decided by the board. There are two selections: preliminary (squad) and final selection (playing XI),” said Nazmul Hasan, BCB President. “The final selection is always made by the captain and coach, and the captain decides whereas the coach gives suggestions but basically it is the captain.”

Many feel that if Hathurusingha is included in the selection panel, that will take away power from the selectors. However, BCB’s chief selector Minhajul Abedin and his long time associate in the selection panel Habibul Bashar disagree with it.

“I am not sure whether he will be included in the selection panel or not but I don’t think it will be a problem and we didn’t have any problems last time too,” Minhajul told Cricbuzz on Thursday, adding that he is in regular touch with the Sri Lankan to keep him updated.

Habibul told Cricbuzz that he has seen Hathurusingha working from close quarters and feels that there are lots of misconceptions floating in the air about him.

“It is not true that he had given us a paper” said Habibul. “We always discussed about our team with the head coach and always take his suggestion whether he is a part of selection panel or not. And it was the same with him as well.

“I don’t think he is any kind of strict headmaster. Instead what I feel is that he always looked at the cricketers equally.”

Khaled Mahmud, current team director and a close ally of Hathurusingha, feels that Hathurusingha is now much more matured than before.

“He has worked in Bangladesh before. There were a lot of good performances during his time. He is more mature now, which is good for the team. I think it is a positive thing that he is coming for a second time. He understands us well, as he is also from the subcontinent.” said Mahmud, who had worked as team manager during Hathurusingha’s first stint

Hathurusingha spent three years from 2014 to 2017 before leaving abruptly for the Sri Lanka role. He is expected to arrive by January 20 and his first assignment will be against England at home.


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SportUnleash Schools Sports Awards 2022



Fifteen outstanding school sports persons were felicitated at the inaugural SportUnleash School Sports Awards 2022 held at the BMICH recently.Minister of Education Susil Premajayanth was the chief guest at the awards ceremony while MP Eran Wickramaratne was the guest of honor.

The award winners for 2022


Track events-Nadun Kaveesha Bandara of Royal College, Colombo,

Field events –

Ashmika Keshan Korala of Yoshida International School, Sapugaskanda,

BADMINTON: Viren Nettasinghe of St Peter’s College,

BASKETBALL:GG Minoli Mariya Direkze of HFC Bambalapitiya,

BOXING: Pasindu Umayanga Mihiran, Nalanda College,

CHESS: LM Susal T de Silva, Nalanda College,

CRICKET: Dunith Wellalage, St Joseph’s College,

KARATE: CA Tharuki Sashindi, Sapugaskanda Visaka Vidyalaya,


Hiruni Heshani, HFC Kurunegala,

ROWING: Shaylon Shayan Gunaratna, Asian International School,

RUGBY: Dinupa Seneviratna, DS Senanayake College,

SWIMMING:Ganga Seneviratne, Visaka Vidyalaya,

TENNIS:Dinara de Silva, St Bridget’s Convent,

VOLLEYBALL:Kavishka Madushanka, Rajasinghe Central College, Ruwanwella,

WRESTLING: Nethmi Ahinsa Fernando, Welpalla Sangharathana Maha Vidyalaya, Giriulla,

COACH OF THE YEAR: TS Suranga Kumara,

SPORTING SCHOOL –Nalanda College.

The Jury Medals for Sports Excellence, were awarded to Danindu Chirath Sellepperuma of Ananda College and Vishmi Gunaratne of Rathnawali Balika Vidyalaya, Gampaha for their noteworthy performance in cricket and to Tharushi Karunarathne of A. Ratnayake MMV, Walala in Athletics.

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