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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)




Nobody owning up to Sri Lanka’s World Cup disaster



Dasun Shanaka’s ODI captaincy has become untenable

by Rex Clementine

Following the national cricket team’s shambolic performance in the ODI series in New Zealand there was confirmation that Sri Lanka will not qualify automatically for this year’s World Cup. They will have to play a qualifying tournament in June this year involving West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Netherlands and other teams in the lower ranks and only two teams go through for the World Cup in India this October. Sri Lanka having never missed out on an ICC event in the past will be under tremendous pressure to maintain the status quo.

Nobody is willing to accept responsibility for the debacle. None have stepped down. The coaches are passing the buck onto the selectors while the selectors are blaming poor domestic cricket standards and the finger pointing goes on.

Those holding responsible positions in cricket have overtaken King Kekille, who according to folk stories, always punished the innocent and spared the wrongdoers whenever he heard cases. He once had a goldsmith punished for a structural fault in a newly-built wall around his palace. On being questioned by the king, the bricklayer concerned said he had been distracted by an attractive woman who had been going past the work site several times a day. The woman, summoned to the royal court, said she had been compelled to make many trips to the goldsmith, who had delayed the delivery of her order. So, the king decided to punish the goldworker. Those holding key positions in cricket must be King Kekille’s descendants.

There are seven coaches at SLC drawing an annual salary of more than 100,000 US$ each. You expected better results from such a highly paid unit. As for the selectors, they have been in office for more than two years now and their flawed policies have made Sri Lankan cricket the laughing stock.

This after all is not New Zealand’s best side. The hosts had lost the cream of their players to IPL and Sri Lanka were favourites to win the series. Yet, seamers who were bowling at 120 to 130 kmph were running through the batting line-up. It was a weak bowling attack and the batting unit failed miserably. Thank god the likes of Kusal Mendis never played against the class of Wasim Akram. He picked up consecutive ducks in the two ODIs and he is our vice-captain. The selectors are quite keen that the captaincy will remain at SSC in case they have to axe Dasun.

The least said about the captain the better. He reviews a catch to first slip in one innings and then runs out the man in form – Pathum Nissanka – in the next innings and throws away his wicket when he needs to lead from the front. Dasun Shanaka’s ODI captaincy is untenable. He has failed to lead by example, averages 26 with the bat and doesn’t bowl enough and has no place in the ODI side.

After a humiliating performance in the first ODI, it’s funny how the selectors backed the same batting unit while someone like Sadeera Samarawickrama, who has been a prolific run scorer in domestic cricket, was warming the bench.The selectors approach to ODI cricket has been flawed. One major reason why the team is not occupying 50 overs, something paramount to compete in limited overs cricket, is that there’s no batter who is equipped to play the anchor role.

Successful Sri Lankan teams used to do that with the likes of Asanka Gurusinha and then Marvan Atapattu stepped up to that role. After their departure, Kumar Sangakkara did a splendid job at three but the current team hasn’t got a batter who is capable of batting through the innings. Most batters are happy to get a flashy 20 and then throw away their wicket.

There needs to be a complete overhaul of the way Sri Lanka play ODI cricket. For a nation that set the trends and were innovative in the 50 overs format, we have failed to move on with the times. Sri Lankan cricket has paid a heavy price for selectors’ flawed policies.

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Hazlewood set to miss initial stages of IPL 2023



Josh Hazlewood picked up 20 wickets in 12 matches last IPL

Royal Challengers Bangalore fast bowler Josh Hazlewood is set to miss the initial stages of the IPL beginning in Ahmedabad on Friday.According to, Hazlewood will remain in Sydney having been sent back home after missing Australia’s four-match Test series in India, and will consult with Cricket Australia’s medical staff before joining the IPL. The report also added that he ‘remains hopeful’ of turning out for Royal Challengers later in the tournament.

Hazlewood was sent back from the Test tour of India due to Achilles tendonitis that had plagued him for two months, which came after he damaged his side in the first Test of Australia’s home summer in early December 2022 and missed the next three Test matches. He subsequently missed the ODIs against India as well. He last played for Australia in the third Test against South Africa in January. His fitness will be monitored closely given Australia have the World Test Championship final and the Ashes coming up immediately after the IPL ends on May 28.

Hazlewood, who was picked up by Royal Challengers at the 2022 mega auction for INR 7.75 crore, took 20 wickets in the 12 matches he played last season, finishing as the side’s second-highest wicket-taker.

Royal Challengers have suffered a spate of injuries even before the season has begun. Earlier, England batter Will Jacks has been ruled out of the season, with New Zealand allrounder Michael Bracewell named his replacement. Rajat Patidar, who was the team’s breakout star last season, is set to miss at least the first half of the season with a heel injury.Royal Challengers open their campaign against Mumbai Indians on April 2 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.


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Argentina bids to host U20 World Cup in place of Indonesia



FIFA President Gianni Infantino looks on during a meeting ahead of the opening of the 76th CONMEBOL Ordinary Congress on Thursday

Argentina has submitted a formal bid to host this year’s Under-20 World Cup in place of Indonesia, which was stripped of its rights to stage the tournament, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday.Argentina was the only country to submit a formal offer. The FIFA Bureau will decide whether to accept the proposal in two or three days with the tournament scheduled to start on May 20.

“We all know Argentine football and surely it can host a competition of this level,” Infantino told a news conference in Paraguay, where he was to take part in the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) Congress on Friday.

“There are other countries that have also announced interest but as a candidacy, with the government’s guarantees and other details, Argentina is the first and we will make the decision in two or three days,” he added.

FIFA stopped Indonesia from hosting the event after the country’s soccer federation (PSSI) said it had cancelled the draw because the governor of the island of Bali refused to host the Israel team.

“Israel is in favour of Argentina hosting, they deserve it as world champions. It is a very nice and big country, with excellent facilities. I hope they can also organize the 2030 World Cup,” Israel’s Ambassador to Argentina, Eyal Sela, said.

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