By Rex Clementine
Yorkshire, a stronghold of English cricket, is known for its mean fast bowlers and larger than life batsmen. Legend has it that during a tricky run chase in Christchurch in 1978, Ian Botham deliberately ran out captain Geoff Boycott as he was batting too slow. Boycott is the finest batsman produced by Yorkshire.
Yorkshire’s legendary fast bowler Fred Trueman was someone who didn’t mince his words. When Raman Subba Row misfielded and the ball went for four, he went up to Trueman and apologized, ‘Sorry, Fred. I should have kept my legs together.’ Trueman replied, ‘Not you son, your mother!’
Once Rev. David Sheppard dropped a catch off Fred’s bowling. Trueman shouted. “Hey Reverend, you might keep your eyes shut when you’re praying, but I wish you’d keep ’em open when I’m bowling.’
Chris Silverwood, Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Head Coach is a former fast bowler from Yorkshire. What can you expect from him? Is he the one to tell off Niroshan Dickwella for trying to reverse sweep the first ball he faces or put Danushka Gunathilaka in his place for his off field excesses? Not quite. Silverwood is a gentleman to the fingertips and a gentle soul. With a strong captain, his kind of coaching style will work. But when both the coach and captain are too sweet men that could create a few issues.
Essentially, Silverwood is a people’s person and works hard at giving his players the best support they need. You will find him extremely friendly and caring. He is not confrontational so that might not work in a dressing room that has Dickwella, Mendis, Gunathilaka and the rest. That is why a coach similar to the approach of Tom Moody or Dav Whatmore would have helped with the current team.
Moody during his stint with Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2007 knew only two ways; my way or the highway. Many were the players who were thrown out of the system during his stint. As for Whatmore, he rarely completed a sentence without using the four letter word beginning with ‘F’.
Silverwood being a fast bowler can be of immense help for the up and coming quicks in Sri Lanka. He has just finished a stint with England and after a disastrous Ashes campaign down under; he may have learned a few things. So we may be wrong to judge a book by its cover. But, they also say that old habits die hard.
Silverwood was not Sri Lanka’s first choice. The think tank initially wanted Graham Ford or Paul Farbrace. Ford turned down a third stint as this wasn’t the appropriate time for him to return due to personal reasons. Farbrace got cold feet after agreeing to come over. Wonder why?
It maybe a case of where the Head Coach being a figurehead and all shots are called by MJ. All important coaching positions at SLC from Batting Coach of the national team to Head Coach of the Under-19 side have been filled by MJ loyalists. It seems that he will keep calling the shots behind the scenes and if things go out of hand then the head of Silverwood would go. A strong personality like Farbrace may have had reservations about such a role but Silverwood seems to be happy to play second fiddle.
Mushfiqur, batters and late Taijul show give Bangladesh tiny advantage
If day three of the first Test in Chattogram belonged to Tamim Iqbal, the fourth day was all about Mushfiqur Rahim. Not only did he become the first Bangladesh batter to reach 5000 runs in Test cricket, his eighth century in the format also made sure Bangladesh stayed ahead in Chattogram at the end of day four.
Mushfiqur’s 105, to go with Tamim Iqbal’s 133, and half-centuries from Litton Das and Mahmudul Hasan Joy helped Bangladesh end their first innings on 465 , and secure a lead of 68 runs in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings score of 397.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Oshada Fernando then started their second innings steadily before the latter was run out needlessly for 19. Lasith Embuldeniya, the nightwatchman, had a few nervy moments but did his job before being bowled off the final ball of the day by Taijul Islam. At stumps, Sri Lanka had reached 39 for 2, still trailing Bangladesh by 29 runs. Karunaratne was unbeaten on 18, and will be joined by Kusal Mendis, in all likelihood, tomorrow morning.
The start of the day’s play was delayed by 30 minutes because of rain but once play resumed, it did not take long for Mushfiqur to reach the 5000-run mark. He began the day just 15 runs away from the landmark and breached the milestone with a deflection off his gloves down to fine leg shortly after the first drinks break. Adopting a cautious approach, Mushfiqur surged ahead and soon reached his century after lunch, his first in Test cricket in more than a year.
Bangladesh resumed their day on 318 for 3, with Litton and Mushfiqur picking up from where they had left on the third evening. Both batters were cautious but made sure no wickets were lost as Bangladesh reached 385 for 3 at lunch. The Sri Lankan bowlers, much like the third evening, lacked the bite and could not get much out of the surface.
However, the visitors came back well in the second session. Rajitha struck straight after lunch, first removing Litton before uprooting Tamim’s middle stump the very next ball. Litton, in particular, would be kicking himself for missing a third Test hundred after edging an innocuous short and wide first ball after lunch to the wicketkeeper. The ball to Tamim, though, was a good one. Coming back to bat after retiring hurt at tea on the third day, Tamim went for the expansive drive to a fuller delivery. However, Rajitha, bowling from around the wicket, got the ball to angle in and it crept between Tamim’s bat and pad to hit the middle stump.
Shakib, having survived a close chance at short leg, was rattled by a bouncer barrage from Asitha Fernando. He was hit by the pacer on the helmet, and soon after was dismissed going for the pull shot for 26.
Mushfiqur, meanwhile, held his own at the other end even as things started heating up in the middle. There were a few glares and words exchanged with Asitha, but the batter remained firm. He reached his century with a faint tickle off Asitha down the leg side and celebrated wildly.
Mushfiqur’s 282-ball vigil finally ended after tea, when looking to play the sweep against Embuldeniya, he missed the line and found his stumps in a mess. Taijul Islam and Shoriful frustrated the Sri Lankans with a 26-run stand before Asitha sent Taijul back. Bangladesh innings ended on 465 after Shoriful, struck on the hand by a bouncer, retired out.
Sri Lanka toiled away and bowled well in patches, particularly in the middle session on both the third and fourth days. However, a couple of wicketless sessions cost them. Rajitha, who was not even part of the playing XI and came in as a concussion sub for Vishwa Fernando, was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 4 for 60.
Sri Lanka started their second innings well with both Karunratne and Oshada looking comfortable. However, a direct hit at the bowler’s end from Taijul sent Oshada packing. Karunaratne also had an escape when he mistimed a drive back to Nayeem Hasan, but replays showed the ball had just fallen short of the bowler.
Embuldeniya gave Karunaratne good support, but the surface started to show tricks late in the day with the odd-ball staying low. How Sri Lanka survive the final day remains to be seen.
Tamim century puts Bangladesh in control over Sri Lanka
Opener Tamim Iqbal hit his tenth Test century to help Bangladesh take control on day three of the first Test against Sri Lanka, reaching 318-3 on Tuesday.
Tamim made 133 off 217 balls before being retired hurt due to a muscle cramp. Then, Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das put on a 98-run unbroken stand to keep Bangladesh in a commanding position.
Liton was batting on 54 with Mushfiqur on 53 at stumps as Bangladesh cut the first innings deficit to 79 runs.
Sri Lanka were bowled out for 397 in the first innings, with Angelo Mathews scoring 199.
Tamim, who recorded 15 fours, aggressively went after the Sri Lankan bowlers after Bangladesh resumed on 76-0, hitting Vishwa Fernando for consecutive boundaries in the first two balls he faced.
Fernando, who was hit on the helmet during Sri Lanka’s innings, went for a medical checkup after bowling four overs in the morning.
He was later ruled out of the match and Kasun Rajitha replaced him as a concussion sub.
Tamim raised his 32nd Test half-century off just 73 balls, cutting off-spinner Ramesh Mendis for a boundary past point.
Mahmudul was restrained but never hesitated to punish the loose deliveries.
He reached his half-century from 112 deliveries, flicking paceman Asitha Fernando through mid-wicket. Mahmudul was on 51 when he got a reprieve in Asitha Fernando’s next over, with Lasith Embuldeniya dropping a catch at fine-leg.
But Mahmudul (58) couldn’t survive long, hitting a delivery of Asitha that went down the leg-side to give the visitors their first breakthrough.
Tamim, however, continued in attack mode and brought up a century off 162 balls, flicking Asitha for a single through mid-wicket.
Rajitha then troubled Bangladesh for a brief period and got the reward, dismissing Najmul Hossain (1) and captain Mominul Haque (2), leaving Bangladesh at 184 for three.
Mominul has produced five straight single-digit figures and 10 in the last 13 innings.
Tamim and Mushfiqur Rahim helped Bangladesh regain control despite losing three wickets for 22 runs.
But Sri Lanka could have removed Tamim for 114 had Dhananajaya de Silva not dropped him at slip after Tamim went for an expensive drive.
Tamim retired hurt on 133 after suffering from a muscle cramp but Liton and Mushfiqur kept the side going, frustrating the Sri Lanka bowlers further.
Liton in fact played the role of Tamim, going after the visiting bowlers in an aggressive fashion while Mushfiqur was largely watchful.
The contrasting batting approach served the team well and put Bangladesh in a strong position.
Wasim remembered at Galle Face protest site
Yesterday marked the tenth death anniversary of former S. Thomas’ College, Havelock and Sri Lanka rugby star Wasim Thajudeen. Wasim was 28-years-old when his body was found burnt in his vehicle in Narahenpita in 2012. Although his death was initially called an accident, investigations conducted later in 2015 found that he had been in fact murdered. Police claimed that earlier investigations were shelved due to political pressure.
A vigil service was conducted in memory of Wasim at the protest site at the Galle Face Green by the rugby fraternity yesterday.
Wasim’s friends at S. Thomas’ College addressed a large gathering at the presence of his parents and other family members.
Wasim, a former vice-captain of S. Thomas’ College went onto captain Havelock Sports Club and in 2009 become the nation’s Most Popular Rugby player.
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