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Spotlight on Dickwella after Galle defeat

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Niroshan Dickwella has featured in 40 Tests but no hundreds yet.

Rex Clementine in Galle Fort

Sri Lanka will have a couple of days to regroup in Galle ahead of the second Test match on Friday at the same venue and the performances of certain players will come under the spotlight. The hosts lost the opening Test match by seven wickets on the final morning as England enjoy their excellent record in Sri Lanka.

England teams of good old days barely lasted three days in the scorching heat of Galle, but they have reversed the trend in recent times. In a row, England have now won five Tests in Sri Lanka. They have not lost a series here in 14 years.

Sri Lanka’s tactics during the opening game has been under spotlight including their choices of players.

Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella is yet to post a Test match hundred despite featuring in 40 Tests. Since July 2017, Dickwella has been a permanent fixture of the Sri Lankan side and although he averages 30, the team’s decision to back him to bat at number six raised a few eyebrows.

While Dickwella –although he spilled a chance in Galle –has emerged as Sri Lanka’s number one wicketkeeper, his batting has been inconsistent. A former Head Coach of the team once said that he fears getting a heart attack when Dickwella is batting with his fair share of scoops and reverse sweeps.

Number six used to be a prime slot in the Sri Lankan team; once occupied by Hashan Tillakratne and Tilan Samaraweera, two of the nation’s finest Test cricketers. Both could be relied upon when chips were down. If there was a collapse, like it happened in Galle, number six is the man who is supposed to fix the mess grinding it out and stitching crucial partnerships with the tail.

Getting Dickwella to bat at six is like appointing Ravi Karunanayake as Finance Minister.

Dickwella hasn’t got the credentials to be your number six. He’s a batsman with an attacking mindset and that shouldn’t be your choice for a crucial slot like six. Roshen Silva maybe the answer that you are looking for. No one is going to find fault if Dickwella drops down to number seven.

Sri Lanka also should re-examine whether playing all-rounders is the right way forward. The likes of Wanindu Hasaranga and Dasun Shanka could be useful players in white ball cricket but Test match cricket is a different kettle of fish and you need specialists. Sri Lanka badly lacked a few of them in their bowling department.



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Joes stun Richmond, Mahanama sail through

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Under-19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

St. Joseph’s registered a stunning 128 runs win over league stage group champions Richmond and Mahanama beat St. Anthony’s Katugastota by 38 runs as the two teams completed the semi-final line up of the Under-19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament on Tuesday.

Dunith Wellalage top scored with 61 runs for St. Joseph’s before taking two wickets as the Joes ended Richmond’s unbeaten run restricting them to 100 runs. Incidentally, Richmond had recorded five wins in a row during the league stage and were the champions in group ‘Z’. St. Joseph’s were the third placed team in group ‘Y’ having scored three wins in five outings.

Mahanama lived up to their reputation as one of the favourites for the title as they knocked out the team from Kandy. Sampath Nissanka took four wickets to contain St. Anthony’s to 116 runs.

Now Mahanama will meet Royal in the semi-final, while St. Joseph’s take on Trinity.

Meanwhile in a Division II Tier ‘A’ quarter-final match Royal College, Panadura registered a two wickets win over Bandaranaike College, Gampaha.

Results

Division I Tier A

St. Joseph’s beat Richmond at DSS ground

St. Joseph’s

228 for 9 in 50 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 29, Sheran Fonseka 54, Dunith Wellalage 61, Hirun Matheesha 21n.o.; Amshi de Silva 2/46, Kavindu Nirmana 4/39)

Richmond

100 all out in 29.3 overs (Hansamana de Silva 33, Amshi de Silva 25; Deshan Seneviratne 2/22, Shenuka de Silva 3/27, Dunith Wellalage 2/22, Shevon Daniel 2/00)

Mahanama beat St. Anthony’s at Kurunegala

Mahanama

154 all out in 46.4 overs (Savindu Kavinda 22, Sachira Weliwatte 50, Dhanaja Sadalidu 27, Achintha Supun 24; Chamindu Wickramasinghe 2/21, Divyesh Ramaiya 3/19, Tharindu Lamahewage 2/37)

St. Anthony’s

116 all out in 44.4 overs (Anjala Bandara 44; Sampath Nissanka 4/36, Sethum Kenula 2/22, Sadishan Chamodya 2/22)

 

Division II Tier ‘B’

Royal beat Bandaranaike at Asgiriya

Bandaranaike

113 all out in 32.3 overs (S. D. Saranga 21, Rusith Kavishka 27; Himesh Fernando 2/15, Hasantha Warunajith 4/28, Milinda Sanjaya 3/26)

Royal

116 for 8 in 30.3 overs (Jayod Silva 17; Kanishka Malinga 4/29, Kavishka Jayawardena 3/17)

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Green top awaits Cobras  

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Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Head Coach Mickey Arthur take a look at the pitch ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh at Pallekele that gets under way today. Fast bowlers are expected to make merry on a green top never seen before in Sri Lanka.

Rex Clementine at Pallekele

One of the best gifts a dad can give a child is a trip to Leisure World at Avissawella and similarly one of the best things that can happen to a Sri Lankan quick is to get a green top at home. That’s exactly what’s going to happen at Pallekele today.

Not too sure when was the last time on  Sri Lankan soil so much grass had been left on a cricket pitch.  For a few days Pallekele is going to look like Newlands in Cape Town.

The unlucky ones are Dilshan Madusanka and Asitha Fernando who will not get a chance to bowl here.  

The new ball will be shared by Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara with Vishwa Fernando providing variety with his left-arm seam.

A lot will be expected of Suranga Lakmal who was Player of the Series in the West Indies. Kumara will be a handful with his raw pace. But the real deal is Vishwa, whose clever tricks when conditions are helpful are a treat to watch.

Expect Angelo Mathews to do more bowling this series as well. Whether they will have a fifth seamer in Dasun Shanaka or opt for Wanindu Hasaranga at number seven remains to be seen.

With Mathews returning to the side, one of the batters will be left out from the side and whoever who gets the axe must consider himself very unlucky.

There is reason for Sri Lanka to change their strategy to pace based. Bangladesh’s strength is spin and the hosts don’t want to play into their hands. That’s exactly why the series is played in Kandy and not Galle.

Bangladesh will miss Shakib Al Hasan, their main match winner. They are also without their lead pacie – Mustafizur Rahman. Both are in India playing IPL.  

The tourists are under pressure. They lost a home series to West Indies unexpectedly and were whitewashed in New Zealand losing all six white ball games. Their away record also nothing much to boast about having won just one Test match in the last four years – against Sri Lanka in 2017.

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Lisal, Saajida win singles titles

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Clay Courts National Tennis Championship

Number one ranked Lisal Goonetilleke bagged the Under-14 boys’ singles title, Saajida Razick claimed the Under-18 girls’ singles trophy as the Clay Courts National Tennis Championship continued at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.

S. Thomas’ College player Goonetilleke scored a 6-1, 6-4 win against Methvan Wijemanne to win the Under-14 final.

Bishop’s College player Saajida Razick beat Hasali Gajaba 7-5, 6-4 to win the Under-18 girls’ title.

In the Under-14 girls doubles final, Inuki Jayaweera of Musaeus College and Melesha Randini of Ave Maria Convent, Negombo beat Akeesha Silva and Movindi Fernando to win the trophy.

Results:

Under 14 Boys’ Singles Final:

Lisal Goonetilleke beat Methvan Wijemanne 6-1, 6-4.

Under-18 Girls’ Singles Final:

Saajida Razick beat Hasali Gajaba 7-5, 6-4.

Under-14 Girl’s Doubles Final:

Inuki Jayaweera and Melesha Randini beat Akeesha Silva and Movindi Fernando 5-3, 4-2. (RF)

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