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Sri Lanka look to maintain unbeaten run against West Indies

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Rex Clementine in Galle

West Indies never played bilateral cricket against Sri Lanka when they were a strong force in the world. They eventually did in 1993 after then Board Secretary S. Skandakumar appealed for regular fixtures. Since then, they have made several visits to the island and have played 11 Test matches, but never won one. Of the 11 Tests played in Sri Lanka between the teams, seven have been won by the hosts and four have been drawn. Can Sri Lanka maintain that unbeaten run when the two match series gets underway today at the Galle International Stadium?

West Indies have done fairly well in Test cricket this year. They won a series in Bangladesh and drew against Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home. The confidence of the West Indies side is pretty good after they blanked Bangladesh 2-0 in similar conditions.

Jermaine Blackwood, West Indies vice-captain and one of their senior players with 41 Tests to his credit echoed similar sentiments.

“We came here to win. Our guys are hungry and you can see that in their eyes. I was here in 2016 when we lost both Tests. It didn’t feel good. We are a decent team and we are ready to break the shackles and win games this time around,” Blackwood said.

This is Sri Lanka’s first series in the World Test Championship. Each Test match carries 12 points and if Sri Lanka win both games they will secure 24 points.

Head Coach Mickey Arthur welcomed the seniors who have been recalled to the side after being axed from the one-day outfits.

“They are very crucial in our Test team. If you take our captain Dimuth Karunaratne, his last knock in Test cricket was a double hundred. Angelo is one of the great players in the game. Suranga Lakmal is so crucial for us with the new ball and he is a wonderful player. It’s great to have them back and their experience is going to be vital,” Arthur said.

This is Arthur’s last assignment with Sri Lanka. His contract ends in December and with SLC not keen to renew his contract, he took up an offer with English county Derbyshire. “I am happy I am leaving the team in a far better place than I found it. I see our players getting better and exciting times are ahead. Looking at the larger picture, it is so important that we win both Test matches as this is the start of new cycle in the World Test Championship,” Arthur added.

Former Sri Lanka Under-19 captain Charith Asalanka after an impressive T-20 World Cup is tipped to make his Test debut at his hometown.

Teams:

West Indies (From)

Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Jeremy Solozano and Jomel Warrican.

Sri Lanka (From)

Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Kamil Mishara, Minod Bhanuka, Roshen Silva, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan, Suminda Lakshan, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando and Chamika Gunasekara.

Umpires:

Kumar Dharmasena and Ruchira Palliyaguruge

Third Umpire:

Raveendra Wimalasiri

Match Referee:

Ranjan Madugalle



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Sri Lanka collapse and play catch up in Galle

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Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul making a return to Test cricket after five years finished with career best figures of five for 35 as Sri Lanka collapsed from 113 for one to 204 all out in Galle yesterday. Image courtesy: SLC.

Rex Clementine in Galle

A sensational collapse on day two of the second Test saw Sri Lanka play catch up against West Indies here in Galle yesterday. Resuming from the overnight total f 113 for one, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 204, losing six wickets for 35 runs at one stage. West Indies in reply were 69 for one, trailing by 135 runs, when rain stopped play before tea and there was no resumption.

After the openers had added 106 runs on day one, Sri Lanka were in a position to dictate terms to the West Indies. However, they gave the tourists a sniff and now are playing catch up.

There’s been always a concern as to how Sri Lanka will fare against spin when skipper Dimuth Karunaratne doesn’t fire. Most Sri Lankan batsmen seem to rely on the sweep to score off spinners but that could backfire as well. Dimuth has a variety of strokes when tacking spin like the drive, cut, pull and dancing down the track and playing those lofted shots.

Maybe had Dimuth been around for the England series in January, there wouldn’t have been those bitter defeats and a five wicket haul for the little heard Dom Boss. Apparently, he lost his place in Somerset as well.

Dimuth’s dismissal on day one was massive for the West Indies and they kept picking wickets at regular intervals on day two although Pathum Nissanka played well for his 73.

Veerasammy Permaul (not Perumal) had a dream comeback. The left-arm orthodox spinner had last played a Test match six years ago ended with a maiden five wicket haul and career best figures. Fellow left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican claimed four for 50 as all nine Sri Lankan wickets to fall on day two went for left-arm spinners. Roston Chase’s off-spin got rid of captain Dimuth and it was only the fourth instance in West Indies cricket that the spinners had accounted for all ten wickets.

The first two occasions it happened was when ‘those two little pals of mine’ Alf Valentine and Sonny Ramadhin were around in 1950s. The third occasion was early this year in Bangladesh. We all know what happened in between as West Indies dominated world cricket often using five quicks to devastating advantage. Nowadays, they are just down to two quicks. How times have changed.

Not that the Sri Lankan innings was without any spark. Charith Asalanka produced that. Veerasammy had dismissed Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva in one over and in walked the debutant and he opened his account in Test cricket with a reverse sweep and even Veerasammy had wry smile on his face.

Angelo Mathews retired with a hamstring injury but came back when the eighth wicket fell. He was struggling to run between the wickets and was dealing with boundaries. He brought up Sri Lanka’s 200 with consecutive sixes off Warrican and was last man out for 29.

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Anjalika wins third singles title at Colombo Championships

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Anjalika Kurera won the women’s singles title of the 106th Colombo Championships on Tuesday.(Pic by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

Anjalika Kurera regained the women’s singles title of the Colombo Championships tennis event with a 6-4, 6-0 win in the finals played at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.

The Ave Maria Convent, Negombo player beat third seed Neyara Weerawansa to regain the title.

It was her second singles title at the 106th Colombo Championships following the victory in the Under 18 girls’ final a week ago.

In the Under 18 girls’ event Kurera met Weerawansa in the quarter-finals where she scored a 4-1, 4-1 win.

In the women’s singles quarter-finals, Kurera beat Hasali Gajaba 4-1, 4-1, before ousting Tuvini De Alwis 6-1, 6-1 in the semis.

Kurera was the winner of the women’s singles events in 2018 and 2019 before skipping the 2020 edition.

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Sri Lanka Athletics changes dates of youth selection trial  

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Madushani Herath competes at the recently held trials.  (Pic by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

Sri Lanka Athletics has decided to advance the Youth Selection trial which was earlier scheduled for February.  The track and field governing body stated that it had decided to conduct the selection trial for Asian Youth Championships on January 23 and 24 at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

Sri Lanka Athletics said that the dates of the selection trial were amended in response to an emergency notice from the Asian Athletics Association on Tuesday morning.

Earlier Sri Lanka Athletics had scheduled the event for February 13 and 14.

The track and field governing body has also opened the event to athletes born in 2004.

Sri Lanka Athletics conducted a youth trial in November as precursor to next year’s Asian Youth Championships selection trials. Several athletes produced notable performances during the two-day event.

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