Sri Lanka’s fate now in Irish and Afghan hands
Rex Clementine in Brisbane
Sri Lanka’s impressive six wicket win over Afghanistan and England’s 20 run defeat of New Zealand at the Gabba yesterday has given Dasun Shanaka slender hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals of the ICC T-20 World Cup. Sri Lanka will be now hoping that either New Zealand will lose to Ireland or Afghanistan will upset Australia. Sri Lanka are supposed to train on Friday in Sydney, but their minds will be in Adelaide where both those deciding games will be played. Then of course, on Saturday, they have got to beat England at SCG to go through. If New Zealand and Australia win on Friday, then Sri Lanka can pack their bags even before their last Super 12 game.
None of this would have mattered had that Glenn Philips catch had been taken by Pathum Nissanka, some may say. Hey, but hang on, did Sri Lanka play like a team that deserved a semi-final slot? The plain answer is no. They were sloppy on the field and their planning was awful. There should be questions asked from people who are giving clean bills of health for injured players. Binura Fernando barely lasted a game while Dushmantha Chameera was a flop despite being wrapped up in a cotton wool since March this year with the hope that he will be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup. He is expected to be fit for the IPL.
Dhananjaya de Silva was the star of the day in his team’s victory with nine balls to spare. The vice-captain posted an unbeaten 66 that came off 42 balls with six fours and two sixes. This is his career best score and his first half-century since January 2020.He brought up the victory with an elegant cover drive off Fazalhaq Farooqi for four.
Dhananjaya often gives you the impression that he is not a T-20 cricketer. Although it’s a game meant for the dashers, he has made his presence felt with his smooth drives and elegant flicks and when he has not got width to free his arms, he just drops the ball and scampers for singles.
The Afghans were kept to below 150 as Wanindu Hasaranga claimed three wickets and just conceded 13 runs in his four overs. With 13 scalps to his name, he is the highest wicket taker in the competition.
The last time Lahiru Kumara was at the Gabba, he limped off the field with yet another hamstring injury and yesterday he bowled with fire to claim two wickets. Kasun Rajitha is proving to be a reliable customer as well as he bowled economically and as they are looking set to turn things around, their costly mistakes are hurting them.
Track and field action from Diyagama
The Track and Field season commenced with some of the best athletes in the senior and Under 20 age categories producing notable performances during the two-day Junior and Senior Selection Trial concluded at Diyagama on Tuesday. Here are some action pictures from the day two of the event.
(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)
Dharshana’s false start dampen an otherwise remarkable day
by Reemus Fernando
Sprinter Aruna Dharshana gave athletics fans both joy and heartache on an otherwise remarkable day as the Junior and Senior Track and Field trials concluded with a number of athletes achieving their personal bests at Diyagama yesterday.
Athletics analysts were waiting for Dharshana to reach his personal best in the men’s 400 metres final after the Army athlete produced the best performance in the heats where as many as five athletes clocked sub 47 seconds. When Dharshana followed up his 200 metres winning time of 21.12 seconds with a feat of 46.43 seconds in the 400 metres many expected him to produce a sub 46 seconds performance in the final.
But the shocking foul start meant that he will have to wait for more than a month to test his true potential. Incidentally, Kalinga Kumarage, who was off-colour in the heats (47.51 secs – second in heat 3) won the final with a feat of 46.27 seconds. However, 100 metres sprinter Medhani Jayamanne who was disqualified for a foul start in the women’s 100 metres heats was not so unlucky, as athletics officials gave her an opportunity to compete in the women’s 100 metres final, though her place was (2nd) not recognised. She clocked 12.16 seconds in the final.
In Dharshana’s absence four others, namely, Kumarage, R.N. Rajakaruna, Dinuka Deshan and Pabasara Niku clocked sub 47 seconds.
In the corresponding women’s 400 metres, schoolgirl Tharushi Karunaratne continued to shock her senior counterparts. Having won the women’s 800 metres on day one, the Ratnayake Central prodigy also bagged the 400 metres victory as she clocked 53.41 seconds to beat Asian Championship participant Nadeesha Ramanayake.
In the men’s 100 metres Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best as he clocked 10.37 seconds to win the final.
In the women’s 100 metres final, Rumeshika Ratnayake clocked 12.01 seconds to win running against the wind (-2.9). In the heats, she clocked sub 12 seconds.
In the morning, Gayanthika Abeyratne finished the women’s 1500 metres just three seconds shy of her national record mark as she clocked 4:12.53 seconds to win closely followed by steeplechase national record holder Nilani Ratnayake. Abeyratne’s national record established last year stands at 4:09.12 seconds.
In the Under 20 age category events Malith Yasiru produced the second-best performance of the Asian region in the Under 20 boys’ triple jump this year when he cleared a distance of 15.43 metres to win the event.
Sri Lankan sailing teams compete in Pakistan
The Sri Lankan national team of two sailors and one windsurfer, with the Navy team of a sailor and a windsurfer, were invited to participate at the first Chief of Navy Staff International Sailing Regatta 2023 held from March 14 to 20 in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve countries including Australia, Bahrain, Croatia, Egypt, China, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey had sent their teams to Karachi. The Sri Lankan national team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) NGMU Ghanawardene, Sri Lanka Navy, Priyantha Gunawardene, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class and Laser 4.7 (ILCA 4) sailor Tharen Nanayakkara. The Navy team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) JMPL Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Navy and WAS Weeratunge, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class.
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