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Stanley Jayasinghe the nonagenarian: going strong

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The nonagenarian cutting the birthday cake to the strains of ‘happy birthday’.

by Harischandra Gunaratna

The oldest living All Ceylon cricketer Stanley Jayasinghe recently celebrated his 90th birthday at his Thalapathpitiya residence at a lavish birthday party attended by friends and fans.

Despite his age, his memory is razor-sharp and he shared some of the unforgettable incidents of his life with those present at the gathering with great humour and banter.

The grand old man of Sri Lanka’s cricket was hale and hearty and enjoyed the evening very much, entertaining his guests.

He was fit as a fiddle and still drives his vehicle maneuvering Colombo’s busy streets with tremendous ease, though some of those who are much younger to him would find it a nightmare.

The nonagenarian is a wildlife enthusiast and being an outdoor man, spent most of his time farming at Tanamalwila where he has a bungalow on a two acre land.

“Unfortunately due to the spread of Covid-19, I am unable to visit the place now and am confined to the apartment at Thalapathpitiya,” he said.

Jayasinghe is one of the best batsmen and a prolific run getter produced by Sri Lanka, representing the country from 1949 to 1967.

The batting machine made his debut for Ceylon while still being a schoolboy at Nalanda College, in 1951 playing against Pakistan in Pakistan under the captaincy of Sargo Jayawickrama.

The schoolboy hero captained Nalanda College, Colombo in both 1950 and 1951.

Jayasinghe scored  four centuries in his illustrious school cricket career in addition to many half centuries. His 170 against Prince of Wales at Moratuwa was the best, in a game where Nalanda went on to win the match by an innings. The all-rounder later played for the Sinhalese SC, Nomads and NCC.

He also played county cricket with distinction for Leicestershire for five years and prior to that league cricket in Lancashire. He was adjudged the Times of Ceylon Sportsman of the Year in 1951.

Jayasinghe is known as a stickler for discipline and punctuality.

He said, that he disapproved the unkempt appearance of some of our cricketers today and added “if you can’t be a cricketer, at least look like one.”

The cricketing great of yesteryear regretted the manner in which some of country’s cricketers play the gentleman’s game.

“Playing with a straight bat was the norm then, but today our batsmen have a tendency to play across the line and get out,” he said.

However, Jayasinghe praised about the standard of fielding in today’s cricket which has improved by leaps and bounds and said, it is 300 times better now than my time.

“I wish all cricketers of all nations uphold the noble traditions of the hallowed game,” Jayasinghe said.

Jayasinghe considers Mahadevan Sathasivam as one of the greatest cricketers produced by Sri Lanka in the pre-Test era for his brilliant stroke play and finesse, and admired Douglas Jayasinha, the former All Ceylon cricketer as a man who brooked no nonsense, acted with impartiality and a person who didn’t bow down to political pressure or dictates from any other during his tenure as Chairman of the selectors panel.

Asked about cricket becoming highly commercial, Jayasinghe was of the opinion that the players were entitled to benefits of the gentleman’s game.

He said the most cherished amongst the birthday presents he received was the book authored by Sri Lankan cricket writer Alston Mahadevan domiciled in Australia titled “History of Sri Lanka-International cricket 1882-1982” presented to Stanley by the author himself.



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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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