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Stoinis’ power-hitting against Rauf the game-changer, says Wade

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Australia needed 62 off the final five overs - Stoinis and Wade did it in four.

After helping Australia cross the finish line, Matthew Wade commended his batting partner Marcus Stoinis for the way he took on Haris Rauf in the 17th over and said that was possibly the turning point of the match. The slog overs also saw Hasan Ali dropping Wade off Shaheen Afridi in the 19th over, with the ‘keeper-batter cracking the next three balls for sixes to seal their spot in the final.

“I don’t think any of them [the drop and missed run-out chances] were the turning points of the match,” Wade said at the post-match press conference on Friday. “I think the way Marcus Stoinis batted at the end, to be honest, was probably the turning point of the match. I think when I came out there, he might have hit the spinner [Shadab Khan] for six, the first ball when I got out there. I think that kind of play, in my eyes, he’s really gutsy in those decisions that you make out in the middle, win you games. He could’ve easily blocked that ball he went for, hit a six and then that total comes down a little bit more.

“But I think the turning point of the game I thought was Marcus’s over against Rauf. I thought that kind of swung the momentum our way and gave us an opportunity to win the game. It’s just an easy thing to do to focus in on missed chances. Yes, maybe it would have gone down late in the last over, but I’m still confident we could have gone home,” he added.

Both Wade and Stoinis mostly bat at the top of the order for their respective teams in the BBL. Both players though have a good understanding, evidenced by the fact that the duo has batted together for Victoria and Australia for a period of 6-7 years. Wade also observed that batting with Stoinis gives the player at the other end ‘confidence’ as the all-rounder is renowned for playing the big shots.

“It’s confidence, I think. Confidence in your ability to be able to finish the game. To be able to bat with Marcus has been awesome. Obviously [I’ve] played a lot of cricket with him at Victoria and early on in his career. Obviously saw him grow into the cricketer he is today. To go out and bat with him certainly gives you a lot of confidence. I know if I can just hang with him for four or five overs, then he’s going to find the boundary. He’s too good and strong not to. So, the reason that me and him are working well towards the back end is we know each other’s game so much.

“In the optional sessions, the day before the game, you’ll find me and Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis go down again in closed sessions because we haven’t got a lot of match practice. It’s been invaluable to see what those guys are doing in training, especially Stoiny, work out his strengths, when he’s hitting the ball at his best. And he can see me do exactly the same thing.”

Wade also employed the lap shot against Afridi. The wicketkeeper-batter said that he had that shot in his arsenal for a long period of time, and he used it to manoeuvre the field. “I’ve had those [scoops and laps] for a longish period of time. I’ve been playing them from early on in my career as well. But, yes, certainly it was something I needed to tap back into a little bit more when I’m batting down the bottom.

“It’s easy to have the fine leg up a lot of the time at the end, but someone that laps, it kind of opens up the whole field for you. You’ve got to either have mid-off up or third man up or one of the fielders on the off side. It kind of opens the whole field up for you a little bit.”



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Dimuth on the verge of several batting milestones

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Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne will equal the World Record for most consecutive fifties in Test match cricket if he scores a half-century in the first innings of the second Test against West Indies in Galle starting Monday.

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne has hit a purple patch this year and the 147 he scored against West Indies in the first Test in Galle this week was his fourth hundred in 2021. The 33-year-old came up with an equally solid 83 in the second essay as Sri Lanka won by 187 runs and a session to spare.

His exploits have seen him accumulating 854 runs this year in Test cricket at an average of 77. Only Joe Root and Rohit Sharma have scored more runs in 2021 although they have played more games with the England captain featuring in 12 Tests and the Indian star appearing in 11 games compared to Dimuth’s six Tests.

Dimuth has now scored six consecutive half-centuries and a 50 in the second Test starting on Monday will see him equaling a World Record shared by six other players. Everton Weeks, Kumar Sangakkara, Andy Flower, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, Chris Rogers and K.L. Rahul have all scored seven consecutive fifties in Test cricket.

In the list of most runs in Test cricket for Sri Lanka, Dimuth went past former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga this year and he is currently the ninth highest run scorer. He’s on 5406 runs and if he scores 96 more runs in the second Test, he will knock off three more Sri Lankan greats; Tilan Samaraweera (5462), T.M. Dilshan (5492) and Marvan Atapattu (5502). That will see him sitting at number six among the highest run scorers for the country.

Dimuth is hungry for runs and he wants to finish his career with 10,000 Test runs. Only two other Sri Lankan greats have achieved the milestone. Kumar Sangakkara with 12,400 runs and Mahela Jayawardene with 11,814 runs are the only members of the exclusive 10,000 club.

“Scoring 10,000 runs is my dream. I don’t know if I’ll be able to achieve that, but that’s what I’ve got in my mind. If I can continue this form, I’ll be able to get close to 10,000 runs. I like to improve as much as I can, and whenever I finish a match, I’ll go and check where I am on the Sri Lanka run charts, to figure out how many I need to score to pass someone,” Karunaratne explained.

The Sri Lankan captain was Man of the Match as Sri Lanka took a 1-0 lead to retain the Sobers-Tissera Trophy. The win also enabled Sri Lanka to collect 12 points in the ICC Test Championship.

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Amasha smashes Susanthika’s Army record, Roshan dazzles with hurdles feat

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Amasha de Silva smashed Susanthika Jayasinghe’s meet record in the women’s 100 metres.(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

57th Army Athletics Championships  

by Reemus Fernando  

Sprinter Amasha de Silva smashed Olympian Susanthika Jayasinghe’s longstanding Army Athletics Championship 100 metres record and Roshan Dhammika Ranatunga came almost close to breaking his national record in the 110 metres hurdles as they blazed the track on the final day of the Army Athletics Championships at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday.

Amasha clocked 11.67 seconds to win the women’s 100 metres final ahead of Susanthika’s niece Medhani Jayamanne in the afternoon. She broke Susanthika’s 1994 hand-timed record of 11.6 seconds. With yesterday’s feat, Amasha has now taken both the 100 and 200 metres records of the Army Championships under her belt. The athlete trained by Sanjeewa Weerakkody has a personal best of 10.55 seconds from 2020 and is the fourth fastest athlete in history in the 100 metres behind Susanthika, Damayanthi Dharsha and Rumeshika Ratnayake.

In the morning, Roshan Dhammika produced the second-fastest legal time ever run by a Sri Lankan in the men’s 110 metres hurdles.

Dhammika, who broke Olympian Mahesh Perera’s 24-year-old 110 metres hurdles record at the National Championships four weeks ago, clocked 13.91 seconds to win the gold in the 110 metres hurdles final. The SLEME athlete’s effort had a minus 1.9 wind reading as he finished the event just two milliseconds slower than his national record.

His coach Thiron Gamage was confident that Dhammika would improve his national record once again and he almost achieved the target running against the wind. “He missed the record but with this feat, Dhammika has proved beyond doubt that his national record was not a fluke,” Gamage told The Island after the new meet record performance.

How much he has got to offer was evident from the time Dhammika ran a relaxed heat in the morning. Despite breaking the second hurdle he was still leading when he cleared the last hurdle but slowed down to finish third in the heat.  In the final his only blemish was breaking the last hurdle. Still, he was metres ahead of the rest. With his third sub 14 seconds run (13.97 secs and 13.89 secs at the Nationals) the former Kularatne Central, Godakawela athlete has become the only Sri Lankan to run the distance under that mark legally.

All three athletes who had previously run the distance under 14 seconds, namely Chaminda Fonseka, Supun Viraj Randeniya and Mahesh Perera had wind readings above the legal limit.

Those were not the only impressive track performances as Pabasara Niku produced his personal best with a 46.36 seconds to finish first in the men’s 400 metres final which was minus national champion Kalinga Kumarage and the other leading contender Aruna Dharshana. Dharshana pulled out from the competition due to injury in the semi-finals on Thursday. Harsha Karunaratne who won the 800 metres, finished second behind Niku in a time of 46.83 seconds. In the corresponding women’s event, Nadeesha Ramanayake bagged the gold medal. She clocked 54.54 seconds.

There were two other individual meet record performances from Sarangi Silva in the women’s long jump and Samith Fernando in the men’s shot put.

Sarangi cleared a distance of 6.14 metres to win the long jump. Fernando cleared 16.60 metres to create his record.

Nilani Ratnayake, whose steeplechase feat was adjudged the most outstanding performance in the female category won her third individual gold medal when she clocked 4:25.20 seconds to finish the 1,500 metres. While Samantha Pushpakumara (RMS) won the men’s 10,000 metres in a time of 31:12.28 seconds, H.A.M. Dilrukshi was the winner in the women’s discus throw. Men’s 100 metres winner Himasha Eshan (10.29 secs), who was involved in many victories for the Artillery regiment- the winners of the championship- won the award for the most outstanding performance in the men’s category.

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From the Army Athletics Championships

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The 57th Army Athletics Championships concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday. The five-day event witnessed several record breaking performances by leading national athletes. Here are some action pictures from day five of the championships.

(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi) 

 

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