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Too many cooks!



Despite the presence of an Head Coach and a Batting Coach, Sri Lanka flew Thilina Kandamby as a specialist coach but the batting was a disaster as Sri Lanka didn’t last for 20 overs in the first ODI.

by Rex Clementine

Saturday was a disaster at Eden Park in Auckland, that iconic sports venue that has been hosting Test cricket since 1930. There have been two ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals there and a Rugby World Cup final. Eden Park is the MCG of New Zealand. The Sri Lankan team put up one of the worst batting performances in the history getting bowled out for 76 to lose by a massive 198 runs.

Remember in the last ODI that the national cricket team featured in they were shot out for 73 runs at Trivandrum in the southern Indian city to lose by a record 317 runs. That’s the worst defeat in the history of ODI cricket, not just by Sri Lanka but by any team. You wonder how the selectors survived after such a catastrophic performance.

You at least wished that they would rethink the strategy but the failed formula of basing the team on all-rounders is being continued.The idea of too many all-rounders is outdated and a failed strategy that has been long discarded by England. Sri Lankans who came up with innovate ways of playing limited overs cricket have now borrowed a leaf out of England’s book and the strategy has been recipe for disaster.

The selectors may say that Chamika Karunaratne, one of the all-rounders they backed ended up with career best figures on Saturday and yes he did but as Mr. Michael Tissera used to remind us, ‘end doesn’t justify the means’. Mr. Tissera of course was a class of his own and probably the best chief selector we had.

Both Chamika and Dasun Shanaka can not feature in the same side is an argument that most cricket enthusiasts agree on and how come the selectors don’t agree with that is the question. Surely, now that Chamika has justified his place they are not going to axe the man who won us the Asia Cup?

It is all too evident that Dasun is not a number five or a six in ODI cricket. He’s got to bat at number seven which means the top six has to be specialist batters. You can sneak in a Dhananjaya de Silva somewhere there as he gives an additional bowling option but the selectors don’t want to do that. Your all-rounder which is Dasun is at number seven and then follow your bowlers. That’s what successful Sri Lankan teams have done all these years. The current selectors are holding onto a theory of their own which has brought us nothing but disaster.

Dasun has got to bowl more if he has to remain in the ODI outfit and by not bowling he’s not doing too many favours to the team and himself.You also wonder what was the point in sending Thilina Kandamby as a specialist coach to New Zealand for the series. Can Kandamby offer you anything that Chris Silverwood can not? Or for that matter Naveed Nawaz, the batting coach.

This could be an effort to undermine Silverwood. The selectors have been doing it for sometime now. When the team won the Asia Cup, they were quick to take credit elsewhere. When things went wrong in Australia following the arrest of Danushka Gunathilaka the same selectors were doing a Pontius Pilate without owing up for their blunder of retaining an injured player.

The selectors failed policies have denied Sri Lanka a chance to automatically qualify for this year’s World Cup. Even Bangladesh and Afghanistan have gone through. This is nothing but a shame for a proud cricketing nation that won the 50 over World Cup once and reached the finals on two occasions. The current selectors flawed policies need to be kicked out together with them.

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First sprinter to run 100m in under 10 seconds dies




Jim Hines held the world record in the men's 100m for nearly 15 years (pic BBC)

US sprinter Jim Hines, the first man to run the 100m in under 10 seconds, has died at the age of 76.

He broke the record in 1968 when he recorded a hand-timed 9.9 seconds at the US Championships. Hines then broke his own record shortly after while winning gold at the 1968 Olympics, where an electronic timer in Mexico City recorded him at 9.95. His record held for nearly 15 years until Calvin Smith ran a time of 9.93 in 1983.

That is the longest length of time an athlete has held the record for the men’s 100m since the International Amateur Athletic Foundation began keeping track – 110 years ago.

His death was announced in a statement by World Athletics. The organisation said it is “deeply saddened” by the news. Both the Olympics and USA Track and Field shared tributes to Hines on Twitter. “The sport has lost a legend,” USA Track and Field said.

Hines was born in the state of Arkansas in 1946 but was raised in Oakland, California.

He had an early love of sport, namely baseball, but showed a real talent for sprinting as a teenager. He attended Texas Southern University where he ran for the Tigers track team before competing in national championships and the Olympics.

In addition to winning the 100m at the Mexico Olympics, he was also part of the US 4x100m relay team which won a gold.

He ended his sprinting career shortly after the Olympics and joined the NFL. He spent three years in the league, playing for the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs.

(BBC Sports)

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Silverwood promises to address dot ball issue



Rex Clementine
at Suriyawewa

Leading up to the World Cup Qualifiers starting in less than two weeks’ time in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chris Silverwood promised to address the team’s dot-ball woes.

In the first ODI against Afghanistan which the hosts lost by six wickets here on Friday, there were 158 dot balls with the batters struggling to rotate the strike. That is a huge amount coming up to more than 25 overs. Although the number was cut down to 128 in the second game, Sri Lanka would like to do better than that.

“The dot ball issue is something that we are addressing. A lot of people are talking about it I know. We need to rotate the strike better and put the pressure back on the bowlers. The boundary percentage went up in the last game. Getting a balance between the two will help us to score above 300,” Silverwood told journalists.

Silverwood, the former England Head Coach, also welcomed the return of seniors Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne back into the side bringing more stability to the batting unit. Mathews was left out for game two, but that appears to be part of the team’s strategy to give everyone in the squad a go.

“Angelo was brought into the squad to boost the batting lineup and bring confidence into the side. He has experience of playing big matches. The fact is we must prepare the whole squad to cover ourselves to face any situation.

“Dimuth is making a comeback into the ODI side and he played superbly. He had a good Test series against Ireland. His tempo is very good. He gave us something to build on. The openers added 80 plus for the first wicket. Every partnership after that was scored at less than run a ball. It shows what we can do when we have a good start,” noted Silverwood.

Dhananjaya de Silva came up with a match-winning effort in the second game bowling his off-spin so well picking up three wickets that included the prize scalp of Ibrahim Zadran and earlier his less than run a ball 29 had helped Sri Lanka to a match-winning total of 323 for six.

“Dhananjaya is at six and has to adapt to situations whether it be setting a target or chasing one. The first game he played a superb inning. Today we saw him capitalizing after we had a great start. He kept the momentum going. Obviously scored quickly which is exactly what we need to get over 300. We want to keep pushing the barriers. When it comes to his bowling, he has been threatening to do it for a while.”

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Tharushi dazzles with two golds



Sri Lanka’s mixed relay team with their medals. (from left) Jayeshi Uththara, Tharushi Karunaratne, Susantha Fernando (coach and manager), Shehan Dilranga and Vinod Ariyawansa.

Asian Junior Athletics Championship

by Reemus Fernando

Ratnayake Central, Walala runner Tharushi Karunaratne won back to back gold medals as Sri Lanka reaped a haul of three medals on day two of the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in South Korea on Monday.

Karunaratne won the gold medal in the women’s 800 metres before running the vital anchor leg for her team to clinch gold ahead of strong Indian and hosts’ teams in the 4×400 metres mixed relay.

Gold medals Sri Lanka won yesterday were its eighth and ninth since the commencement of the biennial championship in 1986.

Competing in her pet event, Karunaratne was hardly challenged as she led from the first 100 metres to finish in a time of 2:05.64 seconds. Karunaratne, had set an Asian (junior) leading time just outside the current national record to earn her ticket to the event in South Korea. “I am really proud of her achievement. I was not expecting her to run close to her personal best as she had given her best in the 400 metres,” Susantha Fernando her coach told The Island after she clinched her first gold. She won the silver medal of the 400 metres on Sunday.

In the mixed relay she started in the third position but when the Indian counterpart who had won the gold in the 400 metres individual event tumbled at the start she grabbed the opportunity to fight for the first place and there was no turning back for her from there on. Jayeshi Uththara who won the 400 metres bronze, Shehan Dilranga and Vinod Ariyawansa were the others to form the mixed relay team.

She finished in a new Sri Lanka record time of 3:25.41 seconds. She was also a member of the team that had set the previous national record at the World Junior Championships. While the country’s senior athletes are yet to run the mixed relay at an international event, the junior athletes’ performances had been considered as National Records.

Kahawatta Central triple jumper Malith Yasiru was the other medallist of the day. Yasiru cleared 15.82 metres, seven centimeters shy of his personal best, to win the bronze ahead of India’s Sukhpreet Singh. Japan’s Miyao Manato who was the only athlete to clear the 16 metres mark (16.08m) and China’s Ma Yinglong (15.98m) won the gold and silver medals respectively.

With the two gold medals won yesterday the country has nine gold medals against her name at these championships now. Sri Lanka’s first gold medals of these championships were won by Damayathi Dharsha (100m) and Susanthika Jayasinghe (200m) in Jakarta Indonesia in 1994. The country had to wait till 2012 when it hosted the event in Colombo to witness the next gold. Dulaj Madusanka and Shivanthi Kumari Ratnayake won golds in the men’s and women’s 400 metres at the Sugathadasa Stadium while also anchoring the 4×400 metres relay teams to bronze and silver.

At the last edition in Gifu, Japan the country won three golds with Aruna Dharshana winning the men’s 400 metres with a championship record time of 45.79 seconds. Dharshana also ran a vital leg to win the 4×400 metres gold. The other gold came in the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase when Parami Wasanthi clocked a National Junior Record time of 10:21.54 seconds to win.

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