We wanted a score in the range of 160 – Pathum Nissanka
Rex Clementine in Sharjah
One of Sri Lanka’s stars during the ICC T-20 World Cup campaign, Pathum Nissanka admitted that his team was a few run short in their epic second round clash against South Africa on Saturday in Sharjah. There has been lot of criticism on skipper Dasun Shanaka’s option to bowl the last over and Lahiru Kumara’s choices with regard to his line and length against Killer Miller (David Miller).
Sri Lanka lost a close contest by three wickets as Kagiso Rabada brought up the winning runs in the penultimate ball.
The 2014 champions looked set to post in excess of 160 when Chairth Asalanka and Nissanka were involved in 41-run partnership for the second wicket. But Asalanka was run out and then Sri Lanka’s middle order could not handle the wrist spin of Tabraiz Shamsi; with numbers four, five and six; Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Avishka Fernando and Wanindu Hasaranga falling to him.
“We lost a few wickets early and I wanted to bat deep. Targeted the last five overs to score some runs. We wanted to get 160 but realized the wicket was a bit slow and then decided to get something in the range of 140 to 145,” Nissanka told a group of Sri Lankan journalists yesterday.
During the water break, Head Coach Mickey Arthur had come along and had revised the target. “The coach came over and said that we will reassess things and go for 140 as it is not easy batting. He wanted me to bat till the 20th over as it was tough for new batsmen to get set.”
“The wicket was slow yesterday and if you see they needed to bat till the last over to score the winning runs,” Nissanaka explained.
This has been a dream year for Nissanka so far. He became the only Sri Lankan to score a Test hundred overseas and was a late inclusion to the T-20 set up and has done well having emerged as the competition’s highest run scorer.
“It’s my best knock in T-20 cricket so very pleased with the effort. There’s been lot of help from senior players and coaches. Trained hard and the results are there to be seen. The presence of Mahela was quite good. He gave me a few tips on how to plan things and when to attack and when to defend.”
The result was a bitter pill to swallow for the team as Sri Lanka’s chances of a semi-final berth is almost over. “We are gutted with the result. But we gave a good fight and it was a good comeback from us. Lahiru had bowled well and we backed him to bowl the last over. We backed him and we gave him all the support but there were a few errors and the game slipped away from us. We have done fairly well. We hope to finish off the campaign well by winning the next two games and try and see whether there’s any chance to reach the semis.
Seven members of Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad were members of the class of 2016. Sri Lanka Under-19 team under Charith Asalanka toured England and won a series there and the team comprised Nissanka, Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Kamindu Mendis and Praveen Jayawickrama. They are all now delivering for the senior side..
“There’s lot of good understanding between us. It helps when you bat and stuff and when you run between the wickets.”
With men like Roy Dias in charge of our young players, the future is in good hands.
New Zealand seal 2-0 whitewash despite Sri Lanka’s resistance
Despite a strong resistance by Sri Lanka’s lower order, three wickets apiece by Tim Southee and Blair Tickner helped bundle out the visitors for 358 to help New Zealand clinch the second Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington by an innings and 58 runs, on Monday. With the win, the hosts also sealed the two-match Test series 2-0.
Sri Lanka 164 (Dimuth Karunaratne 89; Matt Henry 3-44, Michael Bracewell 3-50) & 358 (Dhananjaya de Silva 98, Dinesh Chandimal 62; Tim Southee 3-51, Blair Tickner 3-84) lost to New Zealand 580/4 decl. (Kane Williamson 215, Henry Nicholls 200*; Kasun Rajitha 2-126) by an innings and 58 runs
Sri Lanka counterattack despite faltering against short-ball ploy
Half-centuries by Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya De Silva notwithstanding, New Zealand maintained a dominant position at Lunch of Day 4 of the Basin Reserve Test, in Wellington. The hosts bagged three wickets in the morning session on Monday while Chandimal and Dhananjaya’s 126-run stand for the fifth wicket helped reduce the deficit to 167 as Sri Lanka attempted to revive their position in the contest.
Brief scores:(at lunch day 4)
Sri Lanka 164 (Dimuth Karunaratne 89; Matt Henry 3-44, Michael Bracewell 3-50) & 249/5 [f/o] (Dhananjaya de Silva 63*, Dinesh Chandimal 62; Blair Tickner 2-66) trail New Zealand 580/4 decl. (Kane Williamson 215, Henry Nicholls 200*; Kasun Rajitha 2-126) by 167 runs
An underdog, a positive approach and the victory no one saw coming
By Reemus Fernando
Royal beat the odds to register a stunning 180 runs victory against their arch-rivals S. Thomas’ at the 144th Battle of the Blues at the SSC on Saturday. It was a victory no one saw coming as the outfit trained by Rohan Soysa entered the annual battle as underdogs.
Royal’s back-to-back defeats at the hands of Trinity in the run up to the historic encounter were overshadowing even the couple of victories they had registered during the season and the fact that they had reached the quarter-finals at the end of the league stage. Reaching the last eight of the tournament was something their arch-rivals had failed to achieve. S. Thomas’ on the other hand had remained unbeaten though they failed to reach the business end of the tournament.
Both teams had wanted to bowl first under overcast conditions on day one and the Thomians had the ideal start to the annual battle as they took the first three wickets for just 19 runs. That was when Dasis Manchanayake came to the crease. The new ball was just eight overs old when he started the repair job with Ovina Ambanpola. Despite the early damage, the Royalists stayed positive. “Manchanayake’s approach was decisive,” said Royal coach Rohan Soysa following the victory.
Manchanayake rewarded for staying positive in adversity After being four wickets down for 63 runs at one stage, Royal recovered to post 326 runs for eight wickets declared thanks to the record-breaking partnership put on by Manchanayake and Ramiru Perera. The stage for victory was built on that partnership as the pair put on 229 runs off 293 balls. In the process the pair broke a 70-year-old partnership record for the fifth wicket. Manchanayake stayed there for five hours as they disappointed Thomians during an entire second session.
There was no turning back for Royal from then on as they won all sessions.Few expected Royal to declare on their overnight score under clear skies on day two morning. By lunch they had accounted for four top-order batsmen in the Thomian innings except for opener Senadhi Bulankulame. By tea on day two Royal were in complete command as they dismissed their opponents for 153 runs and they needed just 26 overs in the final session to amass 168 runs for the loss of four wickets.
Manchanayake entered the Battle of the Blues record books as the only Royal captain to score a century and a half-century in a match. In history only two batsmen had done that (M. Thotiwilage 95 and 108 in 2001 and Ganganath Rathnayake 75 and 111n.o. in 2011). What was more remarkable was the fact that the rare achievement coincided with victory. Ramiru Perera too could have earned the rare achievement had not Royal declared their innings on the overnight score on day three morning. Perera was unbeaten on 46 runs.
Incidentally, of the players who batted, Royal had only three batsmen reaching double figures in the first innings. And in the second innings apart from Manchanayake and Perera, Uvindu Weerasekara was the only batsman to top 20 runs. Royal’s Sri Lanka Under 19 player Sineth Jayawardena (1 & 4) failed in both innings.
Royal and two other schools had received exemptions from Sri Lanka Cricket to field their Sri Lanka Under 19 players in the weekend’s Big Matches despite Sri Lanka Under 19 leaving for UAE for a tournament. As expected pacemen played a crucial role in the match. Ranuka Malaviarachchi, Bulan Weerathunga and Sandesh Ramanayake accounted for ten wickets in the match with the latter becoming the third brother of the Ramanayake family to associate with a Royal victory.
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