Wet weather forces a draw
142nd Battle of the Blues
The rain hampered 142nd edition of the Battle of the Blues saw only six Royal batsmen came to bat against the arch rivals S. Thomas. According to Battle of the Blues statisticians this is only the second time it has happened.
The match which was twice postponed due to pandemic related issues was finally played behind closed doors at the SSC but after the entire first day’s play was lost due to wet ground and inclement weather conditions a draw was the only possible out come. S. Thomas’ fielded one of the youngest teams in recent times with some players eligible to play in the Big Match in 2024 as well.
The huge gap of experience between the two teams was evident soon after Royal decided to bowl first as the Thomians lost the first eight wickets for 35 runs.
Paceman Sonal Amarasekara rattled the top order with a devastating spell before Gishan Balasuriya mopped up the middle and late order with his four wicket haul.
It was the ninth wicket pair of Yasiru Rodrigo and fresher Mahith Perera who helped them survive till the close of play on the second day adding 38 runs.
The Thomians were a young team but two of their key players, the skipper Shalin de Mel and Sri Lanka Under 19 player Ryan Fernando too failed to score.
Royal in their essay posted 112 for four wickets declared with Isiwara Dissanayake top scoring with 47 runs.
Commencing the second innings the Thomians lost their first wicket for no runs as Romesh Mendis was out for no runs for the second time in the match. But Anuk Palihawadena and de Mel kept their wickets intact before the match was stopped for bad light.
This Big Match had not been interrupted even during the two World Wars and local insurgencies. The organizers managed to keep intact that status by conducting the match behind closed doors. However, lack of covers to protect the ground during rain prevented the first day’s play. There were only four covers to protect the ground when rain started in the morning and two additional covers were used later on day one. There were only 15 ground staff to remove covers on day one. Though rain ceased well before the scheduled start on day one the ground staff could not prepare the ground till around 2.00 pm for umpires to have their first inspection.
However, the SSC had acquired double that number of staff by the second day and some 15 covers were used on day two making it possible for the 142nd edition of the Battle of the Blues to see the light of day.
According to statisticians the last time only six batsmen came to the middle to score for Royal was in 1971. Royal scored 295 for two wickets declared with three batsmen coming to the crease in the first innings. Jagath Fernando scored a century for Royal in that innings. In the second innings Royal used five batsmen and scored 13 for three wickets declared.
Tharushi shocks seniors, breaks own record and sets world-leading time
By Reemus Fernando
Ratnayake Central, Walala prodigy Tharushi Karunaratne blazed the track with the country’s second fastest time ever in the women’s 800 metres to provide a sensational start to the 2023 season proper as the Junior and Senior track and field trials commenced at Diyagama on Monday.
The athlete trained by Susantha Fernando clocked 2:01.39 seconds to beat reigning national champion and national record holder Gayanthika Abeyratne. The 18-year-old’s winning time was only 19 milliseconds shy of the national record established by the veteran runner last year.
Incidentally, Karunaratne’s feat is the world-leading time in her age category this year.
Abeyratne led the race for a better part but Tharushi beat her in the last few metres in the home straight to produce one of the fastest 800 metres races on home soil.
Tharushi who emerged as a future prospect with notable performances at the Under 16 level at Junior school competitions has been on a record-breaking sphere.
Competing in the senior category she shattered her own National Junior Record and announced her readiness even to make her senior debut for Sri Lanka at international competitions.
Her winning time yesterday stands out as it ranks above the women’s 800 metres Asian Junior Championship record. No one has run the women’s 800 metres faster than China’s Lang Yinglai (in 1997- 2:02.66 secs) at Asian Junior Championships.
Tharushi, who has represented Sri Lanka at back-to-back World Junior Athletics Championships has not only secured a place in Sri Lanka team for Asian Junior Championships but has also emerged as a strong contender to make the teams for the Senior Asian Championships and the Asian Games.
Sri Lanka Athletics conducts the two-day event as a precursor for the final selection for the Asian Junior Championships, Asian Senior Championships and the Asian Games taking place this year.
Meanwhile, in yet another notable feat Janindu Lakvijaya broke the national record in the men’s 110 metres hurdles as he clocked 13.82 seconds in the heats.
After Big Match duties Sineth, Tharupathi guide Sri Lanka U19s to big win
Just a day after finishing their Big Match duties Royal College batsman Sineth Jayawardena and Richmond College spinner Malsha Tharupathi featured prominently in Sri Lanka Under 19s five-wicket victory over their Bangladesh counterparts in UAE on Monday.
Chasing a target of 230 runs to win Sineth Jayawardena top-scored with 101 runs to secure a five-wicket victory with 33 balls to spare. Jayawardena put on a first-wicket stand of 95 runs with St. Joseph’s batsman Hirun Kapurubandara who scored a half-century.
When Bangladesh Under 19s decided to bat first, Sri Lanka bowlers did well to restrict them to 229 runs. Tharupathi with three wickets was the pick of the blowers.
Sri Lanka Cricket had given exemptions for Sri Lanka Under 19 players Jayawardena, Tharupathi and Mahinda College Galle player Dinura Kalupahana to join the team in UAE after completing their Big Match duties.
Jayawardena took two wickets in the second innings though he was off colour with the bat in Royal College’s victory at the historic 144th Big Match. Tharupathi took six wickets for Richmond in the drawn Lovers’ Quarrel Big Match against Mahinda. All rounder Kalupahana who scored a half century and took three wickets for Mahinda in the Big Match, contributed with 10 runs yesterday, while his five overs could not yield wickets.
229 for 8 in 50 overs (Chowdhur Md Rizwan 38, Jishan Alam 40, Ahrar Amin 50; Malsha Tharupathi 3/35)
Sri Lanka U19s
234 for 5 in 44.3 overs (Hirun Kapurubandara 52, Sineth Jayawardena 101, Hiran Jayasundara 35; Jishan Alam 3/31)
New Zealand seal 2-0 whitewash despite Sri Lanka’s lower order 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.
The visitors, who were asked to follow on after bundling out for 164 in the first innings, in response to New Zealand’s 580 for 4, provided a strong fight for most parts of the first two sessions, led by Dhananjaya de Silva’s 98 – and well supported by Dinesh Chandimal’s 62 and Nishan Madushka’s 39. However, on either side of the two partnerships – for the fifth and sixth wicket respectively – the hosts triggered collapses.
They struck in the first over of the day itself, with Kusal Mendis mistiming a pull off Matt Henry to mid wicket, without adding to the overnight score. The short-ball which got them the success early in the day, was used rather generously by the New Zealanders throughout the day, especially Blair Tickner who filled in that role in the absence of Neil Wagner.
In the fourth over of the day, the other overnight batter – Angelo Matthews – departed pulling Tickner to square leg. Despite losing two wickets early in the day, Sri Lanka continued to be on the offensive, with Chandimal and Dhananjaya taking on the short-pitched attack. The duo stitched a 126-run stand for the fifth wicket, in what proved to be a high-scoring session where Sri Lanka picked 136 runs.
The attacking approach that the two batters maintained also helped them quickly take advantage of the loose deliveries as well. However, late in the morning session, Chandimal eventually fell to the ploy, top-edging a pull off Tickner to the fine leg fielder.
Madushka, on debut, got off the mark by going down the track off Michael Bracewell and hitting the offspinner for a six in the last over before Lunch. He attempted to drive the next delivery, but was tricked by the dip and eventually hit it just short of the fielder. The approach post Lunch though was rather cautious. Against the moving new ball, the batters were tested by Matt Henry and Tim Southee. However, apart from a couple of leg before appeals and a few beating the bat, there wasn’t much threat posed to them.
They slowly kept chipping away at the deficit with a 76-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Madushka fell at the stroke of Tea – yet again dismissed pulling against Tickner, this time caught at mid on.
Sri Lanka’s chances of wiping off the deficit took a massive hit when Dhananjaya was dismissed in the second over after tea. Looking to sweep Michael Bracewell, he got a top edge to the short-leg fielder. Thereafter, the lower order only delayed the inevitable. They kept the New Zealand bowlers at bay for nearly two and a half hours from thereon to hand them the last three wickets, two of which were eventually scalped by Southee.
Kasun Rajitha played out 110 deliveries in the company of Prabath Jayasuriya and Lahiru Kumara, both of whom added 45 balls each. Rajitha’s dismissal – caught at second slip poking at an away-going delivery – ended Sri Lanka’s innings soon after play was extended for the day.
580/4 decl. in 123 overs (Kane Williamson 215, Henry Nicholls 200n.o.; Kasun Rajitha 2-126)
164 all out in 66.5 overs (Dimuth Karunaratne 89; Matt Henry 3-44, Michael Bracewell 3-50) and 358 all out in 142 overs (Dhananjaya de Silva 98, Dinesh Chandimal 62; Tim Southee 3-51, Blair Tickner 3-84)
Cabinet nod to provide land for victims of floods and landslide
Philadelphia will pay $9.25M to protesters over police use of tear gas and rubber bullets during 2020 unrest
Showers in Sabaragamuwa, Central, Uva, North-Central and North western provinces and in Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Mannar districts
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
Sports7 days ago
Dickwella – a monster the selectors created
Features5 days ago
Earth’s Greatest Rivalry
Breaking News5 days ago
Credit Suisse slump renews fears of global banking crisis
Midweek Review6 days ago
All praise for Lanka’s saviours!
News3 days ago
Sri Lankan recognized as a Fellow by Society of Architectural Historians
Features6 days ago
A middle path for Sri Lankan agriculture: Sustainable intensification – PART I
News5 days ago
Underworld figures flown to Colombo from Madagascar
Editorial5 days ago
Smash glass ceiling