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What Sri Lanka can learn from Australia’s World Cup campaign

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Australia’s fielding was one key point as they beat India in the World Cup final. Travis Head’s stunning diving catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma was one of the turning points in the game.

by Rex Clementine  

It was a fabulous night indeed in Ahmedabad as Australia defied all expectations and beat hosts and favourites India in the grand final of the sport’s showpiece event last Sunday.

India was a team that stormed through to the finals with an unbeaten record beating several teams by big margins. Never were India tested in the league or knockout stage. Australia, meanwhile, huffed and puffed, lost their opening two fixtures, nearly were beaten by Afghanistan and almost blew it against South Africa in the semi-final. But when it mattered, in front of a full house at the world’s largest sports stadium, they made an impact.

What can we learn from Australia’s triumph? Well, quite a lot.

How much of a difference do you think Australia’s fielding made in the final? Massive. When Rohit Sharma was batting, the pitch looked to be good for a total in excess of 300. But once Rohit was dismissed, most batters struggled for timing. Rohit is that kind of a player that his batting is effortless, but for the rest it was quite a toil. In fact, after Rohit was dismissed, India hit only five boundaries in 40 overs. This was some fielding effort by the Aussies.

Everyone is talking about Travis Head’s batting, but what about his fielding. The stunning catch that he pulled off sprinting backwards and putting the dive in was marvelous to watch and priceless for the Aussies as Rohit was dismissed.

When was the last time a Sri Lankan has pulled off such a catch? When was the last time a Sri Lankan managed a direct hit?

Then take the case of David Warner. He alone would have cut off some 20 runs on the field manning the deep mid-wicket boundary; he sprints so hard, dives and does everything. It’s not just the runs that Warner cuts off, but he upsets the batsmen’s rhythm as they are unable to convert two’s into three and find the boundary frequently.

Someone like Charith Asalanka for the young player he is the efforts he puts in on the field is well below par. A ruthless chief selector like Guy de Alwis would have dropped him from the side and asked him to work on his fielding and come back to the side. How much we miss men like Guy, who would not tolerate half-hearted efforts.

Sri Lanka managed just two wins in the World Cup and they could have done far better if their fielding was sharp. Dropping 16 catches in a tournament is atrocious and one is surprised that how the Fielding Coach has survived this long.

There are enough men capable of raising the team’s fielding standards. It’s just that some of our legends who are in key positions are obsessed with what foreign coaches have to offer. Or maybe that these legends are so loyal to Perera Gardens and carry out all instructions passed on from there and care little for the interests of Maitland Place.

Having watched the team train during the World Cup, we can come to the conclusion that the Sri Lankan team’s fielding drills are outdated. These are the same drills that Mr. Ranjit Fernando used to do more than 30 years ago.

The other key aspect from Australia’s win that you can learn from is the belief in the players whom they had backed. Man of the Match Travis Head was named in the squad despite having a broken left hand. In fact, Head did not take part in Australia’s first five games of the World Cup.

However, when it mattered most, he made it count winning Man of the Match awards in the semi-final and the final. It was a huge gamble by Australia to play the first half of their campaign with 14 players, but it was a gamble worth taking for wise Head turned out to be a match winner when the chips were down. We have much to learn from Australia.



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Spinners put England in command on Day 2

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Shoaib Bashir bagged four wickets on Day 2 (Cricbuzz)

England’s spin duo of Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley put India in trouble on the second day of the fourth Test in Ranchi by sharing six wickets between them. After getting bowled out for 353 in their first innings, England kept striking at regular intervals despite Yashasvi Jaiswal’s efforts at the other end.

England made a positive start to the day with Ollie Robinson opening up to hit a flurry of boundaries to catch India off guard. He ended up stretching the stand over 100 runs alongside overnight centurion Joe Root with the latter taking a backseat on the second morning. In the process, Robinson ended up registering his first-ever fifty in Test cricket with India desperately searching for a breakthrough. That breakthrough arrived in the form of Ravindra Jadeja as Robinson gloved one to the ‘keeper while attempting to reverse sweep.

Jadeja then made quick work of the tail as Bashir first miscued one hoick and James Anderson got trapped lbw, leaving Root stranded on 122. England would have still been fairly pleased with the score of 353 though given they were reeling at 112/5 at one stage on the opening day. They received a massive boost with the ball too as Rohit Sharma ended up nicking Anderson behind very early in his innings.

Jaiswal on the other hand though got off to a bright start yet again. Having already smashed two double tons in the series, the opener was in great touch prior to the lunch break. He carried on the same vein post resumption as well but ended up watching a procession from the non-striker’s end. Bashir hurt India big time in the second session as he first trapped the well-set Shubman Gill lbw before getting rid of Rajat Patidar and Jadeja, who had smashed successive sixes prior to that.

Those three wickets put India on the backfoot and the onus was on Jaiswal again to revive the innings. The opener did  continue to pile on the runs but England managed to keep Sarfaraz Khan quiet at the other end. The visitors then took full control of the game when Jaiswal dragged one back on to his stumps to fall for 73. With half the side back in the pavilion and almost 200 runs still behind England’s tally, India needed a massive contribution from the lower order. However, England cashed in on their advantage as Hartley drew the outside edge of Sarfaraz before trapping R Ashwin leg-before-wicket. Kuldeep Yadav and Dhruv Jurel put up a brave fight batting out almost 18 overs before stumps but India still need a huge effort from the duo on the third morning to bridge the gap.

Brief scores:
India
219/7 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 73, Shubman Gill 38; Shoaib Bashir 4/84) trail  England 353 in 104.5 overs (Joe Root 122*; Ravindra Jadeja 4/67) by 134 runs

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Sri Lanka outplayed us – Jonathan Trott

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Afghanistan Head Coach Jonathan Trott conceded that Sri Lanka outplayed his side.

Afghanistan Head Coach Jonathan Trott conceded that Sri Lanka outplayed his team in all three departments in the recently concluded bilateral series between the countries. While Sri Lanka won the one-off Test match, they swept Afghanistan 3-0 in the ODIs before taking an unassailable 2-0 in the T-20 series. On Wednesday, Afghanistan managed to record a three-run win in the last T-20 International, a dead rubber, at Dambulla.

The South African born former England Test cricketer Jonathan Trott conceded that his team was thoroughly outplayed in the series

“We should have done better than this. Sri Lanka have played good cricket and not allowed us to play good cricket. We could have won a few games or made a few games difficult to win for the opposition. For example, in the last T-20 International, they needed 36 in the last two overs and ended up getting 33 from the last two overs. We need to be more clinical. We hope to get our combination and form right before the T-20 World Cup in June,” Trott told journalists.

The Afghans missed their star bowler Rashid Khan, who is recovering after undergoing back surgery. The tourists were banking heavily on left-arm spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, in Rashid’s absence, but he too was injured during the tour and had to pull out

“We missed Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman. Any team that doesn’t have Rashid will miss him heavily. The players who have got opportunities need to make most of those opportunities and I hope they learned something in this series,” Trott explained.

While Afghanistan’s bowling wasn’t steady, their batting had too many collapses and to make matters worse they were sloppy on the field dropping quite a few catches. Fielding, Trott said, was one area that needed definite improvement.

“Drop catches nearly cost us during the last game as well. It has cost us a lot in the past. Certainly, one thing we have to work on is our catching. Fielding will be one thing that we will discuss when we take into account team selections moving forward.”

Afghanistan will begin a T-20 and ODI series against Ireland later this month in UAE while Sri Lanka will travel to Bangladesh for a multi-format series that involves two Tests, three ODIs and three T-20 Internationals. Both teams will then travel to United States for the T20 World Cup.

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Lahiru takes nine wickets to restrict Maliyadeva

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Lahiru Amarasekara

Under 19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

Spinner Lahiru Amarasekara picked up nine wickets for St. Joseph’s as the home team restricted Maliyadeva to 175 runs on day one of the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament match at Darley Road on Friday.

Amarasekara bowled the bulk of overs (23) for the Joes as he took nine wickets for 54 runs. His figures included nine maidens.

Amarasekara’s figures are the fourth best figures by a St. Joseph’s bowler. According to St. Joseph’s officials, Malcolm Orr’s 9 for 24 against Ananda in 1914 is the best bowling performance. While Shinal Warnakula took 9 for 41 against St. Peter’s College in 1997, C. O. de Silva had taken 9 for 45 against St. Benedict’s College in 1898.

In reply to Maliyadeva’s 175 runs, the Joes were  131 for three wickets at stumps with Hirun Kapurubandara unbeaten on 55.

In the matches concluded yesterday, St. Thomas’ Matara pulled off a two wickets win over Maris Stella in the match played at Kadirana. Abdul Maajid’s half century in the second innings stood in good stead for the team from Matara as others struggled in pursuit of a target of 117 runs.

Match Results

St. Thomas’ Matara record two wickets win at Kadirana

Scores:

Maris Stella 109 all out in 52.1 overs (Ramith Bandara 22, Shafni Deen 33; Pesandu Sanjan 3/32, Navija de Seram 5/19) and 161 all out in 53.1 overs (Oshadha Gimhana 48; Navija de Seram 3/50, Jimuth Iddamalgoda 4/14)

St. Thomas’ Matara 99 for 3 overnight 154 all out in 58.5 overs (Navija de Seram 40, Thathsara Dewmith 41; Nilesh Perera 2/22, Ramith Bandara 3/24, Yohan Aloka 2/36) and 120 for 8 in 22 overs (Abdul Maajid 51; Yohan Aloka 3/31)

St. Joseph Vaz’s earn first innings points against Zahira at BOI ground

Scores

Zahira 248 all out in 65.2 overs (Ranidu Malith 23, Mohomed Ijaz 100, Salman Refai 77; Janith Fernando 3/68, Tharindu Eshan 2/17, Dominic Fernando 2/40, Suhada Fernando 2/26) and 99 all out in 34.4 overs (Mohamed Ijaz 50; Janith Fernando 4/21, Dominic Fernando 4/20)

St. Joseph Vaz’s 76 for 3 overnight 255 for 9 decl. in 79.5 overs (Dasun Perera 37, Vishwa Rajapaksa 63, Suhanda Fernando 30, Tharindu Eshan 31n.o.; Abdul Rahuman 2/45, Tharusha Nawodhya 5/58)

Mahinda force a draw after first innings collapse at Galle

Scores:

Moratu MV 300 all out in 81.5 overs (Vihanga Nimsara 22, Mahith Appuhami 43, Deneth Sithumina 96, Nidharshana Fernando 63, Hasidu Gimsara 24, Kanchana Nimshan 20; Arosha Udayanga 3/59, Tharusha Dilshan 5/106)

Mahinda 30 for 5 overnight 117 all out in 57.5 overs (Senuka Dangamuwa 46; Lakindu Yahampath 4/32, Nishitha Fernando 3/28) and 216 all out in 67.5 overs (Pramesh Madubashana 62, Senuka Dangamuwa 47, Deneth Kaushalya 38; Nidharshana Fernando 5/31)

Richmond heading for big lead at Kurunegala

Scores:

St. Anne’s 78 all out in 49.2 overs (Chamith Sasenjana 19; Malith de Silva 3/19, Kaveesha Induwara 3/12, Sharon Abhishek 4/10)

Richmond 154 for 5 in 41.1 overs (Chehan Subasinghe 50, Nikil Jayaweera 36, Malsha Tharupathi 44n.o.; Kevin Nanayakkara 4/46)

Thisara produces all round performance at Uyanwatta

Scores

St. Servatius’ 233 all out in 54.4 overs (Chamarindu Nethsara 65, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 74; Kaveesha Piyumal 5/82, Thisara Ekanayake 3/56)

St. Anthony’s,

Katugastota 127 for 2 in 40 overs (Thisara Ekanayake 55n.o.)

Royal bat whole day to post 218 runs against Trinity at Reid Avenue

Scores:

Royal 218 for 8 in 100.3 overs (Rehan Peiris 72, Sineth Jayawardena 34, Dinura Senarathna 30; Malith Rathnayaka 3/62, Tharana Wimaladharma 3/53)

Lahiru’s nine wickets haul restricts Maliyadeva at Darley Road

Scores:

Maliyadeva 175 all out in 65 overs (Chandupa Abeysinghe 32, Gayana Weerasinghe 67n.o., Vinuka Galappaththi 31; Lahiru Amarasekara 9/54)

St. Joseph’s 131 for 3 in 37 overs (Hirun Kapurubandara 55n.o.; Dimantha Arusha 2/25)

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