There are few players who always made runs against Sri Lanka. There was Martin Crowe in 1980s, and then there was Mohammad Azharuddin in 1990s followed by Brian Lara in the next decade. In the last decade it was Virat Kohli and now Glenn Maxwell has taken on that baton. Maxi as the Sri Lankan players call him loves our spin bowlers. Maxwell’s initial movements will get fielders going in one direction and then at the blink of an eye, he would have changed the shot. There’s no time for the fielders to react. He is such a versatile cricketer.
During the Sri Lanka versus Australia game in Perth this week, when Dasun Shanaka brought in Lahiru Kumara, there was an interesting battle going on. Kumara peppered the middle order batsman with short balls and then completely unsettled him with one that smashed his cheek bone. Maxwell was like a cat on a hot tin roof. He was hopping around and not often you see an Asian fast bowler getting the Aussies rattled. Unless of course it’s Wasim Akram. Now that Lahiru too has done it, you’d be hoping that he will do it consistently.
Maxwell didn’t last long. Although Kumara didn’t get him, doubts had been cast in his mind and it was just a matter of time. Sri Lanka failed to stop Marcus Stoinis as their spinners proved to be ineffective for once. That takes you to the question how much the team would have loved having Dushmantha Chameera and Dilshan Madushanka during the World Cup.
Sri Lanka were shaping up nicely after their Asia Cup win. John Pye, the Australian based Sports Editor of Associated Press, had put them to go all the way to win the title. Then their setbacks with injuries. Six injuries in a campaign like the World Cup is too much to handle.
Kumara himself is coming from injury. Since walking off the field having hurt his hamstring in the Mohali Test in March this year, he has played just one domestic game before being picked in the World Cup squad. That shows how much the team management wanted him in the dressing room. There maybe more skilful quicks than Lahiru Kumara, but what makes him special is his speed. You can not teach someone to bowl fast. You either have it or you don’t have it.
It’s true that Kumara was a disappointment in the last World Cup when he ran out of ideas bowling that deciding last over to David ‘Killer’ Miller. The Proteas won that game in Sharjah but that toughened up Kumara.
Kumara is a late developer. He was initially a hockey player at Vidyartha, Kandy. A blow from a hockey stick to his forehead saw him ending up in hospital for a few days. When he returned home, his mother had thrown away the hockey stick. Then he chose cricket. Hockey’s loss is cricket’s gain. While at Vidyartha, reputed school cricket coach Sampath Perera spotted his talent and offered him a scholarship to Trinity. There he made huge strides and made it to the Sri Lanka Under-19 team and toured England under Roy Dias. He was a star performer as Sri Lanka won both the unofficial Test and ODI series.
Kumara made it to the senior side just after turning 18 and debuted at the age of 19. In the New Year Test in Cape Town in 2017, he claimed six wickets in an innings. He was the talk of the town as even the South Africans who are no strangers to pace struggled. Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma and J.P. Duminy were among his victims. All this mind you while being a teenager.
Although it’s been five years now since Kumara debuted, we have not seen his best as yet. The main reason for this has been injuries. During the last four years, he has broken down middle of a Test match with constant hamstring troubles and the recovery process has been slow. When Kumara is fully fit, he can make life difficult for batters as Maxwell found out the other day. Hopefully, he’ll have a couple of more good performances that will put Sri Lanka in the semis.
Second Sri Lanka – Afghanistan ODI called off
By Rex Clementine
Heavy rain forced match officials to call off the second One-Day International between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan at the Pallekele International Stadium on Sunday.Set a target of 229 runs to win, Sri Lanka had reached 10 for no loss in 1.4 overs when rains came down forcing the players indoors.
Rain didn’t stop and at 8:57pm local time play was called off. SLC said in a statement that the ground staff needed more than one hour to clear the covers due to the amount of water collected on the covers and weren’t able to start by 9:56 pm, the latest cut-off time.
Afghanistan lead the three-match series 1-0 having won the opening fixture on Friday by 60 runs.
The series is part of the World Cup Super League and the no result meant that both teams collected five points each. That means, Afghanistan are edging closer to automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup. They are at seventh in the table currently. Sri Lanka are in the danger zone placed at tenth position. Only eight teams earn automatic qualification for the sport’s showpiece event.
Afghanistan opted to bat first after winning the toss and half-centuries by Rahmanullah Gurbaz (68) and Rahmat Shah (58) helped them to post 228 all out in 48.2 overs. Mohammad Nabi chipped in with 41 off 34 balls with two fours and two sixes.
Sri Lanka’s bowling was wayward to start with, but they bounced back well claiming the last five wickets for 33 runs.Seamer Kasun Rajitha finished with career best bowling figures as he claimed three wickets for 31 runs in his nine overs, which included two maidens.
Maheesh Theekshana and Lahiru Kumara chipped in with two wickets each as Sri Lanka bowled out Afghanistan.The game was being played on the same surface as Friday’s game and there was quite a bit of purchase for the spinners and Sri Lanka would have faced a tough challenge during the run chase.
Gayana, Charuka, Anjala excel
Under 19 Cricket
by Reemus Fernando
A remarkable match saving effort by Gayana Weerasinghe for Maliyadeva and a match bag of ten wickets by Charuka Peiris to guide S. Thomas’ to their third outright victory of the season were among the highlights of the Under 19 traditional matches played over the weekend.
Weerasinghe stood out scoring unbeaten knocks in both innings to avoid defeat in the match against Royal. In reply to Royal’s 302 for seven wickets declared, Maliyadeva collapsed but Weerasinghe scored an unbeaten century (135 in 204 balls, 18x4s) to defy the home team at Reid Avenue. Following on, he was joined by Jayamin Muthukumarana (25), Chandupa Abeysinghe (24) and Amesh Tennakoone (40) to force a draw. In the second innings, Weerasinghe batted for 134 minutes and remained unbeaten on 61 runs (in 122 balls, 4x4s).
Peiris completed a match bag of ten wickets with a six wicket haul in the second innings as S. Thomas’ cruised to victory with a session remaining in the match. S. Thomas’ posted 289 runs in reply to Mahinda’s 101 runs and in their second essay the visitors were bowled out for 174 runs.
It was S. Thomas’ third outright victory of the season. In the match between St. Servatius’ and Mahamana the latter earned first innings honours as Anjala Bandara scored 126 runs for them to post 241 runs in reply to St. Servatius’ 126 runs.
St. Servatius’, Mahanama ends in draw
St. Servatius’ 126 all out in 42.3 overs (Kushan Wijerama 23, Chathum Bimsara 23, Thisan Dewmith 21n.o.; Duvindu Ranatunga 3/23, Dasith Gunathilake 3/36, Venuk Hettiarachchi 2/24, Omesh Udara 2/28) and 147 for 4 in 42 overs (Chamarindu Nethsara 41n.o., Mithila Charles 29, Denuwan Pramod 26, Diniru Sanushka 21, Vishwa Supun 21n.o.; Dasith Gunathilake 2/49).
Mahanama 241 all out in 72.3 overs (Anjala Bandara 126, Duvindu Ranatunga 36, Omesh Udara 35; Tharush Damindu 4/48, Thisan Dewmith 4/66)
St. Thomas’ beat Mahinda by an innings and 14 runs at Mount Lavinia
Mahinda 101 all out in 30.1 overs (Dhanuja Induwara 53; Nathan Caldera 5/27, Charuka Peiris 4/21) and 174 all out in 46 overs (Hiruna Gallege 40, Dinura Kalupahana 36, Chandupa de Silva 20, Shenuka Dangamuwa 29; Charuka Peiris 6/66, Akash Fernando 2/33, Nathan Caldera 2/32)
S. Thomas’ 289 all out in 69 overs (Thisen Eheliyagoda 40, Romesh Mendis 117, Senesh Hettiarachchi 72; Tharusha Dilshan 5/71, Sanuka Dangamuwa 3/51)
Maliyadeva force a draw after Royal enforce follow on at Reid Avenue
Royal 302 for 7 decl. in 77.2 overs (Ramiru Perera 85, Uvindu Weerasekara 60, Dasis Manchanayake 100n.o., Bulan Weeratunga 33; Gayana Weerasinghe 4/76, Charuka Herath 2/80)
Maliyadeva (52 for 3) 201 all out in 63.4 overs (Jayamin Muthukumarana 18, Chandupa Abeysinghe 17, Gayana Weerasinghe 135n.o.; Sandesh Ramanayake 2/60, Dasis Munchanayake 4/33) and 198 for 5 in 66 overs (Jayamin Muthukumarana 25, Chandupa Abeysinghe 24, Amesh Tennakoone 40, Chamod Sathsara 17, Gayana Weerasinghe 61n.o.; Menaka Heyyanthuduwa 2/28).
Dharmasoka and Nalanda settle for draw at Campbell Park
Nalanda 105 all out in 34.4 overs (Rusiru Vilochana 22, Kushmitha Silva 23; Pathum Malitha 2/19, Senitha Halambage 5/17) and 309 for 9 in 90.5 overs (Rusiru Vilochana 65, Kushmitha Silva 80, Eranga jayakody 90, Sajitha Vithanage 38, Sathmina Serasinghe 17n.o.; Chanaka Jananga 4/59, Senitha Halambage 4/100)
Dharmasoka (210 for 6) 238 all out in 78.5 overs (Manasa de Silva 39, Senitha Halambage 97, Chandupa Kavisha 27; Chanul Athukorale 2/43, Minod Caldera 3/71, Janula Indusara 3/12)
Trinity, St. Anthony’s clash for final spot
Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ Cricket
Arch rivals Trinity and St. Anthony’s Katugastota will clash in Colombo today to secure a final berth in the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament. Both teams have seen some of the leading teams in their respective groups in the first round being eliminated in the knockout stage and will be eager to last the full distance to earn the coveted title.
St. Anthony’s captained by Lahiru Abesinghe were able to eliminate one of the favourites to the title, Mahanama in their quarter-final match thanks largely to the heroics of their top order batsman Mohamed Aaqil. With the rest of the batting line up failing to impress, Aaqil scored a dogged knock of 80 runs to secure their semi-final berth. The team inclusive of a couple of Sri Lanka Under 19 players will be looking forward to avoid the mistakes in that department in the crucial encounter.
St. Anthony’s were the fourth placed team in Group ‘Y’ after they ended up with a card of just four victories and four defeats during the first round. St. Sebastian’s and Maliyadeva, who finished second and third respectively in their group, were eliminated early in the knockout stage. In the event of St. Anthony’s advancing to the final they will be meeting Richmond, the champions of their group in the first round.
Trinity skippered by Rahal Amarasinghe eliminated St. Sebastian’s in the quarter-final after advancing to that stage with a third place finish in their group in the first round. During the first round they recorded five victories in eight outings. Trinity have a number of players who were part of the Under 17 team adjudged the joint champions of the Under 17 tournament with St. Joseph’s. The experience of playing in that final where the scores were tied is likely to stand in good stead.
Trinity (from): Rahal Amarasinghe (Captain), Vibhavith Ehelepola (Vice Captain), Theeraka Ranatunga, Supun Waduge, Manula Kularatne, Tharana Wimaladharma, Kusal Wijethunga, Dinusha Pieris, Dinuka Tennakoon, Jayavi Liyanagama, Janith Warnakula, Malith Rathnayake, Lakvin Abeysinghe, Vathila Udara, Yewan Hulangamuwa, Viduka Dhammage.
Naveen Ekanayake (Head Coach), Lakshitha Alahakoon (Asst. Coach), Bryan Senaratne (Master in Charge).
St. Anthony’s (from): Lahiru Abesinghe (Captain), Travin Mathew (Vice Captain), Mohommed Aaqil, K.S. Bandara, Thisara Ekanayake, Ravindu Kapukotuwa, Ryan Anthonys, Induwara Galapitage, Kaveesha Piyumal, Janith Rathnasiri, Charuka Ekanayake, Kevan Fernando, Januka. Rathnayake, Dasun Welanga, Ravindu Kasthuriarachchi, Nik Fonseka, Senura Abesekara, Dinura Ganegoda, Kaushika Kumarasinghe, Sanuka Kalpana.
Suneth Gunathilake (Head Coach), Priyantha Kumara (Asst. Coach), Lenin Jayasinghe (Master in Charge).
Trains on northern railway line will end at Mahawa for five months from 15th January 2023
SLPP dissidents ask govt. to bring back USD 35 bn ‘parked’ overseas
Security stickers on bottles of liquor: The corrupt make a killing – Buddhika
‘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
Opinion5 days ago
Rohan Abeywickrema – A pioneer in transport professionalism
News3 days ago
GCE O/L results to be released today
Editorial7 days ago
Mahathir and Mahinda
Features7 days ago
Successful reconciliation requires people’s trust and confidence
Opinion7 days ago
I have Cholesterol, Doctor!
Features7 days ago
Brain drain and future of medical education
Opinion5 days ago
Rise against state repression: A call to the people
News4 days ago
Public protests: Alles claims UN pleased with police response