All-Conquering University of Colombo Team in 1970

A Note from Mevan Pieris, 17 May 2021

This is a photograph of the University of Colombo 1970 cricket team, which was captained by me, and which ended up as Sara trophy league champions beating Nomads CC with nine Sri Lanka players at the University grounds to end up at top of the table. I am the only player seated in the centre wearing the Sri Lanka national blazer and crest, and the rest are wearing the university Colombo crest. In the final round that followed the university examinations clashed and several players were not available and therefore could not win the Sara trophy. It must be also noted that unlike in Carlyle Perera’s victorious year we were only a Colombo team, whereas Carlyle’s was a then University of Ceylon, combined team of both Colombo and Peradeniya. Both Peradeniya and Colombo separated as two separate universities in the late 1960s, when I was an undergraduate.


In my first year, I played under Sarath Wimalaratne who captained a University of Ceylon team of both Peradeniya and Colombo players. It was a new experience for me to play cricket with so many wonderful undergrads from different backgrounds. Sarath was a great all-rounder and a lovely captain.I enjoyed every bit playing under him.


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South Africa submerge Sri Lanka

Andrew Fidel Fernando in ESPNcricinfo, December 2020.

South Africa 621 (du Plessis 199, Elgar 95, Maharaj 73, Bavuma 71, Markram 68) beat Sri Lanka 396 (Chandimal 85, de Silva 79, Shanaka 66*, Sipamla 4-76) and 180 (Perera 64, Hasaranga 59, Sipamla 2-24) by an innings and 45 runs

South Africa’s quicks tore through a beleaguered Sri Lanka batting line-up in the first half of day four, to secure an innings victory in a match they have utterly dominated over the past two days. Wiaan Mulder made the early breakthroughs, but all the quicks contributed in this innings, taking two wickets apiece.

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Sri Lanka had very much been in the Test in the first four sessions of play, but despite having made their highest-ever total in South Africa – 396 in the first innings – they nosedived alarmingly as injuries stacked up on injuries. Four of the batsmen who came to the middle on Tuesday were visibly hobbling, and one – Dhananjaya de Silva – didn’t take the field at all. Like much of day three’s play, there was no real tension in the match, and the result seemed a foregone conclusion. Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga hit boundary-laden half-centuries, but beyond that, there was no serious fight. No team had made more runs in the first innings and still suffered an innings defeat in South Africa.

Surprisingly, Mulder bowled ahead of Anrich Nortje and Lutho Sipamla in the morning, and justified that decision by posing difficult questions from Sri Lanka’s batsmen. He dismissed the struggling Dinesh Chandimal (who was running gingerly on what seemed to be a groin niggle), with a sharp inducker that pitched outside off and jagged in to hit Chandimal’s off stump, beating the inside edge. A few overs later, Mulder drew Niroshan Dickwella’s outside edge.

Perera had struck confident boundaries through the early overs of the day, but as wickets continued to tumble at the other end, he appeared more encumbered. He was dropped on 47 off the bowling of Mulder, when Faf du Plessis couldn’t hold on to a tough low chance diving across from second slip, but that miss would not cost South Africa much. He was eventually out for 64, nicking a nasty lifter from Nortje, having hit 10 fours in his 87-ball stay.

Dasun Shanaka survived 34 deliveries, attempting few of the big shots that had defined his unbeaten fifty in the first innings, but eventually was caught behind as well, off the bowling of Sipamla. Just on the stroke of lunch, Vishwa Fernando was also run out due to a mix-up with Hasaranga.

After lunch, Hasaranga raised mild hope that perhaps Sri Lanka would make South Africa bat again, as he struck repeated boundaries off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj in particular, moving to a maiden Test fifty on debut. By this stage, though, he was batting with Kasun Rajitha, who could barely hobble from end to end, and Hasaranga himself was visibly struggling with the thigh injury he sustained on the third day. He holed out off the bowling of Sipamla eventually, and South Africa claimed the last wicket to seal the match soon after that.

Sri Lanka must now recover, mentally and physically, for what appears to be an even sterner test of their character at the Wanderers, where they have always struggled. They will be without Dhananjaya de Silva for that match, but will hope that seamer Suranga Lakmal can enter the XI, and that Chandimal’s injury is not so severe as to keep him out.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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Day One in South Africa: Andrew’s Assessment

Andrew Fidel Fernando in ESPNcricinfo, 27 December 2020 where the title reads “Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal’s contrasting half-centuries put Sri Lanka in box seat

Sri Lanka 340 for 6 (Chandimal 85, de Silva 79, Mulder 3-68) vs South Africa

Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva raised Sri Lanka from 54 for 3, before each producing effective but contrasting innings that were each brought to a close by misfortune, rather than any significant flaws of their own. Their 131-run stand not only turned around a day that seemed to be going poorly, but also set Sri Lanka on track for their highest ever total in South Africa – their 340 for 6 at day’s end on the cusp of beating the previous best: 342 at Newlands in 2012.

Runs also came quickly on the first day, despite consistent seam movement from this surface, in addition to uneven bounce. Sri Lanka scored at four runs per over across the day – de Silva leading the way with a strike rate of 75 during his innings of 79. That de Silva had to retire hurt with seemingly a serious thigh injury, though, will worry the visitors, who need him for his offspin almost as much as they do for his batting.

South Africa’s inexperienced attack were guilty of being wayward, and were at times too easily hit off their lines and lengths. No one epitomised this better than debutant Lutho Sipamla, who was given the new ball and went for 28 from his first three overs, though his control improved throughout the day, and he even claimed a wicket in the third session.

No South Africa bowler went at less than three runs per over. Even Anrich Nortje, who occasionally crossed 93mph/150kph, and was frequently in the mid-140kph range, was at times taken down by de Silva and other members of the Sri Lanka top order.

Wiaan Mulder took three wickets, but was perhaps fortunate – he had Kusal Perera caught behind chasing a shortish wide ball in the morning, then had a ball leap dramatically off the surface to take Chandimal’s bat handle in the third session (his lbw against Niroshan Dickwella was all him, though). Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Sipamla took a wicket apiece. Keshav Maharaj found some turn toward the end of the day, but was largely forced to try and contain the Sri Lanka batsmen, even as they frequently used their feet to him and tried to attack.

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Dhananjaya de Silva acknowledges his half-century  AFP via Getty Images

While Chandimal top-scored for the day, hitting 85 off 161, there was little doubt that de Silva’s was the more impressive innings. He cruised through the back half of the first session, and finessed the first half of the second, starting his scoring with an imperious flick over midwicket, before unfurling a series of exquisite drives, which defined his knock.

Nortje was fastest through this period, and yet de Silva was utterly unflustered by the pace, creaming a swinging Nortje ball through the covers early in his innings, before smoking him twice past mid on soon after lunch. He reached his fifty with the most effortless shot of the all – a square drive off Wiaan Mulder – and continued to prosper, eleven fours and a six bejeweling his stay.

The six was off Maharaj. The spinner had raised a strong lbw appeal off him the ball before, but de Silva was immediately flitting down the pitch to launch him over long-on.

His injury midway through the afternoon looked awful, however. He was wincing as he pulled up while completing a quick single, and soon collapsed at the non-striker’s end. After several minutes of on-field treatment the decision was made to take him off, and he had to be driven on the back of a buggy, then virtually carried up the stairs to the dressing room. He will undergo scans on Saturday evening, but it did not seem hopeful that he would be able to play a major role in this match.

Where de Silva sailed to a good score, Chandimal ground himself to one. Chandimal’s strike rate was barely breaching 30 at times, though he eventually managed to haul it up to 53 with a spate of boundaries either side of tea. Early on, Chandimal soaked up deliveries and put away the expansive shots, choosing only to punish the truly bad deliveries.

That’s not to say there were no pretty shots – two driven boundaries off Nortje were eyecatching, and he cut viciously whenever bowlers went wide. He seemed determined to get to triple figures, when a Mulder ball trampolined up from a back-of-a-length, took his bat handle, and found Faf du Plessis at slip.

dickwella and Chandimal

Before he was dismissed, though, Chandimal also put on a 99-run partnership with Niroshan Dickwella, who himself fell only one run short of a half-century. Dickwella – now a more mature Test batsman than he once was – played watchfully early in his innings, and did not hit his first boundary until his 16th ball. He was strong on the off side as usual, but missed a flick against Mulder and was correctly given out lbw (though Dickwella reviewed). Sri Lanka’s allrounders – Dasun Shanaka and Wanindu Hasaranga – took the team past the 300 mark, and Shanaka was still around at stumps, on 25 not out.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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Sri Lankan Cricketers in South Africa: Hot News

Bipin Dani

Bipin Dani in Daily Mirror, December 2020

Sri Lankan batsman Oshada Fernando is well on his recovery path, according to team manager and selector on tour Ashantha de Mel.  Speaking from Pretoria, he said, “Oshada has begun walking around the ground though the physio has not put him on run yet.”  The 28-year-old right-hand batsman injured his ankle in the Dambulla Viiking’s match against Kandy Tuskers in the recent Lanka Premier League (LPL). 

Before coming to South Africa, he was looked after by Paul Khoury (Sports Science & Medicine Manager – High Performance Centre of Sri Lanka Cricket).  “Oshada’s ankle mobility is considerably increased and is well looked after by our physio (Ajantha Wattegama), who is also helping him to strengthen the muscles in a gym here,” de Mel added.  “We are hoping he’ll be able to bat within two to three days though he is to miss the first Test. He is likely to be available for the second Test but we are not sure now whether he would be selected to play.”

In other good news, the results of the second PCR test given by all players and support staff members were found to be negative for Covid-19.  

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Mahadevan’s Statistical History of International Cricket in Ceylon 1889s-to-1982

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A NOTE by Michael Roberts, 22 December 2020:This treasure trove of cricketing statistics is a limited edition presented to a number of Sri Lanknn cricketers of the recent past and/or their relatives where they have passed away. I have not seen the book and I thank Alston for this information. This labour of love clearly conveys rare details of visiting teams in the pre-1931 era.”

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Facing Peter May’s MCC Side in Ceylon in 1958

A Sri Lankan enthusiast sent me this photograph of a Ceylon Eleven chosen to face a visiting England Team in 1958. I have sought out background information from two of those framed within this picture ….. and seek more data (and hopefully photographs) from cricketing aficianados with good memories and solid historical sources,

An EMAIL NOTE from Michael Tissera in Colombo, 22 December 2020:

“This was the team picked for the first one day game against Peter May’s MCC side. There was to be a change or two for the second game on the following day. MCC won the toss and sent us into bat. The wicket was softish and the light barely ok. Wickets fell at regular intervals 17, 17, 24, 28, 28 and 40 with Tyson, Loader, Statham and Laker among the wickets, for us to end up 47 for 6 at the lunch break. Lafir14 & Sethupathy 12 n.o. were the only batsmen toenter double figures. I was out for 2 foxed by Loader’s slower ball, going for a drive only to be caught behind. Thereafter it absolutely bucketed down for two whole days so that this matchwas abandoned and the one on the following day never took place.”

An EMAIL NOTE from Chandra Schaffter in Colombo, 21 December 2020:

For some unknown reason the picture of our 1958 team against England has been circulating quite a bit over the last few days and I think Dushy has sent you this.  In actual fact, the 1958 match is nothing great to write about.  It was unusual in many ways because usually, we played the English and Australian team on their way to Australia or England.  It was a one day stop and we played what was virtually a half day game. 

We changed the procedure in 1958, and the English team flew form Bombay to Colombo to play 2 one day games, and then they would catch the ship from Colombo to Australia. 

The Board of Control decided to have two one day games, the first captained by Vernon Prins, the second by C.I. Gunesekera.  Another change was that for the first time, the match was shifted to the SSC from the Oval (I think the terrible riots of 1958 had something to do with it). Anyway the SSC had no real pavilion, and put up a whole lot of cadjan sheds right round the ground to accommodate the crowd.

As you would have read, however, unfortunately, it poured and the match was rained off on the first day after about two hours’ play.  The visitors got drenched and were none too happy with the arrangements.   

I was not selected to play on the second day but I know that the match again was rained off totally and not a ball was bowled.  As you know, October/November are bad months for cricket in Sri Lanka because of the rains.  That is what happened.

One of the things worth mentioning is that Anton Sethupathy’s selection was heavily criticized, and he was booed all the way to the wicket and while he was batting. However, he turned the tables on his detractors, by scoring two beautiful 4’s and remaining not out.  The crowd, in typical fashion, cheered him loudly on his way back.  Apart from that there was nothing of note to report. 

I hope this is of some use. I also happened to play in the 1954 match in Sutton’s team, which of course was played for the full day. ……………Yours sincerely ……………Chandra Schaffter

AN ASIDE from Elmo Rodrigopulle, in the Sunday Observer, 9 June 2013:

“Here is a little anecdote related to me by former Benedictine and Sri Lanka left-hand batsman Anton Sethupathy when I met him during a tour of Australia. Incidentally Sethupathy who is ‘no more’ had the wonderful experience of hitting the great off spinner Jim Laker for three fours in a row when the England team to Australia in 1958 played a one-day game at the SSC which game was ruined by rain.

Here’s the anecdote: Former Commander of the Navy Royce de Mel a keen cricket fan, had wanted Sethupathy to get the autographs of all the England cricketers. Sethupathy had got all of them, but not Trueman’s. Every time he ran into Trueman and requested for his autograph, Trueman would turn his back and refuse. Unable to hold his patience, it struck upon Sethupthy to tell the England Captain Peter May about Trueman’s refusal to give his autograph. ‘Hey Fred, come here and autograph this book’, was the shout from May. A meek Trueman walked up and obliged. So much for his pride. It was a gentleman versus Players situation.

AN ASIDE: Tony Buhar and HIK Fernando walk out to bat on another occasion

AN EMAIL COMMENT fromSanath Lamabadasuriya, 23 December 2020: “This picture [includes] Tony Buhar who opened bowling for St.Josephs college, in the year that Clive Inman  scored 204 retired hurt in the Josephine- Peterite match . The other Josephine bowlers were no push overs either, Chrisantha Fernando ,the captain  opened bowling with Buhar, Rizleigh Rudolph the third pacer and Malcom Berenger, that years school boy bowler of the year. Inman scored his 204 well before the tea break, with 36 boundaries all played along the ground and there were no chances. After about the first 45 minutes there were no slip fielders. The score stands to this day as a big match record and one of the finest innings played at the Colombo oval. Other famous hundreds here were Michael Tisseras hundred against the part West Indian team that carried Wesley Hall and Garfield Sobers as well as Chester Watson. In this match Sobers scored a beautiful century, driving on both sides of the wicket. A. C.M . Lafir opened batting for St. Anthony’s college, Katugastota with Stevens , and they were a very  successful pair in that position.”

Clive Inman at Leicestershire cricket grounds

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Jaffna vs Galle: Andrew weighs the Scales

Andrew Fidel Fernando, in ESPNcricinfo 15 December 2020

Jaffna Viikings
Squad

How the teams stack up

On the surface Galle Gladiators don’t deserve to be in this final. They’ve won only a third of their matches in the tournament, and their semi-final opponents suffered several injuries in Sunday’s nail-biter. And yet, when you look at the attack they’ve suddenly managed to string together towards the end of the tournament, you can’t really begrudge them their place either.

Dhananjaya Lakshan, who swings the ball into the right-hander substantially, and bowls a collection of slower balls, has been perhaps the find of the tournament. Nuwan Thushara, who slings it round-arm like Lasith Malinga, has been effective with the new ball, and at the death. Lakshan Sandakan has found a T20 strategy that seems to be working for him: frequently pushing the ball wide, while also bowling quicker through the air than he used to. Mohammad Amir has led the attack, revelling in the swinging conditions the tournament has seen over the past week. As if by magic, Gladiators have three of the top five wicket-takers in the tournament, Sandakan having taken 11 wickets, while Lakshan and Amir have 10 apiece.

And yet, despite this, Jaffna Stallions feel their attack is still the best in the competition. Largely this is down to Wanindu Hasaranga, who has been the tournament’s middle-overs monster, taking 16 wickets in all and even more impressively, maintaining an economy rate of 5.27 across his 33 overs. To put that economy rate in perspective, no other bowler who has taken a wicket in the LPL can come close to matching it. Batsmen know it is his googly they have to watch out for, and yet have succumbed to it en masse.

There’s variety here too. Usman Shinwari‘s pace can be deployed almost anywhere in the innings. Duanne Olivier has been bowling much slower than he is capable of, but has worked on his control through the course of the tournament. And as seen on Monday, Dhananjaya de Silva is a fine supporting spinner, particularly when bowling to left-handers (Gladiators’ Danushka Gunathilaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa are both leftie batsmen), and Shoaib Malik’s darts can be effective through the middle overs, and even at the death.

On the batting front, there is less to these sides. Gunathilaka has been in searing touch at the top of the innings for Galle, but although they scrambled to their modest target on Sunday, that middle order still seems a little flimsy. Stallions, meanwhile, have had runs from Avishka Fernando and Thisara Perera through the course of the tournament, but there’s no one in that line-up that can be said to be in irresistible form.

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Danushka Gunathilaka tugs one away  LPL

Watch out for

Gunathilaka v Stallions’ spinners

In the two previous matches against Stallions, Gunathilaka made 56 off 44 and 38 off 30, and was dismissed on both occasions by Hasaranga. In the final, he may have to face a different spinner before he even gets to Hasaranga, though. Stallions deployed Dhananjaya de Silva’s offspin at the top of the innings on Sunday, to excellent effect, and perhaps they will do so again to target Gunathilaka in particular.

Mohammad Amir v Avishka Fernando

If there is one team Fernando has enjoyed playing against in this tournament, it has been the Gladiators. He made 92 not out off 63 against them in their first match, and 84 off 59 in the second. Stallions haven’t played them since Amir’s bowling came to life late in the league stage, however, and Fernando has been a nervy starter against pace. If there is swing in the air, this shapes as an intriguing battle.

Head to head

In spirit, this is not the same Gladiators outfit that Stallions had played in the league stage, but for what it’s worth, Stallions eased to two victories chasing down 176 and 171.

Team news

Gladiators are sweating on the fitness of Chadwick Walton and Thushara. Walton, who has pulled a hamstring, is not likely to play, but captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa said he would consider having Walton in the side if he was at least “75% fit”. Thushara, meanwhile, had played the semi-final with a niggle, which may have worsened the injury. He will be assessed on ahead of the match.

Galle Gladiators (probable):1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Ahsan Ali, 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa (capt.), 4 Azam Khan (wk), 5 Sahan Arachchige, 6 Shehan Jayasuriya, 7 Chanaka Ruwansiri, 8 Dhananjaya Lakshan, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Lakshan Sandakan, 11 Nuwan Thushara

Stallions are understood to have a full squad to pick from. It’s likely they will go with the same XI.

Jaffna Stallions (probable): 1 Avishka Fernando, 2 Johnson Charles (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Thisara Perera (capt.), 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Chaturanga de Silva, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Suranga Lakmal, 10 Usman Shinwari, 11 Duanne Olivier

Stats and trivia

Galle Gladiators took their wickets at an abysmal average of 49.05 until their fifth game – easily the worst in the league. In their four most-recent matches they’ve taken their wickets at 18.78, which is easily the best.Wanindu Hasaranga has bowled 97 dot balls in his 33 LPL overs. This means almost half his deliveries have been dots or wickets. He’s only conceded eight sixes and nine fours.Danushka Gunathilaka’s tournament run tally of 475 is 227 better than that of Stallions’ most prolific batsman, Avishka Fernando.When the LPL franchises went on sale, Galle was the first to be snapped up, by Quetta Gladiators owner Nadeem Omar.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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India ‘play’ steady in the Test Selections

Sidharth Monga. in ESPNCcricinfo, 15 December 2020

Wriddhiman SahaR Ashwin and Prithvi Shaw have been named to represent India in the Adelaide Test. Umesh Yadav will be the third seamer. These were the main questions India were contemplating two days before the Test: whether to continue backing the flamboyant Shaw, whether to play a spinner and persist with the safer option of Ashwin, and which of the wicketkeepers to play. On the eve of the day-night Test, they settled all the confusion by naming the XI.

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Shaw had come under pressure with Shubman Gill faring better in the two tour games, in the process impressing the likes of Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar, the legends after whom the series is named. However, Shaw was the incumbent opener and showed in one innings out of four in New Zealand that he can be destructive. He scored 0, 19, 40 and 3 in the two tour games, but more than the scores it was his loose shots that worried Gavaskar and Border. It is understood, though, that with a settled middle order in place, India wanted continuity at the top too and went with the incumbent.

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India announced their XI a day before the Adelaide Test  ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Similarly, the incumbent Test spinner – especially with Ravindra Jadeja’s absence due to injury and concussion – kept his place. The last time India chose against Ashwin in a series opener was on Australia’s tour of 2014-15, a move that was criticised for blooding in Karn Sharma, whose lack of experience showed on a pitch where Australia’s spinner Nathan Lyon proved to be the gamechanger.

Reasonable as it is to play Ashwin, this time around, there could have been a case made for not playing a spinner at all in the series opener because in day-night Tests in Australia, spinners have averaged 49 despite Lyon’s superlative average of 25 in these matches. Lyon’s success is perhaps a sign that world-class spinners have a chance to correct these statistics based on a small sample size of seven Tests. There is no doubt that Ashwin and Lyon have been the two premier spinners in Test cricket, followed only slightly behind by Jadeja, over this decade.

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In the case of the wicketkeeper, however, India dropped the incumbent Pant, who has been preferred to Saha in Tests outside Asia where most of the wicketkeeping is done standing back. It is in India that the team management believes Saha’s superior wicketkeeping skills come into play when standing up to the spinners. The team management seems to have decided that the pink ball does a lot and will require a more established pure wicketkeeper. And Pant’s century in the SCG warm-up notwithstanding, he did have an ordinary New Zealand tour, scoring 60 runs in four innings. He is yet to play for India in any international cricket since then.

Yadav was the frontrunner to be India’s third seamer, replacing the injured Ishant Sharma. Not only does he have Test experience – this is his fourth Australia tour – he also impressed in the only warm-up game he played, taking 3 for 48 and 1 for 14 and also scoring handy runs down the order.

India XI: 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt.), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Hanuma Vihari, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFEATURES

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Jaffna Stallions Trample Dambulla Viikings

Johnson Charles smashed 76 and Wanindu Hasaranga took 3 for 15 to see off Dambulla Viiking

Story Image
Johnson Charles chops to third man  AFP via Getty Images

Jaffna Stallions 165 for 9 (Charles 76, Fernando 39, Pushpakumara 2-24) beat Dambulla Viiking 128 (Tharanga 33, Hasaranga 3-15) by 37 runs

How the game played out

The Jaffna Stallions will meet the Galle Gladiators in the finals of the Lanka Premier League. Though the hope for those watching will be that it will be a touch higher quality affair than the semi-finals that preceded it. This is not to say there wasn’t quality on show in this second semi-final; to the contrary, Wanindu Hasaranga once again highlighted why he’s the leading wicket taker in the tournamentJohnson Charles played the only real innings of substance in the game, while Usman Shinwari couldn’t stop hitting the wickets if he tried.

But the margin of victory, 37 runs, will leave the Viiking more than a little disappointed in their efforts, especially after they had done so well to reel in the Stallions in the first half of the game. On a track tailored for batting, the Viiking felt comfortable chasing – especially with dew expected later in the evening – but they got off to an underwhelming start when Kasun Rajitha dropped an easy chance at deep fine leg to reprieve Charles, who would make the most of this second chance, going on to score a 56-ball 76, putting on stands of 68 and 43 with Avishka Fernando and Charith Asalanka along the way.

But that would be that for the Stallions in terms of meaningful partnerships. When Charles took 19 runs off the 12th over of the game the Stallions were on 108 for 1 and in pole position for a score in the region of 200. The next eight overs would see them lose eight wickets and score just 57 runs – the last five overs were particularly wasteful from the Stallions’ point of view, as they managed just 35 runs, and even worse, just a solitary boundary.

Suffice to say, by the time Charles fell in the 17th over, the game had changed considerably. And having limped to 165 for 9, the Stallions looked 20 runs short at the very least. But that of course doesn’t account for the Hasaranga tax any team playing the Stallions seemingly must pay.

Hasaranga’s 3 for 15 was by far the standout bowling performance of the game, as he took his tournament tally to 16 wickets – comfortably topping the charts. His googly once more proved unreadable by most batsman, accounting for the wickets of Samiullah Shinwari – trapped lbw – Malinda Pushpakumara – caught at slip – and, crucially, Upul Tharanga – who had been the Viiking’s last hope before edging behind for a 39-ball 33. He even managed to end his spell with a wicket maiden.

With Hasaranga doing Hasaranga things, the other bowlers were left to simply reap the benefits of the pressure created, as the Viiking were eventually bundled out for 128.

Stars of the day: Hasaranga, obviously. At 23, he is a genuine star in the making, with game-changing abilities with bat and ball. Simply by virtue of having him in their side, the Stallions head to the final as favourites. But while Hasaranga deservedly gets much of the plaudits, there was one other truly exceptional performance in the game. While Charles’ innings essentially provided the foundation for the Stallions’ total, it was the efforts of Usman Shinwari in the field that turned the game on its head. He made three direct hits, two of which led to crucial run-outs. Without him, the game might have still slipped away from the Stallions.

Turning point: Shinwari running out Dasun Shanaka, who had set off from the non-strikers end for an admittedly ill-advised single after the ball was played to short fine leg. Shanaka was the third highest scorer in the tournament and had already highlighted his ability to take a game away from the opposition, but Shinwari was having none of that.

The big miss: Charles being dropped by Rajitha in the first over of the game. Yes, the Viiking pulled things back towards the end of the game, but 70-plus runs is a hefty penalty to pay for a dropped catch.

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Medical Precautions for Lanka’s SAF Tour

NEWS ITEM: SLC to send additional physician on South Africa tour: Dr. Daminda will address the COVID-19 mitigation. She will ensure the smooth functioning of the team during the Covid pandemic. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board will send an additional doctor with the team on the South Africa tour, it is learnt here. Dr. KAP Kiriella, who has been working for the Ministry of Sports has been assigned the charge to be with the players.

Dr Daminda Attanayake

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Confirming the news from Hambantotoa, where he has replaced Dr. Daminda on LPL assignment, Dr. Kiriella says,”on the South Africa tour, I will be looking after the fitness of the players. In the case of an emergency, I will have to take care of the player.Dr. Kiriella has worked with the national players in the past but this will be his first experience to travel with the team.

Dr. Daminda Attanayake and Head Coach Mickey Arthur have already reached South Africa to do reccy and get everything set up for the team’s arrival after the ongoing Lanka Premier League (LPL). Dr. Daminda will address the COVID-19 mitigation. She will ensure the smooth functioning of the team during the Covid pandemic.

The selectors have put fast bowlers Dilshan Madhushanka and Asitha Fernando on a stand-by list from the 22 players originally scheduled to travel with the team

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