Trevor Rodrigo reporting from Melbourne in Sunday Times
Athula Samarasekera led a spirited Sri Lanka team to a convincing 50-run win over a well balanced Greek side in an exciting T20 cricket encounter organised by Serendib News to mark Australia Day at Sheply Oval, Dandenong. The Sri Lankan side batting first lost quick wickets and at one stage were precariously placed at 54 for 4 with its stars, skipper Samarasekera and former Sri Lanka opening bat Michael Vandort dismissed cheaply. But a superb hustle by the middle order and some lucrative rear guard action saw them recover to make a par score of 141 in their allotted over’s. Greece, with some talented club cricketers in their ranks including Dandenong District cricketer D. Nanapolous, a top all-rounder, were behind the eight ball when they let their opponents off the hook after some tight bowling early, and then faced an imposing target set by the Lankans.
They took up the challenge gamely and at one stage threatened to run away with the match as their batsmen bludgeoned the Lankan spinners to all parts of the ground. But some crafty bowling, superb fielding and smart catching by the Sri Lankans reeled them in and sealed their fate by the 19th over by which stage they had crumbled to 83 for 7 and conceded defeat.
Serendib News did a wonderful job in organising this event which gave hundreds of Sri Lankans a chance to enjoy a day out on a glorious summer day.
Web editor: The event was featured in a short presentation by SBS that evening Australia Day or the next day. Such a feature documentary is a rare event. Note that Athula Samarasekera of Mahinda, Tamil Union and Sri Lanka now sports a Yul Brynner appearance and is not the laamaka young man featured in our photograph!