ahmpg.jpg (4341 bytes) News Opinion Features Business Sports
Third Test at Asgiriya
Will it be a hat-trick?

Althaf Nawaz reporting from Kandy
The frustrated Sri Lankan cricket team is likely to make four changes when they take on Pakistan in the third and final cricket test match at Asgiriya Stadium, today.

After the massive innings and 163 runs defeat in the second test at Galle, the Lankan camp is likely to omit one down out of form batsman Russel Arnold, wicket keeper batsman Romesh Kaluwitharana, left arm leg spinner Rangana Herath and right arm seamer Ravindra Pushpakumara. They are likely to be replaced by left hand batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who could make his debut, in test cricket, in front of his home crowd. If he gets an opportunity, Sangakkara will be Sri Lanka’s test player, number 83. He will have to occupy Russel Arnold’s berth. Prasanna Jayawardena, who had an excellent series against Zimbabwe ‘A’ behind the wickets is likely to replace Kaluwitharana, who is going through a bad patch. Nuwan Zoysa, sidelined due to injury in the second test, will make a come back and will share the new ball with Chaminda Vaas.

Kumara Dharmasena, recalled after seventeen months, will share the old ball with Muttiah Muralitharan.

Although the Lankans have lost the series 2-0, they will be hoping to restore their image at least with a draw. The second test defeat was the heaviest in Lankan cricket history.

The top order batsmen, including skipper Sanath Jayasuriya, have failed to pile up the runs, which was one of the reasons for the downfall. Apart from deputy skipper, Marvan Atapattu , the other top batsmen like Russel Arnold and Aravinda de Silva, will have to score big if Sri Lanka are to succeed.

The middle order batting, spearheaded by former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and Mahela Jayawardena were among runs. But they will have to maintain the consistency and carry on with the good work they did in the second test.

The bowling department was not up to the mark. Muralitharan was the only bowler to trouble the Pakistan top order, but was thrashed by the Pakistan tail. It seems that he is being over bowled, and the team depends too much on him. If this continues, Muralithan’s might be in real trouble, in the future. Dharmasena will need to support him.

The Sri Lankan seamers headed by Chaminda Vaas have failed to impress. Vaas went wicketless in the second test but bowled accurately without giving away many runs. His new partner Ravindra Pushpakumara was expensive and failed to maintain rhythm. With the inclusion of Zoysa, the seam attack should have some sting.

Pakistan are expected to retain the same side which played in Galle. The pace duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Yoonus, prefer this venue as the climatic conditions suit them.

The conditions in Kandy are ideal for them.

Sri Lanka has played eight matches at Asgiriya. They have won two and lost four, while two have ended in draws. They have lost to Pakistan by an innings on both occasions played here. Lanka’s previous success was against Australia last year. They beat them by six wickets, under the leadership of Jayasuriya. So far, under Jayasuriya’s captaincy, Sri Lanka has played eleven matches, winning four and losing three. There have been four draws.

The wicket is likely to favour the batsmen, but sudden climatic changes might assist the seam bowlers.

• How Sri Lanka has fared at Asgiriya:

1982/83- Vs Australia lost by innings and 38 runs

1983/84- Vs New Zealand lost by 165 runs

1985/86- Vs India drawn

1985/86- Vs Pakistan lost by innings and 20 runs

1993/94- Vs India drawn

1994/95- Vs Pakistan lost by innings and 52 runs

1997/98- Vs Zimbabwe beat by 8 wkts.

1999/2000- Vs Australia beat by 6 wkts.

• The teams will be picked from:

Sri Lanka- Sanath Jayasuriya (Capt.), Marvan Atapattu (V.Capt), Russel Arnold, Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardena, Arjuna Ranatunga, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumara Dharmasena, Kumar Sangakkara, Prasanna Jayawardena,Upul Chandana and Avishka Gunawardena.

Pakistan- Moin Khan (Capt.), Inzamam-ul-Haq (V.Capt.), Saeed Anwar, Mohamed Wasim, Yusuf Youhana, Younis Khan, Abdur Razzaq, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Azar Mehmood, Arshad Khan, Imran Nazir, Mushtaq Ahamed, Shoaib Malik, Qaisar Abbas, Shabbir Ahamed.

Umpires: Peter Manual (SL), Steve Bucknor (West Indies)

T.V. Umpire: B.C.Cooray

Match Referee: John Reid (New Zealand)


An intolerable burden on Murali’s shoulders

by R. L. Fernando
Sri Lanka’s strike bowler Muttiah Muralitharan is undoubtedly being overbowled which is the view of several cricket fans in the country. As a result, they say that Murali may even breakdown and cause disaster to our national team which is at present asking too much from him.

Murali may have the ability to bowl long spells, and keep one end going, but it must be remembered that he is human and could be subjected to shortcomings. It is also understandable, that Murali will add to his tally of wickets when he over bowls. But is he then performing to capture wickets or buy his wickets.

Let us accept the fact that the Pakistan, Indian and Australian batsmen are all competent against good spin bowling and they have often shown that Murali although rated as a spin bowler who can turn the ball on any strip, could be mastered and flogged.

On the other hand, Murali being used in short spells could also have a disadvantage to our national team as during the time he is off the firing line, the score would have mounted in leaps and bounds due to the inability of the other bowlers to contain the batsmen.

What Sri Lanka badly needs is a good supporting bowler to Murali and "one" who could bowl accurately and economically and close one end up (regardless of being wicketless) while Murali attacks at the other end.

Most of the spin bowlers who have partnered Murali in recent times, have failed to make the grade (their names, being too many to mention). Our national selectors seem to have been experimenting in finding other spin bowlers and probably those who received their national caps could be tagged as the "best of the worst lot."

Cricket fans, would recollect that great spin bowlers often performed in pairs. Among them were England’s right arm off spinner, Jim Laker and left armer Tony Lock. Laker took the wickets while Lock put up the shutters, at one end. The West Indies had the famous duo right arm off spinner Sonny Ramadhin and left armer Alfred Valentine. Both of them were equally dangerous but it was Ramadhin who did most of the damage. India were boastful of the duos Bishen Singh Bede Chandrasekar and Venkatraghavan/ Prasanna combinations who were all dangerous bowlers.

We would then talk of Sri Lanka’s best combination to date left arm spinner Ajit de Silva and right armer Lalith Kaluperuma who excelled from our inception in test cricket in 1982. Both of them enjoyed a harvest of wickets on their day.

Our national team today lacks that quality of bowlers and it‘s time the national selectors combed the country to find a partner for Murali as long as he continues to play.


BCCSL backs down

by Shirajiv Sirimane
The Cricket Board (BCCSL), has decided to write to the International Cricket Council (ICC) requesting them to retain Ranjan Madugalle, on the ICC International Match Referees’ Panel.

The BCCSL had earlier decided to nominate two former Test Captains Bandula Warnapura and Duleep Mendis, along with Madugalle’s name, giving the option for the ICC to select two members. The Board had strongly decided not to include Sri Lanka’s other former international match referee Sidath Wettimuny.

The Board had said that they nominated Warnapura and Mendis as they felt that other former test cricketers too should be given the honour of being on this exclusive panel.

But ‘The Island’ understands that the Sports Minister S. B. Dissanayake had insisted, amidst growing pressure from the public, that Madugalle at least not be axed from this panel. Wettamuni served as the Chairman of the selectors and also member of the Interim Cricket Board before the present BCCSL took over.

Meanwhile it had been also decided to appoint Malcolm Perera, Director, Coaching Committee, to fill the void created by the removal of D. S. De Silva from the post of Youth Cricket Coach last week. He will hold this post until Sri Lankan born Australian, Owan Mottau arrives to take over this post.


Rain in the hills can affect third Test match

by Hafiz Marikar in Kandy
The rainy weather in Kandy at present may have a say on the 3rd cricket test to be played between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Asgiriya Stadium, which starts today.

Both the Pakistan and Sri Lanka teams arrived here on Monday and the latter had a workout at the grounds from 3.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.

On Monday both teams were hosted to dinner by the Chief Minister of the Central Province Nandimithra Ekanayake at the Le Kandyan Hotel where the teams are housed.

On Monday, the Pakistanis kept off training, and instead were seen playing billiards and snooker at the hotel.

Pakistan coach Javed Miandad said that his boys were brimming with confidence after winning the first and second tests. Miandad who last played at Asgiriya in 1987 under Imran Khan recollected how Pakistan won by an innings with two days to spare.

The last test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was played in 1994 at Asgiriya. Pakistan was led by Salim Malik and the Sri Lankans by Arjuna Ranatunga. That game too went in favour of the Pakistanis, where Waqar Younis bowled superbly.

If the weather keeps fine today’s match should provide good cricket, where the cricket loving fans of the hills are expecting an improved performance from Sanath Jayasuriya, Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Marvan Atapattu, Romesh Kaluwitharane, Kandy’s Muttiah Muralitharan. There is also news that Kandy’s Kumar Sangakkara will win his test cap.

The organisers, Kandy District Cricket Association have finalised all arrangements according to Secretary, Janaka Pathirana.


Have your say
Reflections on the 100th Test match defeat

It was with disappointment that we watched victory in the first test match slowly but surely slip into Pakistan’s hands. What was discouraging was that Sri Lanka could easily have won the match. Alas! One man stood in the way, the hero - Wasim Akram.

We should learn a thing or two from Pakistan. Firstly, the patience with which Akram and Arshad Khan batted was magnificent. Our bowlers just couldn’t get the last wicket and paid the penalty. The Pakistanis are fully aware that our batsmen don’t like being tied down and that they either hit out or get out. However, in test cricket especially, as our cricketers are aware, the most important factor is building partnerships and for this a great deal of patience and application are required.

Our bowlers also must improve their performance. They must take a leaf out of the Pakistanis book - Wasim and Waqar always make the opposition batsman play. They often get the initial breakthrough for the team. It is very important that the batsmen are made to play instead of leave the ball, especially when the new ball is taken. Unfortunately our bowlers don’t make the batsman play enough. Further, time and again our bowlers have failed to ‘go through’ the tail. Here too, it was marvellous to watch the Pakistanis persist to the very end.

Our fielding also requires much improvement. Catches win matches. Herein lies the advantage of having young agile fielders.

We look forward to a more professional and improved all round performance from our team in the next two games. We have the talent - all it takes is more commitment, application and belief in oneself that we are as strong as our opponents. With these simple things in mind, great results could be achieved.
Cricket Fans — Wattala


NAASU’s 5th Outstation Novices Meet on July 8

The Fifth Outstation Novices Swimming Meet conducted by the National Amateur Aquatic Sports Union (NAASU) will be held on July 8, (Saturday) at the Royal College pool from 9.00 a.m.

This year’s meet will be conducted in five age groups Under 10, 12, 14, 16 and 19 for both girls and boys.

According to NAASU, all the entries for this meet should be registered under their respective union. No finalists from the outstation swimming championships upto 1999 nor any swimmer who was placed first, second or third at any NAASU - registered meet (including previous outstation novices meets) could participate in this meet.

This would be a big occasion for talented swimmers outside Colombo to prove their worth.(SOS)


All Island Inter-School Squash 2000
Musaeus squash them all!

Musaeus College and Royal College, Colombo dominated the schools squash tournament, as they emerged overall champs in the girls and boys divisions respectively, in the All Island Inter School Squash Championships held recently, at S. Thomas’ Courts, Mt. Lavinia.

The Girls’ team C’ship too was won by Musaeus and their girls took away four major trophies out of five age group divisions. S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia won the boys’ team title.

Here are the names of winners of champion trophies:

Overall Championship:

Girls — Musaeus College

Boys — Royal College

Team Championship:

Girls — Musaeus College

Boys — S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia

GIRLS

Under 19 Champion:

Nisanga Mayadunne (Musaeus College), Runners-up: Souri Wijesinghe (Visakha Vidyalaya)

Under 17 Champion:

Ransi Lankage (Asian International), Runners-up: Randika Dissanayake (Musaeus College)

Under 15 Champion:

Madara Dayasiri (Musaeus College), Runners-up: Menusha Hettiarachchi (H.F.C. Bambalapitiya)

Under 13 Champion:

Tehani Guruge (Musaeus College), Runners-up: Vajira Karunaratne (Visakha Vidyalaya)

Under 11 Champion:

Tasha Guruge (H.F.C. Bambalapitiya), Runners-up: Sara Fernando (St. Bridgets Convent)

BOYS

Under 19 Champion:

Navin Samarasinghe (Stafford International), Runners-up: Eranjan Kempitiya (Royal College)

Under 17 Champion:

Malinda Sugatapala (S.T.C., Mt. Lavina), Runners-up: Kavin Jayawardena (S.T.C., Mt. Lavinia)

Under 15 Champion:

Harin Perera (Royal College), Runners-up: Zashan Zaheer (Royal College)

Under 13 Champion:

Eranga Alwis (S.T.C. Mt. Lavinia), Runners-up: Akitha Gunasekera (Royal College)

Under 11 Champion;

Prawin Perera (Royal College), Runners-up: S. Wijeweera (S.T.C. Mt. Lavinia).

Up

ahmpg.jpg (4341 bytes) News Opinion Features Business Sports