Lakmal hails Rajitha and Kumara


Suranga Lakmal became the first Asian captain to win a Test match in Barbados as Sri Lanka beat West indies by four wickets in the third and final Test match earlier this week. The Sri Lankan cricket team returned home yesterday after a four week tour of the Caribbean.

by Rex Clementine

The national cricket team returned home after a month long tour of the Caribbean having squared the three match series 1-1. Although the result was below expectations against a team placed ninth in ICC rankings, Sri Lanka were able to create history by becoming the first Asian nation to win a Test match in Barbados, a fortress of West Indian cricket that has produced the Three Ws, Sir Garry Sobers, Wesley Hall, Malcolm Marshall, Jeol Garner and a host of others.

Sri Lanka’s win in the final Test without four leading players – Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne and Rangana Herath is noteworthy.

Thirty-year-old Suranga Lakmal, who became the first fast bowler to captain the country in Test cricket, lauded the efforts of the two young quicks – Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha, who played a key role in winning the final Test.

Kumara, who constantly clocked above 140kmph, finished as the second highest wicket taker in the series. His 17 wickets came at 19:88. Only Shannon Gabriel, who took 20 wickets at 14:95, had better figures. Kasun Rajitha, who was playing the debut series finished with 12 wickets at 14:54.

"Kasun and Lahiru bowled exceptionally well. They were not looking like novices and I admired their expertise," Lakmal said.

Sports Minister Faizer Mustapaha was also present at the media briefing and told journalists that no internal inquiry will be held against captain Dinesh Chandimal although he regretted the action taken by the Sri Lankan team to hold up play for two hours on the third day of the second Test in St. Lucia. The Sri Lankans were protesting the umpires decision to change the ball and award West Indies five penalty runs after the tourist were accused of ball tampering.

Chandimal was later suspended for the third and final Test for ball tampering. He faces further sanctions and could miss both Tests against South Africa along with Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha and Manager Asanka Gurusinha for the more serious breach of Level Three offense for bringing the game into disrepute.

"I am disturbed about the team not taking the field. It was wrong not to take the field. This should not have happened. But I can understand the team trying to back the captain," Mustapaha said.

"We regret the team not going onto the field for two hours. We should maintain discipline of the highest order. SLC is committed to spirit of cricket. We maintained that Chandimal was innocent, but the ICC has issued a sanction and we abide by it," Mustapaha added.


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