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Perera blitz helps Sri Lanka beat India

Kusal Perera hit a blazing half-century to power Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over India in the opening Twenty20 of the tri-nation Nidahas Trophy tournament on Tuesday.

Chasing 175 for victory, the hosts rode on Perera's 37-ball 66 to achieve their target with nine balls to spare at Colombo's R Premadasa Stadium.

The left-handed Perera, who hit six fours and four sixes, overshadowed Indian opener Shikar Dhawan's career-best 90 that saw the visitors post 5-174 after being put into bat first.

Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar hurt Sri Lanka's chase by picking up two wickets each but Perera's fiery start made sure the hosts stand tall.

The islanders lost an early wicket but a 58-run second-wicket partnership between Perera, who notched up his eighth T20 fifty, and Danushka Gunathilaka put their innings back on track.

Perera, who hit paceman Shardul Thakur for 27 runs with five fours and a six in the third over of the innings, took the steam out of the inexperienced Indian bowling attack.

Perera faltered though after getting stumped to Sundar's off spin as the Sri Lankan chase wobbled with the Indian bowlers coming back with some disciplined effort.

Thisara Perera, 22, and Dasun Shanaka, 15, then put on an unbeaten 39-run stand to keep up the spirits of a raucous home crowd.

Earlier Dhawan's 49-ball blitz, laced with six fours and six sixes, lifted India from a precarious 2-9 to put up a respectable total.

Dhawan put on a crucial 95-run third-wicket stand with Manish Pandey, who made 37, to test the Sri Lanka bowling but missed out on a ton after falling to Gunathilaka's off-spin.

Pace spearhead Dushmantha Chameera claimed two wickets including the prized scalp of India skipper Rohit Sharma for nought in the first over of the innings.

India will take on Bangladesh in the next match of the tournament, which is timed to commemorate Sri Lanka's 70 years of independence, on Thursday.

India are competeing without a number of key players, including Virat Kohli, who is taking time off ahead of India's tour of England later this year.

Kohli missed the final T20 against South Africa, while MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have all also been left out of the 15-man squad which is captained by Rohit Sharma.

"India have decided to rest their star players after the arduous South Africa tour and this gives an opportunity to some young players to show their mettle and that they are ready for international cricket," wrote former India captain Sunil Gavaskar in his Times of India column.

"These players have done well in the ongoing domestic limited overs games and won't be short of experience either as they play in the IPL too.

"The selectors clearly have an eye not just on the 2019 ICC World Cup in England but beyond as some senior players may well want to retire from the international scene then.

"It should be an absorbing event as the T20 format usually is, but on the flat pitches of the Emerald Isle it could well be the batsmen who will be the setters and game changers."

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Malinga still in game plans: SLC Chief Selector Labrooy

As seamer Lasith Malinga mulls retirement from international cricket after being consistently snubbed for national selection to build a career in mentoring, but chief cricket selector Graeme Laboory did not rule out a possible Malinga return depending on his form and fitness.

“He is very much in our game plan,” Labrooy stated.

“We have not written him off completely. If he can prove his form and fitness in domestic cricket, we would consider him.

"We learn that he has stated that he does not mind being the bowling mentor for Sri Lanka for the 2019 World Cup, but, officially we have not heard any intimation of that nature and he remains in our radar".

Also in an interview with the Sunday Times two weeks ago Malinga said he’s exploring opportunities to venture into mentoring as the prospect of a return seems a distant dream for the 34-year-old.

Malinga who was a permanent fixture with the Mumbai Indians since the inception of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will not play this year, instead he will be their bowling mentor this season.

With 492 international wickets across all three formats, Malinga last played for Sri Lanka in September 2017 against India, at home.

Even though Sri Lanka played two more series later that year, with Pakistan and India, he did not find a place in the final squad.

Yet, not only was he kept out of the final squad of 16 that left for Bangladesh in mid-January for the tri-series, he wasn’t among the 23 players initially picked for the tour–a clear indication of what awaits who was once a most feared and successful limited-over bowler for Sri Lanka.

“If my services are not required any longer as a player, it’s time to move on.

I know there’s still cricket left in me and if I cannot contribute as a player, I am ready to venture into mentoring leading up to the World Cup,” Malinga stated two weeks ago.

“I believe in teaching by examples. I can get into the field and show how to bowl a yorker. This is important. I think if I cannot contribute as a player, I will definitely look at this option going into the World Cup,” he said adding that he has been in discussions with few interested parties at present.

Malinga owns four limited-over hat-tricks for Sri Lanka, including a rear four wickets in four balls against South Africa at the 2007 World Cup.

He was arguably Sri Lanka’s most influential bowler during the country’s excellent run in global tournaments from 2007 to 2014.

Since returning to the side after a knee-surgery, however, his form has been patchy.

In 2017, Malinga took 12 wickets in six T20Is and 10 wickets in 13 ODIs.

There were 12 missed catches off his ODI bowling that do not show up in his final tally.

(Sunday Times)

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Lakmal, Pradeep back in squad for tri-series

Sri Lanka can once again call on the services of two of their best quicks with Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep named in the squad for their T20I Tri-series against India and Bangladesh.

The pacemen have recovered from injuries that saw them sidelined during the trip to Bangladesh.

Providing back up to the two experienced pacemen will be the express Dushmantha Chameera and left-armer Isuru Udana.

Allrounders Angelo Mathews and Asela Gunaratne and seamer Shehan Madushanka are all absent through injury.

Legspinner Jeffery Vandersay has been dropped with only two specialist spinners named in the group in the shape of Akila Dananjaya and Amila Aponso but they will enjoy the support of spin bowling allrounders Dananjaya de Silva and Jeewan Mendis.

Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella has also been axed with the gloves likely to be taken either by skipper Dinesh Chandimal or Upul Tharanga.

Kusal Perera has satisfied the selectors as to his fitness and he slots back into the side as well which will come as some relief to a team hampered by injuries.

T20 squad: Dinesh Chandimal (Capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Dananjaya de Silva


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Rangana Herath and Akila Dananjaya rewrite record books

Rangana Herath went past Wasim Akram to become the most prolific left-arm bowler in Test history when he dismissed Bangladesh's last wicket. Akram took 414 wickets at an average of 23.62 in 104 matches. Herath, on the other hand, was playing only the 89th Test of his career. New Zealand's Daniel Vettori is third on this list with 362 wickets from 113 matches. Chaminda Vaas, Mitchell Johnson and Zaheer Khan are the only other left-armers to take at least 300 Tests wickets.

Herath lived up to his reputation of being a deadly bowler in the fourth innings of a Test, taking 4 for 49 in Bangladesh's second innings. Including this innings, Herath's last-ten fourth-innings bowling in Tests have fetched him 46 wickets at a frugal average of 12.52. Overall, Herath has taken 106 wickets at an average of 18.33 in fourth innings. His fourth-innings haul now equals Muttiah Muralitharan's, whose wickets came at an average of 21.01. Only Shane Warne, with 138 wickets at an average 23.14, has taken more wickets in fourth innings of Tests than the Sri Lankan duo.

Roshen Silva's impressive start

In Sri Lanka's second innings, Roshen Silva showed excellent defensive technique and Test-match temperament to register his second fifty of the match in difficult batting conditions. Roshen had begun his career with a duck in his debut innings, but since then has made at least a fifty in each of the four innings he has batted in. This puts him in an exclusive club of batsmen who have made four fifty-plus scores in their first five Test innings. Australia's Herbie Collins, India's Sunil Gavaskar and Mohammad Azharuddin are the only other batsmen to have such a prolific start to their Test careers.

De Silva's 309 runs, at an average of 103.00, is also the second most any Sri Lanka batsman has made in his first five innings. Asela Gunaratne had made 310 runs in the first five innings of his Test career, which are the most.

Akila Dananjaya makes a historical debut

 Akila Dananjaya added a five-for in the second innings - thus becoming only the third Sri Lanka debutant to get a five-wicket haul - to his first innings haul of three wickets to end up with match figures of 8 for 44. These are the best match figures by a Sri Lanka bowler on debut. Dananjaya's figure bettered the 8 for 132 that Ajantha Mendis took on his debut against India at the SSC, Colombo, in 2008.

Dananjaya's average in this match of just 5.50 runs per wicket is the lowest in Test history when a debutant has taken eight or more wickets in the match. It betters the 6.50 runs-per-wicket average that Albert Trott returned on his debut against England in Adelaide in 1894-95. In fact, Dananjaya's 5 for 24 in Bangladesh's second innings is one of the cheapest five-fors by a debutant in Test history.

Bangladesh batsmen didn't make Dananjaya work for his wickets, conceding five wickets in just the five overs that the debutant bowled in their second innings. His strike-rate of 6 balls per wickets in the third-best for a spinner in Test History to take a five-for. Overall, only in five other instances has a bowler been made to bowl fewer balls per wicket for his five-wicket haul.

 Bangladesh batsmen fall like tenpins

The absence of any resistance from the Bangladesh batsmen meant that their second innings lasted just 29.3 overs. However, this innings ranks only the fourth-worst in terms of the number of overs Bangladesh have made the opposition bowl before being bowled out. The fewest they have lasted is 25.2 overs, which also came against Sri Lanka, in the first innings of the match in Colombo in 2007.

Bangladesh's first innings in this match also weren't too long and lasted only 45.4 overs. In total, they were bowled out twice in this match in only 451 balls, making it the second-fewest balls they have lasted in a Test in which they have been bowled out twice. The fewest deliveries they have played in a Test is 430, which was against the same opposition in 2005-06.

Source : ESPN

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Skipper Mathews ruled out of Nidahas trophy

Sri Lanka limited-overs captain Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of next month´s tri-nation Twenty20 tournament after failing to recover from a hamstring injury, the country´s cricket board said Tuesday.

The hosts will be led by Dinesh Chandimal in the series starting March 6 at Colombo´s R Premadasa Stadium. India and Bangladesh are the other two teams.

Sri Lanka Cricket announced a 20-man preliminary squad that will be cropped to 15 on Wednesday.

"Angelo Mathews was not considered for selection as he is still recovering from the injury he suffered during the concluded Tri-Nation Series in Bangladesh," the board said in a release.

Mathews, 30, was in January named as Sri Lanka´s captain in the shorter format until the 2019 World Cup.

But the all-rounder has been beset by injuries and has led the side in just a single one-day international, against Zimbabwe in Dhaka last month.

Sri Lanka recently swept their Bangladesh tour, winning both the Test and T20 series, after a come-from-behind win in the tri-series involving Zimbabwe.


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Injured Mathews ruled out of Bangladesh T20s

Limited-overs skipper Angelo Mathews' injury troubles continue to hurt Sri Lanka as he has been ruled out of the two-match T20I series against Bangladesh, beginning February 15 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.

The 30-year-old has been struggling with a hamstring injury since the start of the last year after picking up the same during South Africa tour, ESPNcricinfo reported.

As a result, the all-rounder was subsequently forced to skip South Africa and India tour and now he is all set to miss the third-consecutive overseas series in Bangladesh.

Earlier, it was suggested that Mathews could have been fit enough to play in the ongoing Test series, but it now looks unlikely that he would even be available for next month's Nidahas Trophy - a T20 tri-series featuring Bangladesh and India.

Last month, Mathews was reappointed as the captain of Sri Lanka's limited-overs side, less than six months after stepping down from the post.

The shift in captaincy came in less than two months after Thisara Perera was named as Sri Lanka's skipper for the ODI and T20I matches against India in November 2017, replacing Upul Tharanga.

The change came in the wake of poor performances and whitewash losses under Tharanga's captaincy.

Sri Lanka are scheduled to play the second Test of the two-match series against Bangladesh on February 8 before heading into the T20Is. The Nidahas Trophy is slated to be held from March 8.


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Sri Lanka to face India in 'Nidahas' trophy opener

India and Sri Lanka will begin the tri-nation series in the island nation on March 6. The series, also involving Bangladesh, has been brought forward by two days from the originally planned start of March 8 to allow the organisers to keep the final for a Sunday. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board are hoping to bring in larger crowds by keeping the final, scheduled for March 18, on a weekend as compared to on a weekend. All games in the series will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium and will begin at 7 PM local time (7 PM IST).

Both India and Bangladesh will arrive in Sri Lanka on March 4. As per Cricbuzz, Bangladesh will play a warm-up game ahead of the series, India will begin without a practice match. The top-ranked India will come into the series having finished their tour of South Africa.

The seven-match T20 series is being played to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 70th year of independence. The Lankan board is expecting a minimum $6.5 million windfall from the series from sale of TV and marketing rights.

Previously the Nidhas Trophy was played in 1998 to mark Sri Lanka’s 50th year of independence and had the islanders host India and New Zealand. In the final, India beat Sri Lanka by 7 runs.

 Nidhas Trophy schedule:

March 6 – India vs Sri Lanka at RPS, Colombo at 7 PM

March 8 – India vs Bangladesh at RPS, Colombo at 7 PM

March 10 – Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh at RPS, Colombo at 7 PM

March 12 – India vs Sri Lanka at RPS, Colombo at 7 PM

March 14 – India vs Bangladesh at RPS, Colombo at 7 PM

March 16 – Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh at RPS, Colombo at 7 PM

March 18 – Final at RPS, Colombo at 7 PM


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SLC to inculcate a culture of sound nutrition and fitness regime among players

Sri Lanka Cricket is focusing on inculcating a culture of a sound nutrition and fitness regime across the first class and emerging cricket players in Sri Lanka, in order to produce cricketers, who can consistently perform at the highest level of the game, a release from from SLc said today.

Rob Chave, SLC’s Manager of Physical Performance who is operating from the High Performance Center in Kettarama says in order to realize the objective, SLC is currently working towards encouraging the Premier and Emerging Cricket Clubs in the country to adopt a squad and individual player focused fitness and nutrition regimes.

“This kind of a system will help to build a player with the right endurance, strength and body composition, which in-turn will contribute to a player improving their on-field performance markers of speed and agility,’’ said Chave.

As a part of the process, Sri Lanka Cricket recently conducted a workshop to educate the Coaches of the Premier and Emerging Clubs to educate them on how to go about the task. 30 coaches, representing 14 Premier and 09 Emerging Clubs took part in the programme.

During the workshop, Rob Chave, who has worked with tennis players in the South of Spain and also Sussex CCC’s 1st team squad and academy squads before moving to Sri Lanka explained the path that clubs should take to produce more robust, athletic and consistent cricketers, and also explained on how to provide a physical fitness pathway to both individual player and team as a whole.

He elaborated on the nutrition requirement for athletes and how the Sri Lankan diet can be manipulated to suit the needs of a player, by balancing the composition and portioning of the required nutrients; carbohydrate, protein and vegetables.

The workshop was conducted under the auspices of the SLC’s Coach Education unit, headed by Heshan De Mel, Chamila Gamage and Janaka Deegodagamage and was supported by Mr. Simon Willis, the Head of SLC’s High Performance Centre.

The Workshop in progress


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Mendis leads Sri Lanka to T20 series sweep over Bangladesh

Sri Lanka completed a 2-0 T20 international series win over Bangladesh with a 75-run victory in the second and final game in Sylhet.

Kusal Mendis top scored in Sri Lanka's 210-4 with 70 from 42 balls, three days after he hit 53 in Dhaka as the visitors won the first game of the series by six wickets.

Mendis put on 98 with opening partner Danushka Gunathilaka (42), who was dropped twice, before Thisara Perera (31 off 17), Upul Tharanga (25 off 13) and Dasun Shanaka (30no off 11) pummelled boundaries.

Mahmudullah, standing in as skipper for the injured Shakib Al Hasan, struck 41 for Bangladesh before he was run out by Jeevan Mendis as the home side slumped to 135 all out in 18.4 overs.

Sri Lanka's success adds to a 1-0 win in the preceding Test series - the first Test in Chittagong was drawn before the tourists hammered the hosts by 215 in the second in Dhaka - and victory in an ODI Tri-Series that also featured Zimbabwe.

(Sky Sports)


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Spin-heavy Bangladesh to face upbeat Sri Lanka in 1st Test

Bangladesh are depending on their spin force led by veteran Abdur Razzaq to deliver the opening punch against Sri Lanka in the first of two Tests starting Wednesday.

Razzaq, 35, was the third spinner added to the squad for the match in Chittagong after skipper and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out with a finger injury.

Uncapped left-arm orthodox spinner Sunzumul Islam and leg-spinner Tanbir Hayder are also part of the 16-man squad to be led by Mahmudullah Riyad.

Razzak, who played the last of his 12 Tests against West Indies in 2014, is determined to prove that the selectors made the right call.

"Shakib is the best player, not just in our team (but) he is also the best all-rounder in the world," Razzak told reporters in Chittagong.

"It's difficult to replace him because you need to pick a bowler and batsman in his place and still there is no guarantee that they will perform equally good.

"I will try to play my normal game without trying anything extraordinary," the left-arm spinner said.

Bangladesh have been a dominant home side after registering memorable Test wins against England and Australia in the 2016-17 season.

But their only Test win against Sri Lanka came in their landmark 100th Test in Colombo, when the visitors drew the two-match series 1-1.

Sri Lanka, led by Dinesh Chandimal, are upbeat after their recent triumph in the tri-series one-day international tournament. They beat Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday.

They will also seek inspiration from their 2-0 Test triumph over Pakistan in the UAE last year.

However, Sri Lanka also have a gap to fill after veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews was ruled out of the first game due to injury.

Manager Asanka Gurusinha confirmed that the team would not seek a replacement for Mathews.

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have so far played 18 Tests against each other, with the islanders winning 15 of them.


Bangladesh: Mahmudullah Riyad (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mosaddek Hossain, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Kamrul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Naeem Hasan, Sunzamul Islam, Tanbir Hayder, Abdur Razzak.

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Roshen Silva, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Gamage, Lahiru Kumara. (AFP)

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Sri Lanka to host 2023 World Cup?

An ongoing tax issue has put India’s hosting rights in doubt and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has turned towards Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as alternative sites for the 2021 ICC Champions Trophy and 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Is the BCCI at fault?

The BCCI is not at fault but the issue lies with the Indian Government’s stance of not approving a tax exemption to the ICC. If they decide to go ahead, the ICC may lose up to $100 million.

Despite granting a tax exemption for the Champions Trophy held in 2006 and the World Cup held in 2011, the UPA government abstained from doing the same for the ICC World T20 in 2016.

world cup

The 13th edition of the Cricket World Cup, scheduled to be hosted by India, from 9 February to 26 March 2023.

 The tournament is five years away but the ICC is keen on making a decision in the near future as preparations take a long time.

“The Board expressed their concern around the absence of a tax exemption from the Indian Government for ICC events held in India despite ongoing efforts from both the ICC and BCCI to secure the exemption which is standard practice for major sporting events around the world,” the ICC said in a media release, after aboard meeting in Dubai.

“The Board agreed that ICC management, supported by the BCCI will continue the dialogue with the Indian Government but in the meantime directed ICC management to explore alternative host countries in a similar time zone for the ICC Champions Trophy 2021.”

With over five well equipped international stadiums, the island nation will be favored to take over if India fails to win hosting rights. However, the BCCI has not given up just yet.

“The BCCI is a party to tax exemption decisions and hence it’s bound by it. The BCCI did not get the exemption for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup held in India. BCCI and ICC officials have shown documents from countries that gave tax exemption for ICC events to Arun Jaitley (Union Finance Minister). The ICC members believe that they should not lose money,” a source close to the BCCI told Sportstar.


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IPL heavyweight Malinga goes unsold

Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga, arguably the highest-profile overseas batsman and bowler in seasons past, went unsold on day one of the IPL 2018 auction in Bangalore. Gayle had set his base price at INR 2 crore (USD 312,500 approx) and Malinga at INR 1 crore (USD 156,000 approx), numbers that were breached several times in the sale of other players during the day. Gayle was eventually bought on day two of the auction.

Malinga aside, there were several high-profile fast bowlers who went unsold in the afternoon: Ishant Sharma, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Josh Hazlewood and Tim Southee. The No. 1 ranked Twenty20 bowler in the world, New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, went unsold as well.

However, Sri Lankan Cricketers, Akila Dananjaya and Dushmantha Chameera have been selected to play at the 2018 India Premier League (IPL).

Akila Dananjaya was taken for Indian Rs. 5 million by Mumbai Indians and Dushmantha Chameera was also taken for Indian Rs. 5 million by Rajasthan Royals, at the selections, held on January 27 and 28.

However, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera were not sold at the auction but Chris Gayle was taken by Kings XI Punjab yesterday.

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