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Nic Pothas quits as Sri Lanka's fielding coach

Sri Lanka's fielding coach Nic Pothas has ended his coaching contract with Sri Lanka to spend time with his young family, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old joined Sri Lanka in 2016 as fielding coach but was unexpectedly elevated to the post of head coach after Graham Ford’s abrupt exit in June last year.

Under his stewardship Sri Lanka were thumped in a home series against India and humiliated by cricket minnows Zimbabwe in a one-day international tournament.

The islanders did however record a 2-0 Test series win over Pakistan last year in the United Arab Emirates.

Pothas and several other players then refused to travel to Pakistan for the final Twenty20 international of the tour, citing security concerns.

After six months at the helm, he was replaced by former Sri Lanka Test batsman Chandika Hathurusingha, who was named head coach in December.

He remained as fielding coach and had been expected to stay until August but Sri Lanka Cricket announced that the South African called it a day on Friday.

“After two incredible years with Sri Lanka cricket, this is the right time for me to move on to other opportunities, which will allow me to spend quality time with my young family,” Pothas said in a statement issued by the cricket board.


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Chamari Atapattu to captain Sri Lankan women’s cricket team

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said that Cricketer Chamari Atapattu was appointed to captain the Sri Lankan Women’s Cricket team.

Accordingly, Chamari Atapattu will be steering the team in the match series against Pakistan.

The series, which consists of three ODI’s and three T20’s will commence from today at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium.

Atapattu placed her mark at the World Cup by scoring 178 points at the match held against Australia.

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Commonwealth Games: Eight Cameroon athletes 'desert' team

Eight Cameroonian athletes have gone missing from their accommodation at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, team officials have confirmed.

Press attache Simon Molombe told the BBC officials viewed it as "desertion" and that the missing athletes had been reported to Australian police.

The three weightlifters and five boxers were last seen at different times on Monday and Tuesday, he said. Cameroon said the group had valid Australian visas until 15 May.

Officials named the missing athletes as weightlifters Olivier Matam Matam, Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou and Petit Minkoumba, and boxers Christian Ndzie Tsoye, Simplice Fotsala, Arsene Fokou, Ulrich Yombo and Christelle Ndiang.

"The authorities are very disappointed with the deserters - some did not even compete," Mr Molombe said.

"The pious hope is that they come back to the village and travel home with the others."

The Australian government has warned athletes against overstaying their visas.

The Commonwealth Games Federation said it would monitor the situation but athletes had "the right to travel freely" on their visas.

The Australian Federal Police has been notified of the development, according to Kate Jones, a Queensland state government minister.

In 2012, seven Cameroonian athletes disappeared while in London for the Olympics.

Source : BBC

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Nidahas Trophy: Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh in virtual semi final

A place in the final at stake, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh would expect their batsmen to fire as they lock horns in a virtual semi-final of the Nidahas Twenty20 tri-series.

While Bangladesh batting line-up has been bolstered by return of their premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, hosts Sri Lanka still have to do the job without their regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who is serving a two-match suspension.

Thisara Perera will continue as skipper in Chandimal's absence.

Shakib had missed the previous matches of the series due to a finger injury.

The winner will play India in the title-clash on Sunday.

Both teams have two points with a victory each. Sri Lanka had surprised India in the tournament-opener while Bangladesh convincingly chased down a massive target of 215, set by the hosts, last week.

In case of a washout, Sri Lanka will proceed to the final, courtesy their better net run-rate. Save last week's defeat, Sri Lanka's recent record against Bangladesh has been impressive. They beat Bangladesh in an away Test and in a T20 series apart from winning the final of the ODI tri-series, which also involved Zimbabwe.

The home side will rely on the batting efforts of Kusal Mendis, who has been in good form, along with Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga and skipper Thisara Perera.

Bangladesh will be aiming for more consistency from their top-order which delivered in one game but disappointed in the couple of other matches against India.

Mushfiqur Rahim will look to continue from where he left against India while Shakib Al Hasan's surprise return will give a much-needed confidence boost to Bangladesh ahead of their do-or-die game.

Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah admitted that their batters need to step up.

"We are looking forward to the Sri Lanka game. We will try to come hard at them. Our effort (against India) was there but we needed someone else to contribute with the bat. We wanted a flying start, but the early wickets made us lose momentum. Also, if we had conceded 10 less runs then we could have won. While bowling, our plan was to bowl the yorker but we didn't execute them properly," he said.

The teams (from): Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (captain), Suranga Lakmal (vice-captain), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Janith Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Dhananjaya De Silva.

Bangladesh: Mahmudullah (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicket-keeper), Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Liton Das.

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Indika Dissanayake wins silver at Commonwealth Games

Indika Dissanayake won the silver medal in the men’s weightlifting 69kg weight category at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

Dissanayake successfully lifted 297 kg in total (137 kg in snatch, 160 kg in clean and jerk.)

Gareth Evans of Wales won the Gold with a total of 299 kg while Deepak Lather of India clinched the bronze with a total of 295kg.

Sri Lanka currently has 1 silver and 2 bronze medals in the Commonwealth Games, all coming in from Weightlifting.

Source : Newsfirst

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Dinesh Chandimal suspended over slow over rate

Sri Lankan Captain Dinesh Chandimal has been suspended for the next two matches of the currently ongoing Nidahas Trophy T-20 series. The decision was taken to suspend him due to the slow over rate during the last match.

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Australia ball-tampering: David Warner 'resigned' to not playing for the country again

Batsman David Warner says he is "resigned to the fact" he may never play for Australia again after his part in the ball-tampering scandal.

Warner and Steve Smith were given year-long bans by Cricket Australia after the incident against South Africa.

The 31-year-old apologised on Saturday, saying he took "full responsibility for my part in what happened".

He added: "I have only ever wanted to bring glory to my country through playing cricket."

Smith and Cameron Bancroft, who received a nine-month ban for his role in the plan to tamper with the ball by using sandpaper during the third Test, had earlier apologised for their part in what happened.

Reading from a statement, an emotional Warner told a news conference: "To all Australians, cricket fans or not, I apologise for my actions and I am sorry for the impact those actions have had on our country's reputation.

"It is heartbreaking to know I will not be taking the field with team-mates I love and respect and that I have let down.

"It is something I will regret as long as I live."

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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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Rohit Sharma visits SL fans home

Indian Cricket captain Rohit Sharma kept his promise of visiting Sri Lankan fan's home in Colombo during his stay. This was a very emotional incident that proved “The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.” as quoted by Mahatma Gandhi.

He offered a heartwarming gesture to a Sri Lankan cricket fan Mohamed Nilam, and financially assisted him to travel to see his ailing father. During the visit of Sri Lankan team to India last year, Mohamed Nilam was saddened to know about his father’s medical ailment during the third Test in New Delhi. But he did not have enough money to travel back home. Captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were informed about this by Sudhir Gautam, an Indian cricket fan. Rohit Sharma then made arrangements for Nilam’s return to Sri Lanka. Rohit had also promised a visit to Nilam’s home in Colombo.

“Rohit has a big heart and he immediately arranged for my return ticket. He is a gem of a person. He even asked me whether I need any financial help for the surgery, but I refused to take any money. I am grateful that he arranged for my ticket," Mohamed Nilam said.

However, it was not just Rohit Sharma who came to the aid of Mohammed. Virat Kohli too contacted him and asked if he could do something to help despite not being in India at that time.

"When Virat bhai came to know about my father's health, he too messaged me and asked if I needed any help. I congratulated Virat bhai on his wedding. I feel blessed and lucky to get so much love from Indian cricketers. They have always been very helpful in arranging match tickets whenever we come to watch them," he has quoted to an Indian Newspaper.

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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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Miami Open: Serena Williams knocked out in first round by Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams was knocked out of the Miami Open in the first round by Naomi Osaka as the 23-time Grand Slam winner continues her return after pregnancy.

Williams, unseeded after taking 13 months off to have her first child, was beaten 6-3 6-2 by the Japanese, 20.

The American lost serve twice in each set and was unable to break back.

Her defeat comes after the Miami Open director said seeding rules for players coming back after maternity leave were a "punishment"and "should be changed".

 Osaka is herself also unseeded but last week claimed her maiden title at Indian Wells to move up to 22 in the world.

Her powerful serve and relentless returning proved too much for Williams, who was broken at 3-3 and 5-3 in the first set and again at 3-1 in the second.

Osaka clinched victory when Williams sprayed a wide open forehand long, and will now face world number four Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the second round.

"I was extremely nervous coming on to the court. I don't know if anybody knows this but Serena is my favourite player," Osaka said.

"So just playing against her is kind of like a dream for me. I'm very grateful I was able to play her and it is even better that I was able to win."

Williams, 36, made her return to the WTA Tour at Indian Wells earlier this month, losing to sister Venus in the third round.

She has no official ranking, which means she cannot be seeded for WTA events.

However, she can gain entry to eight tournaments in 12 months - including two Grand Slams - with her protected world number one ranking.

Source : BBC

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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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