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Faf du Plessis retires from tests to focus on T20 World Cups

Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has announced his retirement from tests to make Twenty20 International cricket his priority with successive World Cups in the next two years.
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Covid-19 outbreak at England's team hotel

 There was a minor scare at Galle, where the England team is playing the first Test against Sri Lanka, when on Friday two staff members of the hotel where the visiting team is staying, tested positive for Covid-19 and were hospitalised.

Epidemiologist Venura Singarachchi told AFP that the two kitchen staff at the Light House hotel in Galle were tested after they showed symptoms.

However, there is no threat to the series as of now as the visiting team confirmed that their bio-bubble security has been excellent.

"Our protocols have been excellent and we continue to be vigilant," spokesman Danny Reuben told AFP.

He said players respected social distancing, wore masks in indoor settings at the hotel and where possible dined outdoors.

Reuben said Moeen was still isolated at a different hotel in Galle and would return to the team as soon as it was safe.

England all-rounder Moeen Ali tested positive for Covid-19 on his arrival in Sri Lanka and is isolated in another hotel.

England arrived in Sri Lanka on January 3 and spent a week in isolation in the southern town of Hambantota before travelling to Galle.

They were allowed into the country despite a ban on flights from Britain in an effort to keep out a new, more contagious coronavirus variant.

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Sports Minister to introduce an insurance scheme for athletes

Discussions are underway with the Sri Lanka Insurance Company (SLIC) to offer an insurance scheme for athletes, Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday (11).

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Sri Lanka collapse in Galle as England dominate opening day

As many as 12 wickets fell on an eventful opening day in Galle as England went into stumps at 127/2, trailing Sri Lanka by just eight runs, in the first Test of the two-match series.

Sri Lanka were bundled out for 135 – their lowest first-innings total in Galle – after opting to bat, with Dom Bess claiming his second five-for in Test cricket, after Stuart Broad, picked in the XI over Jimmy Anderson, dismantled Sri Lanka's batting line-up.

The England batsmen then made up most of the deficit before the stumps were drawn, despite a difficult start. The visitors lost Dom Sibley in the fifth over of their innings, when Sri Lanka used the DRS to good effect –  Sibley was adjudged caught at slip off Lasith Embuldeniya. When Zak Crawley, who scored a double-century in his last Test against Pakistan, followed suit, England seemed in trouble at 17/2.

However, captain Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow absorbed the pressure and counter-attacked, putting on an unbroken 110* to help England go through to stumps primed for a second-day assault. En route that solid partnership, Root brought up his 50th half-century in Test cricket, Bairstow a typically dominant 47*, and Sri Lanka were left to reflect on one of the tougher days they’ve faced in their Galle fortress.

Sri Lanka were dealt an early blow when it emerged their captain, opener Dimuth Karunaratne, was ruled out of the Test with a fractured thumb. Dinesh Chandimal took over the captaincy in his stead, but his team’s batting performance in the first innings has ensured he’ll have a tough outing. Also missing was Suranga Lakmal, who failed to recover from a niggling injury.

The hosts lost their first wicket in as early as the seventh over, when Lahiru Thirimanne fell into Broad’s trap – he had stationed a leg-slip, and sent in a delivery into his ribs, and Thirimanne promptly fended it to the fielder. Two balls later, Broad had another when Kusal Mendis fell to his leg-cutter, feathering an edge to the wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. It was his fourth duck in a row in Tests.

There were a few hopes on Kusal Perera, given his track record for reviving teams in the face of adversity, but when he was dismissed for a 28-ball 20 – he top-edged an attempted reverse-sweep – Sri Lanka were 25/3. It was then that two veteran batsmen, Angelo Mathews and Chandimal, got together to attempt to revive the innings.

It was tough going. Broad had sensed an opening, and Mathews and Chandimal had to be extremely cautious. And they were, putting on a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket, off 113 balls. They had taken the total to 81 when Broad claimed the big wicket of Mathews, who attempted a cut and edged it to slip. When Chandimal followed suit in the next over, Sri Lanka were in dire straits at 81/5.

There was a collapse thereafter. Niroshan Dickwella (12) was dismissed when Sibley took a rather fortunate catch at point off Bess, and four overs later, England struck another blow when Dasun Shanaka, who had scored a hard-fought 23, miscued a slip off Bess and was caught behind.

Dilruwan Perera and Embuldeniya both failed to get off the mark, and while Wanindu Hasaranga’s enterprising 22-ball 19 took Sri Lanka to 135, his dismissal, which helped Bess to the coveted five-wicket haul, ended a difficult innings.

England then ensured they took advantage of that.

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Anderson stars on final morning as England seal first Test win over India

James Anderson inspired England to a famous fifth day win over India in the first Test, paving the way for a 227-run victory with an astonishing spell of reverse swing in Chennai.

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Ballin' : Steph Curry drops 62 points in win over Blazers

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry had himself a night Sunday as his 62-point performance set a new high in his career and in the history of Chase Center, while also leading the Warriors to a 137-122 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Namal appoints 'Cricket Committee' headed by Aravinda de Silva

A technical advisory committee has been appointed to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the development of cricket in the country.

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South Africa completes sweep against Sri Lanka

South Africa completed a sweep of their two match series against Sri Lanka as they strolled to a 10-wicket win on the third day of the second Test.

South Africa knocked off a target of 67 runs without loss as openers Dean Elgar (31 not out) and Aiden Markram (36 not out) saw them to victory at the Wanderers Stadium - with two-and-a-half days of the contest still remaining.

Success in Johannesburg followed a convincing innings and 45-run triumph in the first Test in Pretoria last week and turned around a poor run of Test form over the last year.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 211 in their second innings, surviving only 95 minutes of Tuesday's morning session.

They resumed their second innings at 4-150 overnight with a tenuous five-run lead but with captain Dimuth Karunaratne not out on 91 and hoping to set the home side an imposing target to chase in the fourth innings.

Karunaratne reached his 10th Test century off 123 balls as the visitors began in aggressive fashion, but a misjudged pull shot saw the Sri Lanka skipper top edge Anrich Nortje to be caught by Wiaan Mulder in a major blow to their hopes, just 20 minutes into the day's play. He was dismissed for 103.

Niroshan Dickwella, who scored 36, followed in the next over as Lungi Ngidi (4-44) took another crucial wicket, setting off an end to the resistance among the lower order.

Lutho Sipamla cleaned up the tail with three wickets in 12 balls, including bowling Wanindu Hasaranga for 16, to finish with figures of 3-40.

Sri Lanka, who won the toss and elected to bat, scored 157 in their first innings and South Africa replied with 302, with Elgar top scoring on 127.

South Africa now look ahead to their first visit in 14 years to Pakistan, where they will play two Tests and three Twenty20 internationals later this month, while Sri Lanka return home to host England in two Tests in Galle. The first starts on January 14.

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Jerome Jayaratne appointed as manager for Sri Lanka's tour of West Indies

Sri Lanka Cricket announced today the appointment of Jerome Jayaratne as manager for Sri Lanka's tour of West Indies.
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Budding star Salinda Ushan signed by Saltburn

Saltburn has swooped to sign talented Sri Lankan atsman Salinda Ushan for their 2021 North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League campaign.
A punishing opening bat

Ushan is an accomplished opening batsman playing in Sri Lanka’s top tier (A) first-class competition.

A left-hander of some pedigree, he represented Sri Lanka Under-19’s in 11 Test (4) and ODI’s (7), to include the ICC World Cup in Bangladesh back in 2016.

He made his first-class debut for Colts Cricket Club in February 2017 and played two matches during the 2017/18 season, before his move to current club, Badureliya in 2017/18.

Domestic run machine

The youngster excelled for his new club, scoring 323 runs at 53.83 to include his maiden century (154), before striking a further 574 runs at 38.26 (and 2 further hundreds) in 2018/19.

Since joining Badureliya, he has racked up 1,051 runs at 38.92 with 3 centuries and 4 fifties.

The run machine is quite the prospect who was set to follow in the footsteps of fellow Badureliya and CricX clients, Dushan Hemantha and Damith Perera, and play UK league cricket in 2020, before COVID struck.

However, Ushan will get his chance in 2021, having recently signed with Saltburn for their North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League campaign.

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Five players released by SLC including skipper Dimuth Karunaratne

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced that five players including Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis have been released from the national squad and as a result, they would not be playing the second Test against England starting on Friday at Galle.

Karunaratne has been released due to injury while four others -- Kusal Mendis, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Kumara, and Nuwan Pradeep have been dropped looking at their performances.

"The released players will return to training at the High-Performance Center in Colombo. Whilst in the absence of Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal will continue to captain the team in the 2nd Test match, as well," Sri Lanka Cricket said in an official statement.

Sri Lanka had lost the first Test against England by seven wickets and both sides will now lock horns in the second Test, beginning Friday. After stumbling to a seven-wicket loss against England in the first Test, Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur said the batting performance of his side in the first innings was very poor and it was a major reason that the hosts were on the back foot from the get-go.

In the first innings, Sri Lanka was dismissed for 135, and after this dismal batting show, the hosts conceded 421, and this handed the Joe Root-led England side a hefty lead.

"The first innings was very poor, it was an unacceptable batting performance. I'm not one to ever look for excuses, but it was like we were batting at the Wanderers and Centurion in terms of tempo. We hadn't changed our tempo to bat in the subcontinent, coming back and batting in Sri Lanka, where it's all about patience, trusting your technique, wearing the opposition down, and grinding away," ESPNCricinfo had quoted Arthur as saying.

In the second innings, Sri Lanka recovered to register 359 runs as Lahiru Thirimanne went on to register a century. But the hosts managed to gain a lead of 73 runs, and in the end, England had no problem in chasing down this below par total in the fourth innings.

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Sri Lanka batsman De Silva to miss rest of South Africa series

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Sri Lanka batsman Dhananjaya de Silva has been ruled out for the remainder of the two-test series in South Africa after suffering a grade two thigh strain, team officials confirmed on Sunday.

De Silva retired hurt during Sri Lanka’s first innings on the opening day of the first test at Centurion Park on Saturday.

His absence will not only weaken the tourists’ top-six batting line-up but also their bowling attack as they will be unable to call on his right-arm off-spin.

The 29-year-old was injured while on 79 as he cruised through for a comfortable single, immediately falling to the ground after completing the run.

De Silva is expected to be out for two weeks but Sri Lanka will hope to have him fit for the home series against England that starts in Galle on Jan. 14.

Sri Lanka closed the opening day on 340 for six, a strong position on a wicket that is providing plenty of assistance to the bowlers.

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