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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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Moors Sports Club brings in Kapugedera as Head Coach

Moors Sports Club, steeped in rich history spanning over 110 years and situated in the heart of Colombo has now embarked on a course to position itself as the leading cricket playing club in the country. The Moors Sports Club committee is headed by Sajjad Mowzoon with the Hon. General Secretary being Dr. A.M. Mubarak. In addition to cricket, the club offers facilities for Billiards and Snooker, Tennis, a gymnasium, ground facilities and a pavilion.

SajadMoors SC President Sajjad Mowzoon

Cricket has been in the forefront for Moors SC’s sporting endeavors given the fact that cricket was played from the very inception of the club and it has brought much glory and fame to the club over the years. A vibrant and revamped cricket committee composed of leading sportsmen and administrators have now been entrusted the task of regaining the club’s former glory.

Accordingly, the Cricket Committee is as follows:

  1. Zuraish Hashim - Cricket Secretary
  2. Hisham Jamaldeen
  3. Reyaz Noor
  4. Jehan Mubarak
  5. Dinesh Schaffter

Chamara Kapugedera brought in as Head Coach

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Moors SC has appointed Sri Lankan national cricketer Chamara Kapugedera as the Head Coach. Kapugedera played for Sri Lanka from 2008 representing the country in 8 test and 102 ODIs plus 48 T20s. He has been given the clear mandate to position Moors SC as one of the top three clubs in the country for Cricket within the next three years.

Kapugedara will be ably assisted by former national player Jehan Mubarak and former first class player Dinesh Schaffter who will serve as the cricket advisors who will be tasked with managing the cricket affairs of the club.

In recent history a crop of players from Moors SC, namely Chamara Silva, Sajeewa Wijekoon and Kosala Kulasekera had the distinction of representing the national cricket team. Players in the ilk of Rangana Herath (National Player) and Chandika Hathurusingha (national player and coach) have also represented the Moors Sports Club. Up and coming youngster Ramesh Mendis has been identified by the administration as another clear hopeful in this regard.

Speaking to our paper, Hisham Jamaldeen, member of the cricket committee and treasurer of the club said, “We are bringing new life and energy to our club. With the new committee being put in place, coupled with the hiring of former national cricketer Chamara Kapugedera as Head Coach for the next three years, we are extremely confident of achieving our mandate. We want to revamp the club cricket structure and put in place all systems to produce many more national players. We have done reasonably well in the recent club cricket season being able to win the Plate Championship, but we yearn for more."

"With the plans that have been clearly drawn up by Moors SC for Cricket and the in-house desire for pro-active implementation, we can expect the club to create positive waves in the cricketing sphere in the not so distant future," he added.

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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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World No.1 Novak Djokovic defaulted from US Open for hitting lineswoman in throat

Novak Djokovic has been defaulted from the US Open for hitting and felling a lineswoman with a ball.

The world No.1 fled Flushing Meadows without facing the press but just issued a statement on social media, saying he felt "sad and empty".

"I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok," Djokovic wrote.

"I'm extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong.

"I apologise to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behaviour."

The tournament favourite, who was trying to add to his haul of 17 Grand Slams, pleaded his case with officials for 10 minutes but was kicked out of the New York major.

Djokovic whacked a ball towards the back of the court in a moment of frustration, without looking where it was going, after dropping serve in the first set to trail 5-6 in his fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.

The ball hit the lineswoman in the head/neck area, dropping her to the ground. The lineswoman grabbed her throat after falling. Djokovic quickly ran to her aid but the damage.

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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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Jayantha Dharmadasa appointed as VP at SLC

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Wednesday appointed Dr Jayantha Dharmadasa as the new vice president after K Mathivanan resigned from his post.

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'Canelo' Alvarez pounds Callum Smith to win two world titles

Mexican pound-for-pound boxing champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez ended the longest layoff of his career on Saturday, capturing two world super middleweight titles by beating previously undefeated Briton Callum Smith with a unanimous decision victory. The three-division champion, fighting for the first time in 13 months, claimed the vacant World Boxing Council title and its World Boxing Association equivalent despite moving up in weight class for the bout in front of a restricted crowd at the Alamodome.

Canelo Alvarez had a simple explanation for his ability to dominate a previously undefeated champion and emerge unscathed against an opponent that physically towered over him.

“I am better,” Alvarez said. “Because I’m better and I have many abilities. I make them think about what they are going to throw and simply because I’m better.”

Two judges scored the bout 119-109 and the third had it 117-111.

Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) dominated his only bout this year, repeatedly hitting Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) with straight rights and right hooks to the head and punishing his upper arms over 12 rounds.

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn said doctors believe Smith tore his left bicep or triceps muscle. There was a noticeable protrusion coming from the bottom of Smith’s arm beginning in the fourth round from Alvarez’s repeated blows.

Alvarez previously knocked out Callum’s older brother, Liam, on Sept. 17, 2106, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Many speculated Callum wanted revenge for the ninth-round knockout, but Alvarez dominated the younger Smith, too.

At 5-foot-8, Alvarez was the aggressor against the 6-foot-3 Smith.

“Like I said, (the size difference) doesn’t matter to me,” Alvarez said. “My boxing experience is what matters. If they are taller, shorter, that doesn’t matter, my experience is what gives me the ability to fight anyone.”

Alvarez controlled the fight, continually pressing forward and only taking a step back to evade one of the numerous punches that Smith missed.

Alvarez threw 494 total punches, landing 43% of them compared to just 18% of 539 punches thrown by Smith.

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Bangladesh tour of Sri lanka could be rescheduled to October

Bangladesh is planning to tour Sri Lanka in October for its rescheduled three-Test series, following the postponement of this year’s ICC T20 World Cup because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is currently in talks with its Sri Lankan counterparts (SLC) and if everything falls into place “Bangladesh men’s pending three-Test series against hosts Sri Lanka could be rescheduled to October.”

The three-Test series, which is part of the ICC World Test Championship, was earlier scheduled to be held between July and August but was deferred due to the pandemic.

The ICC on Monday postponed the T20 World Cup which was scheduled to be held in Australia between October-November.

The report said that both "boards are keen on having the Test series squeezed into the earliest possible window."

“The ICC’s announcement of the three major tournaments has provided what window we can work with, as now that we know that the tournament dates are fixed, we can work around with our schedule,” BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury told the website.

“Both boards are positive about the Test series going ahead later this year. We are in talks with SLC. Sri Lanka is in a better condition (in terms of COVID-19 caseload) than any of the other sub-continent countries at the moment, and since the situation is not favourable here, we are more keen on the away matches.” (PTI)

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Jaffna Stallions beat Galle Gladiators led by Avishka Fernando's 92

Jaffna Stallions defeated Galle Gladiators by 8 wickets to register their win in the second match of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2020 played at MRICS in Hambantota on Friday (27).

The Gladiators won the toss and elected to bat first scoring 175 for the loss of 8 wickets. The Jaffna Stallions chased the target easily led by a brilliant knock of 92 from Sri Lanka batsman Avishka Fernando.

The Gladiators were struggling early on to put runs on the board until the arrival of their captain Shahid Afridi, who scored a quick fire 58 runs off just 23 balls including 6 sixes.

However, that wasn't enough as Avishka Fernando, ably supported by veteran all rounder Shoaib Malik, hit seven sixes and finished on 92 not out off 63 balls leading the Jaffna Stallions to a comprehensive victory over the Galle Gladiators.

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Lankan cagers to take part in Women's Cup in Hungary

Sri Lanka Basketball Federation (SLBF) resumed their activities after obtaining the necessary approval from the Ministry of Sports under strict health  guidelines recently, said its general secretary, Dr. Chula Senaratne speaking to the Daily News yesterday.

The SLBF has circulated these guidelines to their 34 affiliated associations including schools, clubs and mercantile sector to adhere strictly to the health guidelines and commence their activities.

According to the secretary it is likely that it will require some time for these stakeholders to get their act together before commencement of practices.

The governing body is closely monitoring their progress and no sooner they obtain the clearance to resume the tournaments.

They will start playing all the stipulated competitions listed in their calendar. All their activities were halted with the corona virus outbreak way back in mid March.

The progress of the Corona pandemic will play a vital role in continuation of the game in the future.

Meanwhile the SLBF is in the process of making adequate arrangements to prepare a women’s team (3x3) to represent the country in the under-18 Women’s Cup to be held in Hungary from 26 to 31 August. Twelve countries are scheduled to participate in this tournament. This squad is training under the watchful eyes of Ajith Kuruppu who is the senior National basketball coach. Four players and two stand-byes have been selected for this tour. The reopening date of Bandaranaike International Airport will be a key factor before taking part in this tourney.

The men’s under-23 teams too are gearing for their World Cup to be held from October 9 to12 for which the venue is yet to be decided. Coinciding the under-23 Asian League Championship is finalized to be staged in Sanya, China in December. SLBF is to form a pool of 39 players this weekend for trials before selecting the teams to participate in these tournaments. Apart from this another tournament is lined up which is the men’s and women’s Asian Championship to be held in Chandsha, China from September 15 to 25 for which the SLBF is also keen to take part in.

“We have got the go ahead from the concerned authorities including the Sports Ministry and instructed our affiliates to act accordingly. After the Corona pandemic it takes time to resume the activities. We are gradually building up this process with our stakeholders including schools, clubs and mercantile sector. Once we get the final clearance we will start the competition,” said the secretary.

(Althaf Nawaz)

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"The point was to make people start talking': Osaka wins emotional US Open

Naomi Osaka returned to the fore in women's tennis Saturday by coming back to defeat Victoria Azarenka and win her second U.S. Open.

Osaka's 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory capped a run of powerful play and political activism in New York. She wore seven different masks with different names for each of her matches to honour Black victims of violence. She walked on court Saturday with a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed in Cleveland by a white police officer in 2014.

"The point was to make people start talking," Osaka said at the awards ceremony.

osaka 1

Naomi Osaka of Japan lays down in celebration after winning her Women's Singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Day Thirteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images

Osaka's win Saturday came in radically different conditions than her first title run in New York in 2018.

In that final, she defeated Serena Williams in a tumultuous straight-set match that turned ugly when Williams clashed in Arthur Ashe Stadium with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who called three code-of-conduct violations against Williams.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What little crowd there was in attendance never became a factor, and though Osaka started very slowly against Azarenka, she gradually found her range and became the first player in 26 years to win a U.S. women's singles final after losing the first set.

The last player to manage it was Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, who rallied to defeat Steffi Graf in 1994.

Osaka, 22, who represents Japan and is based in the U.S., is 3-0 in Grand Slam singles finals. With her huge serve, powerful groundstrokes and improved fitness, she appeared ready to take command of the women's game when she won the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open.

But she surprisingly split with her coach Sascha Bajin shortly after that victory in Australia and struggled to recapture the same sparkling form.

Last year, as she defended her U.S. Open title, Osaka was beaten in the fourth round by Belinda Bencic. At the Australian Open in January, she played an error-filled match and was upset in the third round by Coco Gauff, then 15, an American whom Osaka had beaten in straightforward fashion at the 2019 U.S. Open.

Osaka was in evident disarray, but then came the five-month tour hiatus because of the pandemic. Osaka, the biracial daughter of a Haitian father and Japanese mother, became deeply involved in the social justice movement, attending a rally in Minneapolis and speaking out on social networks and elsewhere.

When she returned to the tour for a two-tournament double header in New York, with the players in a controlled environment, she continued her activism. She initially declined to play her semifinal match in the Western & Southern Open the week before the U.S. Open, in solidarity with athletes in professional basketball, baseball and soccer who were protesting systemic racism and police violence.

Tour officials responded by cancelling the entire day of play, and Osaka went on to reach the final, withdrawing with a left hamstring injury before facing Azarenka.

The hamstring was still strapped Saturday as she came back to beat Azarenka in the final.

Azarenka, 31, from Belarus, lost to Williams in classic U.S. Open finals in 2012 and 2013 but rallied to defeat the 38-year-old Williams in a ferociously contested semifinal Thursday and started just as convincingly Saturday.

Azarenka was unseeded but hardly a tennis outsider. She was No. 1 for 51 weeks in 2012 and 2013 and won two Australian Open singles titles before Williams reasserted herself at the top of the women's game and Azarenka dropped back.

She had injuries, painful breakups with boyfriends and coaches and, most traumatically, a lengthy and bitter custody dispute over her now 3-year-old son, Leo, who stayed with Azarenka and her mother and team at a private home she rented near the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the tournament.

She would have been the first mother to win a Grand Slam singles title since Kim Clijsters won the Australian Open in 2011. As Azarenka dominated the opening set, hitting nearly every first serve in play and controlling the rallies, it appeared she might win in a hurry. Osaka threw her racket at one stage in frustration as her unforced errors piled up.

"I just thought it would be very embarrassing to lose this in under an hour," Osaka said, explaining that she told herself to "stop having a really bad attitude."

Her mood and game improved dramatically as the final progressed, while Azarenka failed to sustain her level of play. After losing the second set and falling behind 1-4 in the third, Azarenka made one more surge, battling through a five-deuce game to hold serve and then breaking Osaka's serve in the next game to close the gap to 3-4.

But at 30-30 on Azarenka's serve in the next game, the match turned for good as Osaka won a high-velocity rally to get a break point and then converted it as Azarenka lined up a forehand, went for an inside-out winner and missed just wide.

Osaka, who has yet to lose a major final, then closed out the victory by holding serve as Azarenka's last shot, a backhand, struck the net. Osaka tapped rackets with Azarenka at the net — another sign of these changed times — and then lay on her back on the court and took a moment to savor the moment.

"I always see everyone sort of collapse after match point, but I always think you may injure yourself, so I wanted to do it safely," she explained. That seemed an appropriate approach at a tournament where staying safe was the top priority, as players were tested for the virus regularly and restricted to their lodging and the tournament site.

"It's not easy times in the world right now," Azarenka said, holding back tears in her post-match speech in the near-empty stadium. "So I'm very grateful for the opportunity to play in front of millions of people watching on TV, unfortunately not here."

"I thought it would be embarrassing to lose this in under an hour," Osaka said in her victory speech. "I fought for every match."

(The New York Times)

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Pakistan gifts sports goods to Sri Lanka Rugby

The High Commissioner of Pakistan Major General (retd) Muhammad Saad Khattak on Tuesday held a meeting with President of Sri Lanka Rugby Lasitha Gunaratne at Old Sports Ministry Complex in Colombo.

The High Commissioner on behalf of the government of Pakistan gifted Pakistan made rugby balls and sports kits to the president of Sri Lanka Rugby.

The Sri Lanka Rugby president appreciated and thanked the government and people of Pakistan for this kind gesture.

During the meeting, the High Commissioner emphasized on the importance of enhanced collaboration between the two brotherly Countries for the uplift of our people.

He further said that Pakistan is committed to provide continued support to Sri Lanka in enhancing the younger generation’s nation-building capacities with better sports opportunities.

The two dignitaries noted that both Pakistan and Sri Lanka value this broad-based bilateral relationship due to their mutual benefits and which will hopefully continue to flourish in the years ahead.
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