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Malinga juggles IPL and domestic cricket; bags 10 wickets in 12 hours

At a time when workload management of the players are keenly monitored ahead of the World Cup, Sri Lanka’s veteran pacer Lasith Malinga, in a rare incident, played two matches inside 12 hours — a T20 game in India and a domestic 50-over match in Sri Lanka.

Malinga, 35, helped Mumbai Indians win against Chennai Super Kings in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash on Wednesday night in Mumbai, returning figures of 3/34. The match ended close to midnight, but early on Thursday morning Malinga was on a plane to Kandy to take part in Sri Lanka‘s domestic Super Four tournament.

Not only did he play the game, Malinga even recorded career-best List A figures of 7/49 to help Galle beat Kandy by 156 runs. He took rest only when Galle batted first and put up 255 runs on the board. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had allowed Malinga, their ODI skipper, to take part in the IPL for the entire month of April. But the ace fast bowler decided to play the provincial one-day tournament in order to have a closer look at some of the World Cup hopefuls.

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Chandimal axed as captain: Dimuth to lead Sri Lanka on SA tour 

Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne has replaced wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal as Sri Lanka’s captain for this month’s Test series against South Africa.

Chandimal, who struck a mere two dozen runs during Sri Lanka’s series whitewash to Australia earlier this year, has not been named in the squad for February’s two Tests in Durban and Port Elizabeth.

‘We are a young team and always learning how to play, especially in these tough conditions. We will bounce back in South Africa,’ said Chandimal, prior to Tuesday’s omission.

‘I mean, these are three tough tours, we have finished two and now South Africa. South Africa is similar to these conditions and with very good bowlers. We know that as a team we have to play in tough conditions and we need to adjust to those conditions and step up as a team.

‘We all know what went wrong as a team and I’m sure the boys will learn from that and they will come good in South Africa.’

Karunaratne was the sixth-highest run-scorer in Test cricket last year, after countryman Kusal Mendis, Indians Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, England’s Joe Root and Jos Buttler.

Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Niroshan Dickwella, (vice-captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhananjaya De Silva, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohamed Shiraz, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Embuldeniya.

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In-form South Africa look to inflict more pain on struggling Sri Lanka in T20 series

South Africa reacted in an expected manner when they convincingly beat Sri Lanka in the five-match ODI series after the shock Test series defeat.

Now, Faf du Plessis’ side will look to keep their momentum and form intact and pile on the misery on the Lankans in the three-match T20I, beginning Tuesday, (March 19).

For the Proteas, the first of the three T20s, which will be played in Cape Town, serves as the last chance to finalise their side for the upcoming ICC World Cup, as a chunk of the regulars will be plying their  trade in the glitzy Indian Premier League, beginning March 23.

“I think the squad is settled, but we still need to confirm the squad (for the World Cup). Maybe next month,” du Plessis, who was the second highest scorer for his side in the ODI series with 272 runs said after completing the series win.

South Africa have through the course of the last five games upped the ante with their batsmen and bowlers all hitting form at the right time.

The Proteas, however, will be without the services of the inform lot of du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi for the second and third T20 at the Centurion and in Johannesburg as they will all be afforded some rest before they join their respective IPL franchises.

The South African captain and Ngidi will join the defending IPL champions Chennai Super Kings while Quinton de Kock will turn out for Mumbai Indians and Rabada for the Delhi Capitals.

In their absence South Africa will be captained by JP Duminy, who has decided to call time on his ODI career post the World Cup, and will see a host of new players looking to further their case for a regular spot in the national set-up.

Ranked fifth in T20 cricket, South Africa not only have good form on their side but also the benefit of playing at home which they are good at using to their advantage.

Visitors Sri Lanka at the moment are a very demoralised bunch, as wickets and runs both seem hard to come by for the injury plagued side.
The visitors have recalled Suranga Lakmal after a long absence from the limited overs side, while Jeffrey Vandersay, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Asitha Fernando are among the other additions.

The likes of Angelo Perera, Avishka Fernando and Priyamal Perera have been included, while Oshada Fernando has not been considered despite his good performances in the Tests.

Along with Fernando, Upul Tharanga, Vishwa Fernando and coach Chandika Hathrusingha will be at home chalking out World Cup plans.

Led by Lasith Malinga and coached by Steve Rixon, the Lankans are approaching the series with caution as a whole host of changes have been made with an eye on the World Cup.

“I feel that finally the batters have realized what they need to do. Isuru and Kusal Mendis did well. We have a local tournament ahead of the World Cup and that will be important. But before that, we are looking forward to do our best in the T20Is,” Malinga had said after defeat in the fifth ODI.

Sri Lanka are ranked ninth, below Afghanistan, and are in dire need of some good fortune with the bat and the ball.

The experienced heads in Malinga, Mendis, Angelo Perera and Thisara Perera will be expected to play a key role as they look to end what has been a tough tour on a high.

South Africa Squad: (for 1st T20I): Faf du Plessis (capt), Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.

South Africa Squad: (for 2nd and 3rd T20Is): JP Duminy (capt), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Sinethemba Qeshile, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.

Sri Lanka T20I squad: Lasith Malinga (c) Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera,  Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Isuru Udana, Asitha Fernando, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshan Sandakan.

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Thisara calls for SLC intervention after social media vendetta

Sri Lankan cricket is far from the glory days of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and now the turmoil has hit a new low.

Star all-rounder Thisara Perera has raised questions about the leadership of the ODI team after he was involved in a social media back-and-forth with his captain Lasith Malinga's wife.

Malinga's wife, Tanya Perera, took to Facebook to make a post where she alleged that Thisara had sought the help of the country's sports minister to ensure his selection in the national side.

In response, Thisara took to his own Facebook account to set the record straight, pointing to his excellent 2018-19 season which saw him plunder 323 runs in eight matches at an average of 53.83 and a strike rate of 131.83.

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Perera enjoyed an excellent tour of New Zealand and is a key part of Sri Lanka's team (AAP) 

However, after another post from Perera seemingly attacked him, the 29-year-old took the matter straight to the top, penning a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) CEO Ashley de Silva.

In excerpts of the letter, posted on ESPN Cricinfo, Thisara unloaded on the morale of the Sri Lankan locker room that has appeared worryingly disjointed just months out from the 2019 ICC World Cup.

"When these kinds of accusations are made by the incumbent captain's wife on social media, it is hard to prevent the general public from believing and slandering me in various ways," Thisara wrote.

"There has been a general sense of unease in the dressing room ever since [the Facebook post] and to be honest the environment was rather unpleasant for the youngsters especially when two senior players were not on the same page.

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SLC head coach Hathurusinghe to return mid tour

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has informed Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha to return to Colombo, following the completion of the 05th ODI of the ongoing series in South Africa.

He is being asked to come back in order to discuss Sri Lanka team’s preparation plans for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, SLC said today.

Sri Lanka's fielding coach Steve Rixon has been appointed as the acting Head Coach of the national team for the upcoming T20 Series in South Africa.

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Sri Lankans may not trust each other: Arnold

Former player Russel Arnold has claimed Sri Lanka's Test players may not be able to trust each other in their upcoming series against Australia due to a cricket corruption scandal gripping their country.

Arnold conceded an ICC Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) investigation launched in Sri Lanka would be a distraction and may lead to players questioning one another's motives and even game plans in Australia.

While Australia may appear vulnerable before the two-Test series gets underway in Brisbane on Thursday as they rebuild from the sandpaper controversy fallout, Arnold said Sri Lanka had their own problems. 

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Russel Arnold says the Sri Lankan team will struggle to cope with the corruption scandal.Credit:Jacky Ghossein

The ACU launched the probe in the wake of a series of corruption cases involving former Sri Lanka internationals and administrators. 
Sri Lankan cricketers have been granted a 15-day amnesty and have until the end of the month to report previously undisclosed information.

"I would be surprised if none of this is in the back of their mind," said Arnold, who played the last of his 44 Tests for Sri Lanka in 2004.

"Whether they can trust their teammate, whether they can trust anyone's instructions or game plans to carry out. It has to worry them.
"Trust does take a beating. You tend to wonder what the hell is going on."

Following last month's ICC meeting in Dubai, Sri Lanka's sports minister Harin Fernando said the world body had ranked the country's cricket administration "corrupt from top to bottom".

The ICC said players can be suspended for up to five years for failing to pass on information but anything reported during the January 16-31 amnesty would not attract a charge.

Asked if Sri Lanka's players could block out the controversy while in Australia, Arnold said: "It is easy to say but I doubt it happening because anything around [the team] will certainly worry players.

"They are all human. Even we [outside the team] are feeling a little nervy about what we are hearing."

The ACU probe has been bubbling since late 2017 when 40 cricketers - including national captain Dinesh Chandimal - petitioned Sri Lanka Cricket to investigate allegations made by ex-player and selector Pramodya Wickramasinghe.

Former quick Wickramasinghe alleged there were "unnatural match patterns" and player selections.

Former captain and selector Sanath Jayasuriya was charged in October by the ICC for refusing to co-operate with the ACU but denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, ex-Sri Lankan bowler Dilhara Lokuhettige was also charged last year for violating the anti-corruption code relating to a 10-over league clash in the United Arab Emirates.

And ex-paceman and bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa was provisionally suspended by SLC over match-fixing accusations.
(The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Pakistan protest to ICC over India's military caps in Australia ODI

The Pakistan Cricket Board has written to the International Cricket Council calling for action to be taken after India's players wore military-style camouflage caps in Friday's third one-day international against Australia in Ranchi.
India say they wore the caps in tribute to the country's armed forces in the wake of the killing of at least 40 paramilitaries in Indian-administered Kashmir on 14 February, in a suicide attack which has been claimed by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) approached the ICC before the game about the use of the military caps, and the ICC confirmed that permission had been granted as it was part of a charity fundraising effort.
An ICC spokesperson said: "The BCCI sought permission from the ICC to wear the caps as part of a fundraising drive and in memory of soldiers who have died, which was granted."
The India players also donated their match fees for the game - which Australia won by 32 runs - to the families of those killed.
But PCB chairman Essan Mani said he has written to the ICC to protest against the caps, saying India had "tried to use cricket for politics".
Another letter was expected to be sent within hours, Mani said. "We have made our point very strongly to the ICC which now has no doubts or confusion about our intention or stance now on this matter," he told reporters. "Their [India] credibility in the cricketing world has gone down very badly," he added.
Last month, the BCCI asked the ICC to "sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates" in the wake of the attack in Kashmir.
But Mani pointed out two recent examples of players who had been disciplined by the ICC for political statements - England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who wore wristbands with the slogans "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine" during a Test against India in 2014, and South Africa spinner Imran Tahir,who displayed a T-shirt of religious preacher Junaid Jamshed after taking a wicket against Sri Lanka in 2017.
"You have two examples from the past already, where both Imran Tahir and Moeen Ali were sanctioned for something similar," Mani said.
"The ICC had taken strong action against them and we have sought similar action against India. The permission they took was for a different purpose but they acted differently." (BBC)

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Seven-year-old Archie Schiller gets his wish to be Australian cricket captain

Australia has an honorary co-captain for its Boxing Day test - seven-year-old Archie Schiller, who has put his congenital heart battles aside for an amazing time at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Just a year ago, Archie was breathing through a tube in a hospital bed after his third heart operation. But on Wednesday, he joined the Australian test team on the MCG as they took on India.
Thousands of cricket fans watched as he received his baggy green cap from off-spinner Nathan Lyon and he also shook hands with the Indian captain Virat Kohli at the coin toss.
And when he was asked on the match broadcast what his advice to the Australian team was, he replied: "Hit sixes and get wickets".Archie was his granted his dream to "to captain Australia" by Cricket Australia and the Make-A-Wish Foundation charity. Archie was diagnosed with a heart condition at birth and underwent open-heart surgery at three months and he has undergone 13 surgeries in total.

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Sri Lanka Army Women Shine in 34th National Rowing Championship

Sri Lanka Army's woman soldiers had a clean sweep-clinching the Women’s Open category in the 34th National Rowing Championship at the Diyawanna Rowing Centre where teams of the Armed Forces earned major honours on Saturday (02).

Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force were declared joint winners in the Men’s Open category while Sri Lanka Army won the Men’s Open Quadruple Scull and Men’s Under 23 Double Scull. It also emerged for the second slot in the Men’s open Single Scull, Men’s Open Pairs, Men’s Open Coxless Fours and Men’s Under 23 Pairs.

Sri Lanka Army Women also clinched the Women’s Open Single Scull, Women’s Open Pairs, Women’s Open Double Scull and Women’s Open Quadruple Scull events.

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Stunning Sri Lanka make history to deny Black Caps

For two straight days the Black Caps have re-written the record books – but today, they were on the wrong side of history.

For the first time in the history of cricket tests played in New Zealand, a full day went by without a wicket falling, as the Sri Lankan pair of Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews put on a batting masterclass at the Basin Reserve.

It came at a superb time for the visitors - the Black Caps were marching towards victory in the first test, but now, an incredible fightback and a bleak weather forecast looks to have rained on their parade.

After all of the twists, turns and incredible comebacks of the Pakistan series, it looked like the Black Caps' return home would produce far more formulaic tests, but Sri Lanka had other ideas.

A 246-run partnership between Mendis [116*] and Mathews [117*] lasted the entire day – it was also the first wicketless day in any test since 2008 - allowing Sri Lanka to get to stumps at 259-3, and surely denying New Zealand an expected victory.

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Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews celebrates with Kusal Mendis after their historic day. Photo / Photosport 

Sure, Sri Lanka are still 37 runs behind with a day to go, but weather looks set to have the final say, with the forecast predicting steady rain for the whole day. Besides, even if it cleared – what evidence would there be to suggest the Black Caps could snap their partnership?
Still, rain would be a limp conclusion to a strangely compelling test. A day after Tom Latham sent records tumbling, Mendis and Mathews compiled the biggest partnership of all time for Sri Lanka against New Zealand, barely offering a chance in their marathon stay at the crease.

The pair displayed the type of discipline Latham had displayed in his 264, and after losing three wickets in 12 overs the night before, it was like a new wicket had been inserted overnight, such was the ease they batted with. 

Mendis was the early aggressor, pulling with aplomb and negating – and angering – Neil Wagner, whose usual short-ball danger soon turned into monotonous surety as he went for 100 runs in 21 overs.

So long the Black Caps' fail-safe when their first option wasn't working, Wagner couldn't muster any chances, and his combination with a tidy Ajaz Patel couldn't repeat their heroics from the United Arab Emirates.

As Mendis slowed down, showing good discipline, Mathews stepped up. In his second resurrection of the test – having scored 83 after coming in at 9-3 in the first innings –Mathews first battened down the hatches, then also joined in on the short-ball fun – scoring the bulk of his runs via pull or hook shots.

New Zealand's bowlers couldn't even muster appeals, as session by session went by without any hope of breaking the partnership. From starting the day at 20-3, Sri Lanka reached 122-3 at lunch, then 197-3 at tea – constant, steady, easy accumulation.

By then, Mendis had brought up his sixth test hundred from 215 balls – aptly pulling away a short ball to fine leg – and Mathews similarly brought up three figures – from 248 deliveries – with a flick through mid-wicket.

After Sri Lanka had gone 11 test innings without a century, suddenly two had come along at once, and adding to New Zealand's frustration was the fact just one breakthrough could have sparked something – Sri Lanka have a long tail – but they never even got close.

Mathews celebrated his hundred with push-ups – a pointed celebration to critics of his fitness – and rightly so, as it took a powerful and indefatigable effort to deny New Zealand.

Rain would seem a harsh way to decide the test - and both teams would love to settle the back-and-forth battle on the field. But, the Black Caps were in a prime position to end it today, and Sri Lanka weathered the storm.

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LEAKED! South African TV Cameras Capture Team’s Secret Plans Against All SL Batsmen 

Looks like the cameraman during South Africa vs Sri Lanka Test at Durban has become a cult hero! It was the same TV crew at SuperSport Park which caught the infamous ball-tampering scandal last year, involving Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner. Now, the same crew behind the lenses have got a shot of the strategy South Africa has against every Sri Lankan batsman. The broadcaster revealed all the plans, from weaknesses to where they should bowl at each batsman.

Fans on social media platform Reddit captured one still shot from the broadcast which showed the Proteas’ plans to remove opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne.

“Plan A — in-swingers off stump, good length, shaping/angling in from around the wicket,” the plans read.

“Plan B — 4th stump slightly fuller length, angling away, drives away from the body after a bouncer.”

The plans also revealed the batsmen’s weaknesses and the best strategy for deploying short balls.

Here is a picture of the shot:

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South Africa’s Blueprint for Sri Lanka batsmen 

Meanwhile, batting first the hosts were bundled out for 235 runs. Vishwa Fernando was the pick of the Lankan bowlers as he scalped four for 62. Apart from Quinton De Kock’s 80, no other batsmen made any contribution of high value.

Sri Lanka is 46/1 at stumps on Day 1 and they have a slight advantage over the hosts. Steyn picked up the only Lankan wicket of Lahiru Thirimanne for a duck. The Lankans will look to consolidate and get good first innings lead in the 1st Test.

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Will not contest SLC elections: Thilanga

Former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president and UPFA parliamentarian Thilanga Sumathipala said that he will not be contesting the upcoming SLC election.

Sumathipala made this announcement during a press conference held in Colombo today (17).

It is reported that new regulations imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) requires elected members to respective cricket boards have no connection to the gaming industry.

However, A report of the defamation case filed by Thilanga Sumathipala against parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga had revealed his connections to the gaming industry.

The Ceylon Today reported that Sumathipala had accepted the fact that ‘Sporting Star‘ is a book making business that was associated with his family. 

The newspaper also reported that Sumathipala and his family members also owned a leading media company as well as a sports gear company.

According to Sri Lanka's sports law, a person who is associated with the gaming industry, who owns a media company or a sports goods selling company, is not eligible to hold a post in a national sports association.

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