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Lucian wins World Bodybuilding Championship

Sri Lankan bodybuilder Lucion Pushparaj won the 10th World Bodybuilding and Physique Federation's (WBPF) Championships held in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday. He was competing in the men's over 100KG category at the world championships.

Pushparaj, arguably Sri Lanka's premier bodybuilder, previously claimed the gold at the 51st Asian Body Building and Physiques Sports Championship held in South Korea last year and was placed also fourth at the coveted ‘Mr & Ms Atlas and Fitness Expo’ held in Texas, USA.

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28 Lankan players up for grabs for IPL 2019

As many as 1003 players have registered for the upcoming Indian Premier League auctions, including 232 overseas cricketers. 28 Sri Lankan players have also been included in the auction. Lankan speedster Lasith Malinga has listed himself among nine players with the maximum base price of INR 2 crore for the auction, which is scheduled to kick off in Jaipur on December 18.

With 70 spots available to be filled, the list includes 800 uncapped cricketers with India registering the highest number with 746 players.

One player each from Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands and USA have also registered for the auctions. Among foreign countries, South Africa have the maximum number of entrants (59), followed by Australia (35) and West Indies (33). Afghanistan has seen a massive boost, with 27 players registering for the auction.

Sri Lanka (28), New Zealand (17), England (14), Bangladesh (10) and Zimbabwe (5) are the other countries that have seen registrations.

For the first time in 12 seasons, Richard Madley won't be the auctioneer. In Hugh Edmeades, an independent fine art, classic car and charity auctioneer - IPL will have a new gavel master.

Franchises have been given time till 5:00 PM IST on December 10 to send in their shortlist of players.

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Dimuth, Mathews & Dickwella take Sri Lanka to 275 in first NZ Test

Tim Southee took 5-67 as New Zealand exploited an influential toss but Sri Lanka fought back to 9-275 at stumps on Saturday's opening day of the first Test in Wellington.

A late unbeaten 73 by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella helped to swing momentum for Sri Lanka. Dickwella hit 10 fours but lost his last partner Kasun Rajitha to the final ball of the day.

Southee had claimed three wickets inside the first four overs, leaving the tourists at 3-9, as the ball swung in overcast and humid conditions at the Basin Reserve.

The innings was revived by a gallant fourth-wicket partnership of 133 between Dimuth Karunaratne (79) and Angelo Mathews (83), who frustrated the New Zealand bowlers for much of the first two sessions.

Southee claimed two more wickets after tea to stifle the Sri Lankan fightback and completed his eighth five-wicket haul in Tests.

"There's still four hard days to go," Southee said. "I think (the key) was just to pitch it up. Anytime you have the Basin on day one, historically over the last couple of years, there's been assistance for the new. Ball but, if you can get through that, it becomes easy."

With the new ball, Southee put on an outstanding swing-bowling display, dismissing Danushka Gunathilaka (1), Dhananjaya de Silva (1) and Kusal Mendis (2) in his first two overs.

The remainder of the first session and most of the second were dominated by Karunaratne and Mathews, who batted for 42.3 overs or almost three-and-a-half hours.

New Zealand resorted to a barrage of short-pitched bowling, led by third seamer Neil Wagner and then by Southee, who bowled around the wicket to try to force the batsmen to play, with fielders behind square.

Karunaratne and Mathews were both out, indirectly, to that tactic. Both were caught down the legside by wicketkeeper BJ Watling while attempting to play pull shots.

The partnership ended on 133 and the total at 4-142 when Karunaratne sparred at a short ball from Wagner, giving Watling one of his four catches.

Mathews fell similarly shortly after tea, lured into an injudicious pull by Southee.

While Southee completed his five-wicket bag with Mathews and captain Dinesh Chandimal's scalps, the Sri Lankan resistance didn't end.

Dickwella unleashed an array of innovative shots to reach his 10th Test half-century.

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Thirimanne, Pradeep recalled for New Zealand Tests

Pacer Nuwan Pradeep and left-hand batsman Lahiru Thirimanne on Friday were recalled to the Sri Lanka squad for the two Test series against New Zealand starting in Wellington on December 15.

Both Thirimanne and Pradeep are making a comeback to the Sri Lankan Test side after a year. The 29-year-old Thirimanne played his last Test against India in Nagpur while Pradeep played against Pakistan in Dubai.

Spinner Akila Dananjaya, who is awaiting the results of a reported suspect action, has been omitted from the squad.

The first Test will be played in Wellington from December 15 while the second Test will begin from December 26 at the Hagley oval in Christchurch.


Sri Lanka Test Squad:

Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera.

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Malinga appointed as T20 and ODI skipper

Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga has been appointed as the Sri Lanka Cricket ODI and T20 Captain ahead of the Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand.

President Maithripala Sirisena has also approved the following 17 players to represent the National ODI and T20 Squad of Sri Lanka during their tour in New Zealand.

Lasith Malinga – Captain

Niroshan Dickwella – Vice Captain

Angelo Mathews

Danushka Gunathilaka

Kusal Janith Perera

Dinesh Chandimal

Asela Gunaratne

Kusal Mendis

Dhananjaya De Silva

Thisara Perera

Dasun Shanaka

Lakshan Sandakan

Seekkuge Prasanna

Dushmantha Chameera

Kasun Rajitha

Nuwan Pradeep

Lahiru Kumara

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Sri Lanka Cricket announce new selection panel

A new National Selection Panel has been appointed ahead of Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said.

Accordingly, the new selection panel will be in charge of picking the national team going forward. The new panel will consist on the following members -

Mr Asantha De Mel – ChairmanMr Brendon KuruppuMr Hemantha WickramaratneMr Chaminda MendisThe previous selection panel met with Minister of Sports, Faiszer Musthapa, who thanked them for their services to Sri Lankan cricket. The previous Chairman of Selectors, Graeme Labrooy was present at the meeting. Labrooy has been in the role since September 2017.

De Mel, the new Chairman of Selectors, played 17 Tests for Sri Lanka between 1982 and 1986. He has also served as Chairman of Selectors in the past, taking on the role in 2012.  

The new selection panel’s first task will be selecting the team to tour New Zealand which gets underway next month.

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Sri Lanka Artillery beats Army Ordinance Corps to win inter-regiment T20 championship

Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army, signalling a new chapter for the promotion of Army Cricket, declared open the newly-constructed cricket ground at the Sri Lanka Army Ordinance Corps (SLAOC) Headquarters in Dombagoda.  

The final match of the Inter Regiment T-20 Cricket Championship was played between Sri Lanka Army Ordinance Corps (SLAOC) and Sri Lanka Artillery (SLA) teams who gained prominence after competing with 20 regimental teams.

In a close tussle, Sri Lanka Artillery defeated the Army Ordinance Corps by 15 runs to take home the inter-regiment T20 championship.

The state-of the art, cricket ground lies in a 10-acre area and will be be equipped with two dressing rooms to accommodate the two teams, a cafeteria and 04 side practice pitches.

A swimming pool and an indoor stadium is also expected to be completed under a three-year development plan.

Army said that the new ground can be also be used for school cricketers and club cricketers on request. 

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Warriors crisis and Nuggets supremacy: now is the time to be wrong about the NBA

We are a quarter of the way through the NBA season, which means that – aside from Jimmy Butler’s escape from Minnesota – absolutely nothing of consequence has happened  yet. We know this. We know that the NBA season doesn’t really start until Christmas, and Thanksgiving has only just gone. And yet, despite the fact that we know we’ll feel stupid about it later, we get carried away.

Remember last year, at the start of November, when the Orlando Magic were good? Aaron Gordon was knocking down threes, all that young talent was finally gelling, and they were going to make some noise in a weak East. And then two weeks later it turned out they were bad.

This fall, thanks to his move to the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James entered the season facing lower expectations than he has in a decade.

For once, the NBA hive mind was preaching caution with his team – finding a groove with this young/old, fragile/insane Lakers supporting cast would take time. Of course it would, we all agreed quite reasonably. And then the Lakers got off to a sluggish start and we all lost our minds. Even Magic Johnson got in on the act. We shouldn’t misread Magic’s tirade at head coach Luke Walton as a sign that there’s anything actually wrong; superstar ex-athletes are just as prone – sometimes more prone – to overreact as the rest of us. And that’s all it was.


Kevin Durant’s Warriors have lost four in a row, but the funk is unlikely to last. Photograph: Eric Gay/AP

On 5 November, the Denver Nuggets were 9-1, and had somehow transformed one of the NBA’s worst defenses into one of its best, a huge leap that the healthy return of Paul Millsap, bless him, did not entirely explain. We restrained ourselves from wondering if they could beat Golden State – we’re not delusional – but what about second in the West? A home playoff series? Anything (other than beating Golden State) is possible. Then the Nuggets lost six out of seven and currently sit just half a game above the Lakers, who are now firmly back over .500 and in a playoff place thanks to coach of the year candidate … Luke Walton.

The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, have pulled a reverse Nuggets, erasing both their bad start and all traces of Carmelo Anthony from their franchise, winning five straight, including a blowout win over the Steph-less, Draymond-less Golden State Warriors, who, by the way, are reeling and on the brink of implosion after a somewhat heated argument between two of their five superstars, both of whom get in arguments a lot and always seem fine a week later.

In fact, we need to declare a moratorium on all “The Warriors are in trouble” hot takes until at least mid-April, and only then if Draymond Green bites off Kevin Durant’s lower right leg and pummels Boogie Cousins with it. (And even then, Warriors will win the NBA finals in five.) As ESPN’s Zach Lowe put it last week, with magical simplicity: “The Golden State Warriors are going to win the NBA title this year. They are so much better than everyone else.” Yes. What he said.

The real question is how bad things would need to get between Dray and KD before it actually impacted either of them on the court. Both are such merciless and title-driven competitors that their families could be trapped in a blood feud and they’d still ball out with each other between the lines. It’s almost cute that we think a brief shouting match in mid-November will derail the Warriors in the finals next June. It’s cute we think we’ll even remember it happened.

Denver Nuggets, team of the future? Not just yet. Photograph: Veronica Dominach/AP

That’s pretty much the only thing this chunk of the NBA season is good for: lining up a bunch of things for us to be wrong about, despite all our better judgment. We’ve come back to Earth on the Nuggets, and we’ve stopped predicting the apocalypse for the Rockets and the Lakers and especially the Warriors. But we still need to settle down about so many things.

The Sacramento Kings are not this year’s Orlando Magic – they’re more talented, they run older teams until they collapse, and they have a budding star point guard in De’Aaron Fox – but sorry, we need to calm ourselves: they are not going to win 40-plus games, nor are they going to compete for a playoff spot in the West.

We need to settle down about Derrick Rose’s return to form, because he is not going to continue shooting 47% from three-point range (he’s a 30% shooter for his career) and also because his comeback narrative has been enabled by people who want to ignore the part about his dubious exoneration from a gang-rape charge. With any luck, he’ll start missing soon. But it won’t take luck. It’ll just take a few more weeks.

We need to settle down about skyrocketing scoring across the league – partly because it’s already starting to come back down, and also because it’s fun.

One of the biggest reasons we need to settle down about many of these teams and their playoff prospects is that many of them will look very different by the playoffs. It’s already begun. The Lakers added Tyson Chandler. The Rockets ushered Anthony out of the door (and, more significantly, coaxed defensive coaching guru Jeff Bzdelik out of retirement). The Sixers saw themselves slipping behind not just Boston but also Toronto and Milwaukee, so they traded for Butler and probably have at least one more deal to make.

The shuffling will accelerate in mid-December, which is when league rules permit teams to begin dealing free agents whom they signed over the summer. Holes that we think are fatal now will be plugged by Valentine’s Day. Kyle Korver will go to a good team in need of a three-point shooter. The Celtics could flip plucky young point-guard Terry Rozier, whom they can’t afford to keep – not if they also intend to pay Kyrie Irving – for the bouncy big man they lack. The Wizards look ready to rip their entire team apart. And the Spurs, hovering just outside the playoff bubble, may decide to surrender and send LaMarcus Aldridge – an All-NBA power forward and unrestricted free agent this summer – to a title contender.

Any of them would have a bigger impact on this NBA season than some silly squabble between Green and Durant. And none of them would change a thing about how it ends.

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Sri Lanka appoints new fielding coach

Sri Lanka on Saturday announced the appointment of former Australian cricketer Steve Rixon as their fielding coach, in a bid to boost preparations for the Cricket World Cup next year.

The 64-year-old will begin his new assignment later this month and join the team in New Zealand where, starting December 15, Sri Lanka are scheduled to play two Tests, three one-day internationals and one Twenty20.

They will later play two Tests in Australia from January 24.

"We are happy to welcome Steve into the team," Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva said.

"I am sure he will be able to help the team moving forward, with his expertise in the area of fielding which is a vital component of the game."

De Silva said Rixon will work with the national team until the end of the 2019 World Cup.

Sri Lanka have been struggling for form recently, losing the home ODI and Test series to England.

They have also been hit by crisis off the field.

Bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa was suspended by the International Cricket Council in October after he was accused of match-fixing and other "corrupt conduct".

Earlier that month, ex-chief selector and former captain Sanath Jayasuriya was charged for failing to cooperate with a match-fixing probe and concealing information.

The country recently sought help from neighbouring India to draft laws to combat cheating in the game.

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England cricketers visit Sri Lankan minefields in stark reminder of civil war horrors

The last time England won a Test series in Sri Lanka, the country was still ravaged by a civil war that lasted 25 years, caused over 100,000 deaths and nearly one million islanders to be displaced. 

And this week the tourists got a reminder of how much works there still is to do in repairing the damage of that bloody conflict. 

England’s Test players arrived on the island at the beginning of this month amid a backdrop of political uncertainty as the president, Maithripala Sirisena, unconstitutionally ousted the prime minister and replaced him with his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. 

Rajapaksa is best-known as the prime minister when the civil war ended but has also been accused of war crimes in the closing stages of the conflict. His name still adorned the pavilion at Galle, where England won the first Test and posters on the streets in Pallekele, where England won the second Test professed their support for the ‘strong man’ leader.

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Olly Stone, Joe Root, Keaton Jennings and Jonny Bairstow visited Periyamadu. Getty

A day after that Pallekele victory, some England cricketers went to the north of the island to witness the damage the civil war is still wreaking on some communities. 

Captain Joe Root, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow and Olly Stone travelled to the village of Periyamadu where a charity, the Mines Advisory Group, is still working to clear the landmines left behind during the war that ended in 2009.

The players watched on as specialist minesweepers painstakingly worked to find and remove explosive devices left behind, with the target of clearing the area by 2020. 

“The scale of it really is amazing,” said Bairstow. “To be able to come up here and learn about a country’s history, with the war and how they’ve tried to get people back together, this is a massive project.

“They seem to be doing a great job. The intricacies of de-mining must be so nerve-wracking. Knowing that if you place one finger wrong that could be it.”

England’s players are used to dressing in protective gear but for this test they were given heavy-duty flak jackets, helmets and faceguards as they were taught about the damage residual minefields continue to cause, even years after the conflict has ended. 

minefield 2England players learned about how charities locate and remove landmine. Getty

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Army launches its maiden Handball Tournament 

Sri Lanka Army's Handball Committee for the first time in its history launched the maiden ‘Sri Lanka Handball Fiesta - 2018’ on Tuesday at the Panagoda Indoor Stadium. 23 Men's teams and 5 Women's teams took part in the island wide competition.

The entry free Sri Lanka Handball Championship will run from 4th to 8th of December .

Directorate of Sports in the Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Army Handball Committee have played a significant role to promote handball as a sport in Sri Lanka since it was introduced to Sri Lanka in 2009. Sri Lanka Army is the only organization that has staged handball tournament of this magnitude to date.

Major General Bimal Vidanage, Quarter Master General of the Sri Lanka Army graced the brief inaugural ceremony of the ‘Sri Lanka Handball Fiesta - 2018’ as the Chief Guest.

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Ireland shocks New Zealand for first win in Dublin

Ireland recorded a memorable first ever home victory over New Zealand in Dublin last night - only the second time they have ever beaten the All Blacks.

The World number one side were simply not allowed to get any room as Ireland pounded them and man for man produced an awesome display in a massively physical contest in the Aviva Stadium. It was a frantic opening to the much anticipated high profile game. New Zealand pressed the Irish in the early stages, but the men in green's defence held solid.

Then the Irish came out fighting, going through the phases, building well. The spelll ended with a penalty in front of the posts, outhalf Jonathan Sexton firing over.

Beauden Barrett, Damien McKenzie and Reiko Ioane made lots of runs for the visitors as it was their turn to inject something into the game. That pressure eventually told when Ireland conceded a penalty and outhalf Barrett obliged to level the scores.

But Ireland get the bit between their teeth again and some solid pressure has them pressing hard. Stander makes the initial surge but it is held up. From the 15m scrum a little chip over from Sexton seems to be recovered on the ground by fullback Rob Kearney and he appears to ground. Referee Wayne Barnes gives an onfield decision of a try, but on TMO review it is ruled out as the ball went slightly forward.

It comes back for the penalty advantage and Sexton goals to make it 6-3.
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Ireland's Keith Earls makes a tackle as New Zealand attack

The All Blacks attack again as the end to end game continues. Barrett finds an instant response as he sends a drop goal sailing between the posts to level matters again after 29 minutes.

Ireland's workrate was through the roof as they mounted another series of attacks. It is sparked by a brilliant break from the Ulster winger as he gathers Smith’s box kick and then surges through the middle. The hosts are on the front foot as Furlong picks up the mantle, before Stockdale carries again on this left side.

It is a sea of green as the hosts press. The Irish scrum obliterates the All Blacks at the set-piece and with a penalty advantage coming, Sexton looks cross-field for Stockdale. Nothing comes of it and then Sexton opts to go for the corner once again.

The driving maul never comes off, but Ireland remain in the ascendancy and a further penalty sees Sexton goal to send them in with a 9-6 lead - scant enough in some respects given the dominance they have had.

Ireland's dominance at the set piece see's Kiwi boss Steven Hansen send the shepherd's crook out for the entire front row two minutes into the second half.

But it is the All Blacks who have an early chance, Stockdale's attempted chip charged down by Kieran Read. Only the number eight knocks it on it may well have led to a try.

Things can turn quickly, another attack from Stockdale, he chips it over the defence and this time races through to gather and get over for the try as the Aviva Stadium lifts out of its foundations. It is is 12th try in 14 games. Sexton's conversion gives Ireland a 16-6 lead after 48 minutes.

Stockdale then turned defender as he stopped a threat on the All Blacks right hand side, Barret popping a grubber kick through, but the Ulster winger gathered to halt the imminent danger.

But it was now a sea of Black hitting the Irish line, Barrett instrumental in it with replacement Richie Mo'unga and Loane threatening. Peter O'Maohny made two huge hits to stop two separate attacks, it took its toll and he was replaced by Ulster;s Jordi Murphy while Iain Henderson came on for the hard working and ever present Devin Toner.

Barrett looked as if he had eluded the home defence, but as he turned for support he passed straight into the grateful hands of Kearney.
Ireland grew back into the game but two missed lineouts by replacement Sean Cronin foiled good attacking positions as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes.

The play was all in the All Blacks half as the Irish pressed and reacted to every touch the visitors got.

Replacement scrumhalf Luke McGrath foolishly kicked possession away when the Irish were in control and that led to a nervous finish as the tourists pushed one final time. A knock-on was met with a thunderous roar in the Aviva Stadium - Ireland had won!

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