Lanka loses warm-up match to Pakistan

Kamran Akmal hit 82 off 78 balls and Naved-ul-Hasan took 5 for 41 as Pakistan eased to a 108-run victory against Sri Lanka in a one-day practice match played at Benoni in preparation for next week’s ICC Champions trophy.

Pakistan was initially in trouble, slipping to 64 for 3, after the experienced pair of Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf failed to get going. Opener Kamran revived Pakistan by continuing to score at a brisk pace, and they went on to a massive score after Misbah-ul-Haq and highly rated youngster Umar Akmal made half-centuries.
Mahela Jayawardene had called on the top order to fire last week, but it flopped in the face of a daunting target of 307. The biggest contribution from the top five was Captain Kumar Sangakkara’s 21, which meant Sri Lanka was struggling at 83 for 5 by the 23rd over.

Chamara Kapugedera and Angelo Mathews resisted with a 102-run stand but could only bring some respectability to the margin of defeat as they couldn’t keep up with the spiralling asking-rate.

Sri Lanka plays their second warm-up match today against the West Indies at the LC de Villiers Oval, Pretoria before taking on hosts South Africa in the Champions trophy opener under lights at the Centurion on Tuesday.


All Blacks thrash Australia in Tri-Nations finale

New Zealand thrashed Australia in Wellington on Saturday to finish second in the 2009 Tri-Nations table behind runaway champions South Africa.
A converted Cory Jane try and three Dan Carter penalties, to a Matt Giteau penalty and Berrick Barnes drop-goal, gave the hosts a 16-6 half-time lead.

Carter added a fourth penalty before Ma’a Nonu thundered over from the 22.
Joe Rokocoko dived over in the corner late on as the All Blacks made it six wins in a row over the Wallabies.
The two teams meet again in Tokyo on 31 October, the week before the All Blacks face Wales in Cardiff and England host Australia at Twickenham.

The convincing nature of the victory will have come as a big relief to under-pressure New Zealand coach Graham Henry. The All Blacks dominated Australia in the line-out and with their pack monopolising possession, the backs had too much pace and power for the visitors.

New Zealand showed their attacking intent from the kick-off as they opted to keep the ball in hand but it was the Wallabies who scored first, Giteau slotting a penalty after Brad Thorn was ruled offside.
However, the Wallabies fly-half was off-target with his second attempt three minutes later and never got another chance to kick at goal.

Three Carter penalties edged the All Blacks 9-3 ahead and although Barnes reduced the gap to three with a drop-goal after Isaia Toeava was yellow carded for a high tackle on James O’Connor, that was as good as it got for the struggling visitors.

The All Blacks shrugged off the absence of Toeava to score their first in the 31st minute try.
A well-judged kick by Mils Muliaina was claimed by Jane off O’Connor’s shoulder and the winger stepped another tackle before diving over the line.

Carter landed the conversion and added a fourth penalty soon after the break to make it 19-6.
The hosts hammered away at the Wallabies, who were barely able to mount a worthwhile attack in the second half, and the visitors’ defence finally cracked with five minutes to go.

When the ball was fed into midfield the Wallabies looked well set but Nonu burst between tacklers to break the initial line of defence before his power took him through three more defenders to score a typically powerful try.
Carter converted and he was on target from the touchline after the All Blacks finished with a flourish, Rokocoko scoring with a trademark dive after New Zealand had spun the ball down the line. – [BBC]


Under-23 Division 1 cricket

Rain curtails play in semis

A full day’s play was possible after rain completely washed off the first day’s play of both the under 23 division one semi-finals that were due to commence on Friday. Today will be the final day of the match.

Eranga Gangoda (84) and Shasrika Pussagolla (44) chipped in with useful scores as NCC managed to pose a formidable 293 for their first innings at the end of the second day of the first semi-final at CCC grounds yesterday. BRC were 15-0 at the close.

SSC top order batted around Krishal Magage (75 n.o.) to guide their team to 282-9 in the other semi-final against Ragama CC played at Colts ground yesterday.

  • At CCC grounds: NCC 293 (90) (Eranga Gangoda 84, Shasrika Pussagolla 44, Dinesh Chandimal 24, Daminda Dahanayake 24, Roshan Laksiri 28, Roshan Wijenayake 23, Lahiru Gamage 23 n.o., Malan Madushanka 4/100, Rasitha Chamara 3/64).

BRC 15-0 (8) at close.

  • At Colts grounds: SSC 282-9 (96.3) at close (Dimuth Karunaratne 21, Hans Fernando 48, Shalika Karunaratne 37, Krishal Magage 75 n.o., Sanjaya Fernando 28, Madusanka Ekanayake 2/35, Hasitha de Silva 2/43 ) vs Ragama CC. - (SR)


Inter-school U-19 cricket

Suresh routs Sri Rahula

Trinity right-arm off-spinner Suresh Wickrama demolished the depleted Sri Rahula Katugastota team with a match bag of 8/26 to give Trinity a 92-run win in their cricket fixture played at Asgiriya yesterday. It is also the first outright win for the Trinitians in the season.

Trinity 223-9 dec.

Sri Rahula 103 (49.3) (A Thilakaratne 30, Suresh Wickrama 5/15, Rushan Jaleel 2/19) and 28 (30.2) (Suresh Wickrama 3/11, Chinthaka Gokula 3/0, Tissa Bandara 2/2)

High scoring draw

First innings centurion Hiran Wickramasekara (114) continued his fine form to make 50 not out as, St. Anthony’s Kandy excelled in their high scoring drawn encounter against Mahanama played at Katunayake yesterday. Mahanama declared at 271-5, after resuming on their overnight score of 23-1. Diluka Tissakuttige was the main contributor for Mahanama but was unfortunate to fall at 94. In their second essay Kandy lads made 88-1 at close.

St.Antony’s 266-4 and 88-1 (20) (Hiran Wickramasekara 50 n.o., Manoj Sarathchandra 28 n.o.)
Mahanama 23-1 contd. 271-5 (88) (H Perera 36, Diluka Tissakuttige 94, D Gunathilake 42, C Jayasinghe 59, Indunil Kumara 20, Adeel Riyal 2/77). – [SR]


WP Under-14 Division I & II rugby

St. Peter’s, Isipathana dominate

St. Peter’s juniors clinched the Cup championship of the Division I Western Province Under-14 inter-school rugby tournament beating Royal by 14 points to nil in a low scoring one-sided affair at the Royal College Sports Complex yesterday. The scores remained unchanged as both teams failed to score in the second half from where the Peterites went for the breather after an early 14-nil lead.

Isipathana beat St. Joseph’s by 7-nil in a keenly contested Plate final while DS Senanayake won the Bowl championship beating Mahanama by 19-7. St. Thomas’ Prep went on to win the Shield championship in a totally one-sided game as they nailed Prince of Wales’ 33-nil. Carey beat Lumbini 19-nil to win the Saucer finals.
In the Division II tournament Dudley Senanayake MV, Colombo had to work hard to earn the Cup championship before they defeated St. Sebastian’s, Kandana 21-19 in a thrilling encounter earlier at the same venue. Isipathana ‘B’ won the Plate championship while Asoka Vidyalaya pinned Piliyandala Central by 26-7 to win the Bowl title.

Results (Division I): Cup final - St. Peter’s beat Royal 14-nil; Plate final - Isipathana beat St. Joseph’s 7-nil; Bowl final - DS Senanayake beat Mahanama 19-7; Shield final - St. Thomas’ Prep beat Prince of Wales’ 33-nil; Saucer final - Carey beat Lumbini 19-nil.

(Division II): Cup final - Dudley Senanayake MV beat St. Sebastian’s, Kandana 21-19; Plate final - Isipathana ‘B’ beat St. Peter’s ‘B’ 14-7; Bowl final - Asoka MV beat Piliyandala Central 26-7; Shield final - St. Peter’s ‘C’ beat St. Joseph’s ‘B’ 12-7. - [MNA]


Gayan holds Grandmaster to a draw

Ravana International Chess Championship

Sri Lanka’s Gayan Pieris came up with the best individual result of the tournament so far, holding Tigran Kotanjiyan of Armenia to a draw.
With one more round to go in the 10-round tournament, grandmasters Vladimir Georgiev of Macedonia (who drew with Iranian GM, Elshan Moradiabadi) and Georgia’s Mikheil Mchedlishvili (who beat GM Vadim Malakhatko of Belgium) share the lead with 7.0 points. Four grandmasters are close behind them with 6.5 points each: Alexander Shabalov (USA), Moradiabadi, Anton Filippov (Uzbekistan) and Merab Gagunashvili (Georgia).
The tournament organised by the Blue and Gold Chess Club, with the support of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka and TIGO as the principal sponsor, is being conducted over 10 rounds and has attracted players from 15 countries. The tournament is being held at the Ceylon Continental Hotel and will conclude on Saturday, September 19, 2009.

Other key results: Gagunashvili drew with Filippov, Anuar Ismagambetov lost to Shabalov, Homayoohn Toufighi lost to Petr Kostenko, T.D.R. Pieris lost to Krasimir Rusev, Das Sayantan lost to Niaz Murshed, Gava Siddayya lost to Roy Saptarshi, Anna Zozulia beat CKD Fonseka, Soumya Swaminathan beat Akshat Khamparia, Prasanna Kurukulasuriya drew with Dinesh Sharma (IM).
The last round will commence at 9.30 am on Saturday, September 19 and the closing ceremony will begin at 4.30 pm at the Ceylon Continental Hotel.


Sri Lanka loses all first round matches

23rd Asia Women’s Basketball C’ship

CHENNAI - American Chantelle Anderson’s second quarter splurge put Lebanon in firm control and the West Asian hopefuls cruised along thereafter to beat Sri Lanka 96-54 in Level II on Saturday in the 23rd FIBA Asia Women’s Basketball Championships here.

Lebanon, who lost to Malaysia on Friday, is now 2-1. Sri Lanka has lost all their three games and facing the prospect of being the wooden spoonist yet again. Sri Lanka did manage to breathe down on their much better-equipped rivals for a major part of the first quarter, when the scores were locked 20-20.

But Anderson who was rather subdued till then, converting her only field attempt for the entire first quarter, began to take charge of the Lebanese attack. The former WNBA player, naturalized recently by Lebanon, played the entire second quarter and utilised her time on the court to score 13 points, in a 4/5 field record for the quarter as Lebanon outscored Sri Lanka 29-11.

Anderson played for only 34 seconds during the rest of the game, but added seven more points for a game-high 22 points. Premila Beruwalage was the highest scorer for Sri Lanka with 16 points, but eight of them in first quarter. Earlier in their first games Sri Lanka lost to Kazakhstan 94-40 on Thursday followed by another defeat at the hand of Uzbekistan who seized control early and cruised along to an 89-48 win on Friday. Tomorrow (September 21) Sri Lanka plays Malaysia. - [FIBA Asia]


Army suffers another shock defeat

Defending champs Army received the second shock of the season as they were beaten 1-0 by Police in their Dialog Champions League fixture played at Police Park yesterday. After a scoreless first half, Policeman Radika Pushpakumara scored the only goal of the match. Earlier in the opening fixture of the tournament, Army was unfortunate to face the wrath of the up and coming Don Bosco team losing 2-1.

Saunders is facing an uphill task of qualifying for the semi-final stage following their third successive defeat. They lost 2-1 to last year’s semi-finalist Air Force after both teams scored a goal each at the short whistle. The fixture was played at the City League Football Complex yesterday. Saunders will now have to win all their matches if they are to qualify for the next stage. – [SR]


Nestomalt Mini Marathon

Bandara, Dilhani win 3rd stage Open events

By M Naushad Amit
Sri Lanka’s top-ranked long distance runner Ajith Bandara and Manjula Dilhani won the open events while Gayan Madhusanka and Surekha Sewwandi took honours in the schools events respectively at the third stage of Nestomalt Mini Marathon held in Kurunegala yesterday. Ajith Bandara from Rangama, Wellawa clocked 50 minutes and 35.8 seconds to win the men’s open event while edging over KGR Saman Kumara from Sorabora, Mahiyanganaya who finished closely behind the winner at a timing of 50 minutes 36.1 seconds. DMP Bandara from Wattegama finished third at 52 minutes 54.1 seconds.

The women’s open event winner Manjula Dilhani from Puttampowa recorded a timing of 1 hour 5.20 minutes to finish her run followed by KG Samanthi Chandrani (1 hour 8.10secs) from Monaragala and MPI Dilrukshi (1 hour 13.10secs) from Chilaw who finished second and third respectively.

Gayan Madhusanka representing JR Jayawardene Central, Dummalasuriya had tough competition from fellow runners before he finished the 10 kilometres run for boys in the schools category at 34 minutes 38.8 seconds. HA Mohan Sanjaya of Awulegama Central finished second with a timing of 35.28.7 followed by WM Dinesh Priyantha of Hulugalla Central who finished at 35.50.2 as the third. The winner of the girls’ event of the schools category, Sewwandi from Bingiriya Central clocked 41 minutes 15.10 seconds to finish the race followed by HM Kalani Yashoda of Mahasen Central, Nikaweratiya who timed 42.08.10 as second and RMP Dilhani Kumari of Minuwangate Central who finished third with a timing of 42.25.10. The fourth stage of the Nestomalt Mini Marathon will be held in Galle next Saturday (September 26).


Police seize Maradona’s earrings to pay tax bills

Italian police have seized earrings from Argentina’s football coach Diego Maradona in an effort to recover unpaid taxes from his playing days at Napoli.
Maradona handed over the earrings, worth some 4,000 euros (£3,600), at a health clinic in northern Italy.
Italian news agency Ansa said Maradona faced a bill of 37m euros from his time at Napoli, where he played a starring role between 1984 and 1991.
His trip to the health clinic follows a string of defeats for Argentina.
The results, for which Maradona has taken much of the blame, have left the team in danger of not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1970.