Three-match ODI series commences at SSC tomorrow

Lanka eyeing a whitewash

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
Deprived the chance of playing on home surfaces prepared for next month’s ICC Cricket World Cup the Lankan cricketers take on West Indies in three one-day international matches at the SSC commencing tomorrow where both teams will be trying hard to gain confidence ahead of the mega event by winning the series.

What these games offer the two sides is match practice ahead of the World Cup proper which kicks of on February 19. Although SSC may not be the ideal venue for such preparations nevertheless a contest between two internationally renowned sides is still a game that everyone will follow closely.

“This is a new series and it is an official ODI series and for our future ODIs this series is important. We hope to win every match of the three-match series,” said Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara.
“Our first target is try and win the first game and hopefully then the series. If we can afford to give all the players the opportunity its well and good but the best eleven for that particular and for that particular wicket will play,” he said.

The Lankan captain further stated that it was unfortunate these matches could not be played at the World Cup venues and added, “I hope that on February 12 and February 16 the warm-up matches at Pallakele and R Premadasa be played under lights. We have made a request for it.”
Following the three-match series against West Indies, Sri Lanka will play West Indies again in a World Cup warm-up game at the R Premadasa Stadium on February 16 and Netherlands in another warm-up match at Pallekele on February 12. Both matches at present are scheduled as day games.
“We should not worry about the challenges we face what we can do is to prepare well for the matches and be prepared to play on any surface,” Sangkkara said. “Our duty is to play cricket and we should prepare ourselves for the matches.”

West Indies captain Darren Sammy said the series afforded his team a wonderful opportunity to play in the subcontinent where the World Cup is going to be held.
“Its good preparation for us building up to the World Cup we have a good squad mixed with young and experience going into this one-day series,” Sammy said.
The presence of experienced middle order batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, Sammy said was “a massive asset for the team because he is familiar with the subcontinent. We hope he will come out and do well for us as a team”.
Sarwan was dropped by West Indies for the three-match Test series in Sri Lanka in November.
Sammy said the matches at the SSC being day games, was not a worry to them.
“Most of our players are used to playing day-night matches. We are coming after a Tweny20 competition at home. That we will not worry about. We have to adjust according to the conditions and execute and play when we go out there,” he said.

The World Cup fever is gradually catching on in the country with cut out posters of some of the top stars appearing at principal roundabouts around the city.
The upcoming series will provide both teams with the opportunity to try out a few things ahead of the World Cup and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
While winning the series will be foremost in the minds of both sides, the form shown by the players will act as a guideline where the teams are heading and which of the players are in form.
This will be only the second bilateral one-day series played between the two sides in Sri Lanka. The first took place as far back as 1994 when it was drawn 1-1.

The one-day series will be played in aid of the flood victims who lost their homes, belongings and loved ones during the recent floods in the country. Proceeds of all ticket sales will go to the flood victims.
The teams: Sri Lanka (from): Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedera, Chamara Silva, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando, Muthiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath.
West Indies (from): Darren Sammy (captain), Chris Gayle, Adrian Barath, Devon Smith, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo, Carlton Baugh, Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller, Kemar Roach, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Ravindranath Rampaul.


Under-19 school cricket

Tame draws both

By M Naushad Amit
St. Joseph’s skipper and off-spinner Roscoe Thattil led the way to produce career best bowling figure of 6/77 but left-hander Javed Bongso proved his form with a well compiled 71 to help S. Thomas’ bounce back in their drawn Under-19 inter-school cricket match which concluded at Darley Road yesterday.
S. Thomas’ were forced to defend when they resumed at 52-4 in reply to St Joseph’s 172 on the second day where play got underway after lunch due to a wet pitch by the overnight showers. Bongso played a patient knock of 71 to help S. Thomas’ reply with 234 as the game ended in a dull draw.

Royal earned major honours against Dharmaraja in their Under-19 inter-school game which ended in a draw at Reid Avenue. Left-arm spinner Devin Padmanathan with a five-wicket haul wrecked Dharmaraja who resumed at 45-2. They were shot out for 194 in the first innings in reply of Royal’s 222-9 declared. Sandun Weerakkody made 57. Royal in their second essay declared at 143-4 setting Dharmaraja a winning target of 172 runs with a session remaining. In-form batsman Imal Liyanage stroked 78. At close Dharmaraja was 53-3.

  • At Darley Road: St. Joseph’s drew with S. Thomas’
    St. Joseph’s 172 (57.5);
    S. Thomas’ 52-4 contd 234 (77.1) (Vinura de Silva 20, Javed Bongso 71, Chamod Pathirana 30, Kavinda Perera 31, Dushan Mathangaweera 39, Dinal Dhambarage 3/64, Roscoe Thattil 6/77)
  • At Reid Avenue: Dharmaraja drew with Royal
    Royal 222-9 dec (66.2) and 143-4 dec (37) (Imal Lianage 78, Heshan Kumarasiri 27, Lahiru Herath 2/56)
    Dharmaraja 45-2 contd 194 (61.4) (Sandun Weerakkody 57, Deneth Lanka 25, Sasanka Nakkavita 23, Devin Padmanathan 5/45, Supun Subasinghe 2/47) and 53-3 (22.2) at close (Imran Khan 2/13)


FM Derana—WC Broadcasters

FM Derana announced today that it has been selected as the official radio broadcasting channel for the prestigious ICC World Cup 2011 which will kick off on February 19 in the sub continent. This is the first time in Sri Lanka that a private Radio station has won exclusive rights to broadcast a cricket World Cup, which was previously dominated by the national broadcasting service of the country.
“Wining these exclusive rights by competing with other major players in the radio broadcasting market is indeed a proud feat for us as we are one of the youngest channels in Sri Lanka - which makes the achievement even more unique for the station,” stated Madhawa Madawala, Executive Director/COO of Derana.
“We are indeed excited about having the opportunity to bring ball-by-ball commentaries on one of the biggest sporting events yet to our loyal listeners in Sri Lanka.”
Under the sole rights, commentaries of all the matches that will be played in Sri Lanka including the quarterfinals, semi-finals and grand finals will be broadcast live from the venue. Commentaries in all three languages will be given by a panel of expert commentators – comprising of the likes of Premasara Epasingha, Palitha Perera, Bandula Saman Wathuregama, Kelum Srimal, Ranil Abeynaike, Roshan Abeysinghe, Lucian Wijesinghe, MM Raj and Mohammed Rimzi.


ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Sinhala version of song released

Composed by the popular and critically acclaimed Indian musical trio of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy with versions in Hindi, Bangla and Sinhala, the official theme Song of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is on air now!
Adapted to meet the linguistic requirements of the three co-host nations in Hindi, Bangla and Sinhala, the original Hindi version is titled ‘De Ghumake.’
‘De Ghumake’ is a passionate expression that creatively captures the fierce sense of competition and the desire to win. It literally means ‘Hit It Hard.’ In essence ‘De Ghumake’ a local Indian cricket euphemism, is every fan’s wish and every cricketer’s intention. The song, champions the ICC CWC 2011 theme of celebration and national pride.
The Sinhala version was vocalised by popular local artiste Ranidu Lankage. Ranidu who lent his voice to this creative venture, commenting on his contribution to the project said, “As a Sri Lankan, it gave me great pride to get involved in this project. The original version created by the legendary trio of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, was a masterpiece and I hope my efforts in adapting it to Sinhala did justice to their production.”


Schools football final today

By Dayawansa Withanachchi

The final of the All-Island inter-school Invitation Football tournament organised by Group of 80’s of Hameed Al Hussseinie College, Colombo will be held today (Sunday) at Sugathadasa Stadium at 5.00 p.m.
In the semi-finals Zahira, Colombo, drubbed Lumbini (2-0) and Hameed Al Husseinie beat Holy Cross, Kalutara by the same margin. Prime Minister DM Jayaratne will be the chief guest.


School cricket deadlines extends

Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) has extended the deadline for completing the first round matches of the ongoing Under-19 inter-school tournaments according to its secretary Nihal Fernando. Accordingly the cut off dates for the Division I, II and III competitions has been extended by five days.
“For the Division I and II competitions we have extended the deadline until February 25. The Division III matches should be completed by February 9,” Fernando told The Nation.

Fernando further said that no further delays in tournament games will be entertained and if teams fail to complete the quota of eight of each group matches; they will be subjected for penalization in points.
Further, according to the secretary the SLSCA is hoping to finish all their Under-19 tournaments by April 8.
“We are hoping to conduct the schools limited overs tournaments soon after the end of the two day competition which will be followed by the Twenty20 competition.”

The limited overs knockout competition is expected to begin on February 12 and see an end by March 10. Thirty-two school cricket teams will be eligible to take part in the limited overs tournament and they will be selected according to the points accumulated in the two-day competition. The top 16 teams of the limited overs tournament will automatically qualify for the Twenty20 competition which begins soon after.
“We have informed all schools competing in the tournament to complete the tournament matches on time. The decision to extend the deadlines was considered as a result of many schools facing difficulties with the unexpected rainy weather experienced during the third term of play. The schools could however move along with their traditional fixtures after completing the tournament games,” he added.
The original cut-off dates of the Under-19 inter-school Division I and II tournaments were on February 20 and the Division III on February 5. -[MNA]


Super Sevens Hockey
Colts CC rattle champs Navy

By M Minhaz in Kandy
Women stickers from Colombo Colts CC created a major sensation on the first day of All-Island inter club schools and clubs in People’s Bank Super Sevens hockey tournament organised by Seetha Devi Balika and sponsored by People’s Bank when they held the star-studded defending champions Navy SC to a scoreless draw in the women’s hockey championship which began at the Asgiriya Stadium yesterday.
The Navy women fielding virtually a national team started off on a jubilant note by defeating Devians SC by 5-0 only to be given a rude shock by the Colts Ladies later in the day. The tournament will be continued today at 8.00am and the four finals are scheduled to be worked off from 4.00 pm onwards.


Six match series level at 1-all

Pakistan victorious

CHRISTCHURCH, (AFP) - A maiden century by Mohammad Hafeez and a blistering 65 by Shahid Afridi set up Pakistan for a 43-run win over New Zealand in their one-day cricket international Saturday.
The batting heroics, which rescued Pakistan from a disastrous start, were complemented by the fielding exploits of Umar Akmal who featured in three crucial New Zealand dismissals.
The result levelled the six-match series at 1-1, with one game washed out and three to play.
It was a sharp turnaround in fortunes from the first match, which New Zealand won by nine wickets with more than 32 overs to spare.
They showed the hallmarks of that domination in Christchurch when they won the toss, put Pakistan into bat on a green-tinged wicket, and had them two for eight by the fourth over.
Scores: Pakistan 293-7 (50) (Mohammad Hafeez 115, Misbah-ul-Haq 35, Umar Akmal 44, Shahid Afridi 65, K Mills 2/61, T Southee 2/57, H Bennet 2/54)
New Zealand 250-9 (50) (M Guptill 39, J How 24, S Styris 46, K Williamson 42, Sohail Tanvir 2/56, Wahab Riaz 2/43, Umar Gul 2/33)


 Asian Junior squash

India stuns Pakistan

 India stunned Pakistan to record an upset win the men’s final while Hong Kong comfortably beat Malaysia to clinch the women’s championship in the 15th Asian Junior Team Squash Championship concluded at the newly built Squash Courts at the Air Force Base in Ratmalana.
India recorded a shocking 2-1 win over hot favourites Pakistan in the men’s final as Ramit Tandon overcame Danish Atlaskhan in a hard fought first match. Pakistan however leveled the game through Nasir Iqbal who beat Indian Abishek Shek Partham but Mahesh Magaonkar fought back to give India the leaning edge when he beat Syed Ali in the third match.
In the women’s championship Ho Ka Fo and Tong Taz Wing of Hong Kong beat Vanesha Raj and Tan Yan Sin of Malaysia to record a comfortable win. The president of Asian Squash Federation Bato Sani Karim was the chief guest. – [DR]


Clijsters breaks Chinese hearts at Open

MELBOURNE, (AFP) - Belgium’s Kim Clijsters came from a set down to beat Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and win her maiden Australian Open title Saturday, dashing Chinese hopes of a first ever Grand Slam win.
After a shaky first set, three-time US Open-winner Clijsters fought her way back in a thrilling final in front of 15,000 fans at Rod Laver Arena, including a vocal Chinese contingent.
“I finally feel like you guys can call me ‘Aussie Kim’ because I won the title,” Clijsters told her Australian fans, who gave her the nickname when she was engaged to Lleyton Hewitt.
The 27-year-old Clijsters claimed her fourth Grand Slam title, and her third since ending a long career break to give birth to her daughter, Jada. She is now considering scaling back her schedule again.


ICC rejects Eden Gardens WC plea

NEW DELHI, (AFP) - The International Cricket Council on Saturday rejected a request to keep Eden Gardens in Kolkata as the venue for next month’s World Cup clash between India and England.
The ICC sparked a logistical nightmare for organisers on Thursday by asking for an alternative stadium for the February 27 match because of concerns about unfinished renovation work at the venue.