We were beaten by a better side - Strauss

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
England captain Andrew Strauss admitted that his team had been thoroughly beaten by a better side after Sri Lanka had whipped them by ten wickets in the World Cup quarter-final match played at the R Premadasa Stadium yesterday.
“Sri Lanka was able to bowl a lot of dot balls at us to build pressure and we weren’t able to take advantage of the platform,” said Strauss.
“But we have to be honest; we haven’t been good enough during the tournament. This was a step too far,” he said.

For England it has been a long winter from home and the strain showed in their performance. They looked a spent force long before the finish.
Strauss also blamed the long tour schedule and the mounting injuries to his side that also played a part in the way they performed.
He said that he would sit with the England selectors and discuss his future as captain of the one day side.
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara praised his side for fighting back hard and keeping up the pressure after they had lost the toss and was forced to field first.

Sangakkara said the double century opening partnership of 231 runs off 237 balls between Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan reminded him of Headingley in 2006. On that occasion Tharanga in partnership with Sanath Jayasuriya flayed the England bowlers to the tune of 286, a world record for the first wicket.
“Losing the toss it was important that we started well with the ball and Dilshan gave us that early breakthrough,” said Sangakkara.

“We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, we’ve just got to keep our heads down,” he said.
Sri Lanka face New Zealand in the first semi-finals on Tuesday and they will be keeping a close eye on the fitness of their champion spinner Muthiah Muralitharan whom Sangakkara said had pulled up a bit stiff, but was confident that he will be fit for the New Zealand game.
Man of the Match Dilshan praised the wicket and said that he intends carrying his form forward for the rest of the tournament.
“It was a fantastic one-day wicket. It got better and better. We knew if we started well we could build up from there,” Dilshan said.


Three ‘Big Matches’ end in draws

By Samiddha Rathnayake
The 106th Battle of the Lovers, the ‘Big Match’ between Richmond and Mahinda ended in a draw at Galle International Stadium yesterday. It would have been a keen contest if not for the scattered rain that was a feature throughout the match. Richmond who was 131 for 7 at the end of the first days play limped to 157 yesterday and in reply Mahinda declared on 78 for 9, with the intention of making a match of it. Dananjaya de Silva was the pick of the bowlers for Mahinda claiming 5 wickets for 44 runs. In their second essay Richmond declared on 32-5 and at close Mahinda was 32 for no loss.
Ananda Sastralaya dominated their 48th annual cricket encounter that ended in a draw with St. Mary’s, Matugama played at Matugama Public Ground yesterday. 
The 8th Battle of Two Cities, the annual encounter between St. Aloysius’ Galle and Rahula College Matara, ended in a tame draw at Matara yesterday.

  • At Galle International Stadium:
    Richmond 131-7 contd 157 (71) (Mahesh Sandaruwan 45, Kavindu Thimuth 21, Dananjaya de Silva 20, Chalana de Silva 5/44, Sohan Kariyawasam 3/15, Kaushalya Gajasinghe 2/35) and 32/5 dec (14.5) (Mahesh Sandaruwan 11, Kaushalya Gajasinghe 3/8)
    Mahinda 78/9 dec (47.1) (Sohan Kariyawasam 23 n.o., Dhananjaya de Silva 5/29, Dileepa Priyadarshana 3/16) and 32-0 (7) (Udara Ranasinghe 19 n.o.)
  • At Matugama:
    Ananda Sastrayala 205 and 219-6 (54) (Rasindu Krishan 117 n.o., Pasindu Maduwantha 50 n.o., Mihiraj 2/44, R. Sameera 2/85)
    St. Mary’s, Matugama 120-7 condt 174 (52.3) (R. Sameera 27, Mihiraj 23, S. Welgama 36, Ruchira Adikaram 5/56) and 92-1(27) (Chamara 29)
  • At Uyanwatte Stadium Matara
    Rahula 198 and 94-5 (Dulshan Kalatunga 31, Priyasad Gamage 26, Santhusha 3/34)
    St. Aloysius’ 32-1 contd 129 (Chanaka Danushka 23, Chaturanga Madushan 21, I. Uyanhewa 5/54) and 119-6 (Chanaka Danushka 52, M. Ekanayake 3/24)
    Slow scoring at Kegalle
    St. Mary’s, Kegalle managed 158 in their first innings against Kegalu Vidyalaya on the first day of their 33rd encounter played at the Kegalle Esplanade yesterday. Kegalu Vidyalaya was 10 for no loss at the end of the days play.
    St. Mary’s, Kegalle 158 (51.4) (Mohommed Malik 32, Mahinda Gunaratne 26, Chaturanga Ranaweera 40, Asanka Balasuriya 3/23, Samadhi Dassanayake 3/52, Udara Thilakasiri 4/38)
    Kegalu Vidyalaya 10-0 (4)


105th Battle of the Maroons

Dharmaraja ends 30-year stalemate

M. Minhaz in Kandy
Dharmaraja College ended the long spell of drawn encounters for the past three decades when they registered a seven-wicket win over Kingswood College in the hill capital’s 105th Battle of the Maroons concluded at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium, Pallekelle yesterday.
The last time a decision was reached in this battle was in 1980 when the Rajans won under Janaka Mendis. The last Kingswood victory was in 1958 under Maurice Fernando.

This win increases the Rajan,s tally of wins to 34 against 19 by Kingswood College.
From the first ball the Rajans dominated this battle. After skittling out Kingswood College for 117, they declared at their overnight score of 169 for 6, put their opponents into an uncomfortable position of having to bat the whole day to save the match.
The Kingswoodians 52 runs behind on the first innings, did not fare any better in the second innings losing their first four wickets for 22 runs.

A stubborn fifth wicket stand of 49 between Lakshitha Madhushan 30 (6 fours 30 balls) and skipper Yasindu Athukorale 17 (3 fours, 78 balls) only delayed the inevitable. Before long they were dismissed for 127 leaving the Rajans to get 76 runs for victory which they did for the loss of three wickets.
Regional Manager of Commercial Bank Limited Ajith Narampanawa was the chief guest and he distributed the awards with guest of honour Superintendent of Begambara Prisons Tissa Jayasinghe.

Nuwan Karunaratne of Dharmaraja was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Kingswood 117 and 127 (68.1) (Lakshitha Madushan 31, Madhisha Premawardena 20, N. Unamboowe 17, Nuwan Karunaratne 3 for 36, Lahiru Herath 2 for 6).
Dharmaraja 169 for 6 decl. and 76 for 4 (20.5) (Kavinda Wijekoon 12, Sasith Gunasekera 10, Sadun Weerakoddy 24, Hemal Munaweera not out 12, Lahiru Herath not out 12).


36th annual Mustang trophy encounter

Ramith leads Royal to victory with century

By Isuru Dilan
The star-studded Royal team led by Ramith Rambukwella scored an emphatic seven-wicket win over a hapless S. Thomas’ side in the 36th annual Mustang trophy encounter played at the SSC grounds yesterday.
Royal chasing a paltry total of 167, won the game in right royal style using just 25 overs. The Thomians who finished their innings on 167 all out were completely demolished by a brilliant Royal outfit who proved their class. With this win Royal took the lead in the one-day series increasing their tally to 18 out of 36 encounters to 17 wins by the Thomians.

The gloomy weather conditions only allowed each side 41 overs of play and Royal who won the toss invited the Thomians to bat first. Interestingly the Thomian skipper when asked what he would have done if he had won the toss went on to say that he would have batted first. There were some notable changes from both camps with Royal going in with a solitary change bringing in all-rounder Heshan Ramanayake in place of Anjana Kudahetti while the Thomians made two changes to their three-day game line up bringing in left-arm leg-spinner Rishen Mathangaweera and top order batsman Brian Dharmasena in place of Mevantha de Silva and Javed Bongso.
The Thomian outfit didn’t look the same which fought the ‘Big Match’ so courageously and almost ended up with a win. The top order looked in a lot of trouble against Guarav Dev and Imran Kahn who bowled with a lot of pace. The Thomians had no clue against them. Sachin Peiris and Asiri Wickramanayake made a minor recovery with Peiris in particular scoring with a lot of intent and aggression. Sachin got out for 29 while Asiri made 34.
The left-arm spin of Neomal Wickramasekera made a noticeable contribution with a well made 34. The spin king of Royal Devin Pathmanathan returned best figures of 4 for 34 in 9 overs. The Royal quicks too came up with a far better performance when compared to the three-day game with Gaurav Deva, Imran Khan and Banuka Rajapakse capturing a wicket apiece.

Royal were given a magnificent start by openers Rambukwella and Waruna Dissananayke. The pair put on a superb 149 runs for the first wicket before Waruna got out for a stroke-filled 48. The partnership was incidentally the third century stand during the 36 years of the Mustangs trophy. The Royal skipper was on fire with some brutal hitting to all corners of the ground. Ramith made a wonderful unbeaten 103 but the rest of the batting which included Supun Subasinghe and Imal Liyanage didn’t capitalise on the opportunity as they made just two and five respectively. Ramith hit 13 fours and a majestic six in his 82-ball innings. He was adjudged the man of the match for the second time having won the same award in the 132nd Battle of the Blues a fortnight back.
Scores: S Thomas’ 167 (40.5) (Neomal Weerasekara 34, Asiri Wickramanayke 34, Sachin Peiris 29, Devin Pathmanathan 4/34,Gaurav Deva 2/29)
Royal 168-3 (24.5) (Ramith Rambukwella 103 n.o., Waruna Dissanayake 48).


Mercantile 50 overs ‘B’ division cricket

Singer wakes up from slumber to beat MAS Unichela

The uncertainties of cricket were amply demonstrated when Singer Sri Lanka ‘A’, after six straight losses, woke up to beat the formidable MAS Unichela ‘B’ by two wickets in the ongoing Coca Cola/MCA Centenary Year 2011 ‘B’ Division 50 overs league tournament.
Defending champions Janashakthi ‘B’ suffered their third loss in seven outings, going down to LB Finance by 34 runs, thus sliding down to No.4 position in the points table.
Debutants Union Bank finished their league matches with a flourish beating Nations Trust Bank by eight wickets. Union Bank finished with three wins in seven matches failing to qualify for the semi-finals.

  • At Colts: Singer SL ‘A’ beat MAS Unichela ‘B’ by 2 wickets.
    MAS Unichela ‘B’ 102 (27.1) (M. Fernando 25, P. Weerawarna 2/20, S. Peiris 3/30, IS Shamara 3/15)
    Singer ‘A’ 104-8 (29.4) (M. Fernando 35 n.o., M. Lakmal 2/40, A. Sandaruwan 4/35, P. Koralagedera 2/13)
  • At Thurstan: LB Finance beat Janashakthi ‘B’ by 34 runs.
    LBF 268-9 (50) (A Madusanka 83, Nayana Fernando 62, Roshane Silva 68 n.o., C. Amarasinghe 4/35, R. Sampath 3/35)
    Janashakthi ‘B’ 234-9 (50) (K. Bodhitha 76, N. Wijesinghe 47, K. Dinudu 48 n.o., Roshen Silva 4/40, M. Pramesh 2/20)
  • At Katunayake: Union Bank beat Nations Trust Bank by 8 wickets.
    NTB 161 (45.1) (D. Samarakkody 30, Ranesh Fernando 25, A. Liyanage 25, D. Foux 25, M. Thushara 20, N. Tharaka 4/49, W. Randeniya 2/12, Shalindra Perera 2/15)
    Union Bank 165-2 (29) (A. Perera 60, M. Sandaruwan 47 n.o., S. Silva 37)
    Thus the league stage of the tournament came to a close after 28 matches.
    Edirisinghe Trust Investments the only unbeaten team (7 wins out of 7) along with MAS Unichela ‘B’, LB Finance and the defending champions Janashakthi ‘B’ advanced to the semi-finals.
    The semi-finals will be worked off on Wednesday, March 30: ETI vs. Janashakthi ‘B’ at FTZ grounds, Katunayake; LB Finance vs. MAS Unichela ‘B’ at the Colts grounds. The final is fixed for Saturday, April 9 at the Colts grounds. – [LW]


Schools should maintain the spirit of Sports

The Minister of Sport urged schools and sports bodies to sort their problems amicably and settle differences in the true spirit of sportsmanship without resorting to legal action.
Science College had obtained an Enjoining Order from Court which resulted in the Schools Rugby Association being prevented from holding the 2011 schools senior rugby tournament. The Minister had to intervene in the matter and spoke to the schools and the rugby association and the issue was resolved with the number of teams in the schools division 1 segment ‘A’ being increased from 10 to 12, and Science College agreeing to withdraw the case.


Cricket Freeze 2011 on March 31

The Cricket Freeze 2011 – Pit stop annual social event of St Sylvester’s College Old Boys Association Colombo Branch will be held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo 7 on March 31 commencing 6.45 pm.
This event which is an annual social in the OBA calendar is held to bring all the Sylvestrians together and to work towards completion of the college gymnasium project. All old Sylvestrians are requested to participate.



Premier league cricket

Chilaw Marians on top

Malinda Pushpakumara excelled with the ball for Chilaw Marians by claiming 6 for 46 to put Chilaw Marians in a strong position at the end of the second days play in their tier ‘A’ match against CCC played at Katunayake yesterday.
At Reid Avenue, Suraj Randeev of Bloomfield made headlines by claiming 8 for 88 on the first innings against Saracens.
SSC are in total control at NCC grounds against Baduraliya CC. Captain Kaushal Silva hit a brilliant 129 in the SSC first innings to guide his team to 340-6.
Army is in a spot of bother against Police at Panagoda as they were reduced to 146 for 6 at the end of the second days play.
Exchanges were even at Stanley Wijesundera MW in a low scoring game between Ragama CC and Colts which heads towards an interesting finish. At close Ragama CC were 33 for 1.
Tier ‘B’
Moors are in a strong position against Air force at the end of the second days play in their tier ‘B’ match played at Braybrooke Place yesterday. Rajitha Wickramarachchi (103) and Chathuranga de Silva (53) guided Moors to 356 in their first innings with a century and a half century respectively.
Dilhan Aravinda of Seeduwa Raddoluwa CC hit a marathon 183 as his team posted 384 against Panadura at Panadura Esplanade yesterday. The home team was 138-8 at close.
Exchanges were even at Welisara as Navy and BRC are heading towards a draw.
Singha SC is holding a slight edge over Antonians SC at BRC yesterday

Scores in brief
Tier ‘A’

  • At Katunayake
    Chilaw Marians 344-7 and 113/5 (34) (Kithruwan Vithanage 39, Milinda Siriwardana 2/32, Dinuka Hettiarachchi 2/27)
    CCC 133 (45.5) (Charith Fernando 23, Dhanushka Gunathilake 23, Dilhan Cooray 31, Malinda Pushpakumara 6/46)
  • At Reid Avenue
    Bloomfield 372-9 and 14-0 (3)
    Saracens 224 (65.1) (V. Fernando 35, Shihan Kamaleen 45, Samith Dushantha 39, Rukshan Weerasinghe 26, Mohomad Azlam 39, Suraj Randeev 8/88)
  • At Maitland Place
    Baduraliya CC 161 and 95-2 (17) (Tharindu Attanayake 55 n.o.)
    SSC 149-2 contd 340-6 dec (85) (Kaushal Silva 129, Tharanga Paranavithana 46, Thilina Kandambi 28, Lasith Fernando 68, Omesh Wijesiriwardena 3/71)
  • At Panagoda
    Police 272-9 contd 276 (91) (Tharanga Indika 28, Supun Nirmal 33, Tharindu Weerasinghe 21, Aruna Priyantha 61, Manjula Jayawardena 55, Amila Mendis 55, Seekkuge Prasanna 3/98, Roshan Jayatisa 2/42)
    Army 142-6 (42) (Manjula de Soyza 52 n.o., Asela Gunaratne 22, Seekkuge Prasanna 31, Dhammika Rajapaksha 3/15)
  • At Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha
    Ragama CC 134-8 contd 134 (46.2) (Michael Vandort 72, Nayana Fernando 22, Sajeewa Weerakoon 5/34, Dilruwan Perera 4/20) and 33-1 (17.3) (Lahiru Thirimanna 22)
    Colts 195 (45.3) (Malinda Warnapura 63, Janith Perera 25, Sajeewa Weerakoon 22, Madura Lakmal 2/67, Nilanka Premaratne 2/52, Malinga Bandara 3/15)
    Tier ‘B’
  • At Braybrooke Place
    Air force 137 and 33-5 (17) (Kasun Madushanka 2/7)
    Moors 121-1 contd 356 (73.5) (Shantha Kalavitigoda 20, Kasun Bodhisha 65, Rajitha Wickramarachchi 103, Bhathiya Perera 30, Chathuranga de Silva 53, Dilhara Lokuhettige 53, Ajith Kumara 5/61)
  • At Panadura Esplanade
    Seeduwa Raddoluwa CC 323-5 contd 384 (111) (Hashan Gunathilake 36, Mavan Fernando 31, Dilhan Aravinda 183, Upul Fernando 29, Yasas Thilakaretne 36, Amila Perera 3/80, Nishantha Cooray 2/48, Yohan Arumathanthri 2/62)
    Panadura 138-8 (48) (Yohan Arumathanthri 34, Sudesh Umayanga 34, Carman Mapatuna 29, Romesh Eranga 2/39, Chamara Soysa 2/39, Jeffrey Vandersay 2/27, Ranil dhammika 2/18)
  • At Welisara
    Navy 284
    BRC 9-0 contd 221-6 (68) (Dellon Udugamasuriya 66, Gihan Dilruk 34, Nimesh Perera 33, Weranga Dissanayake 29 n.o., Udara Jayasundera 4/88)
  • At Havelock Road
    Singha SC 180 and 186 (49.2) (Lahiru Ashen 33, Sriyan Sanjeewa 22, Mahesh Kumara 51, Chamindu Ishanka 31, Sampath Perera 22, Chathura Randunu 6/94, Susantha Pradeep 3/25)
    Antonians SC 89-4 contd 140 (43.4) (Dinesh Nilanga 20, Chathura Randunu 23, Umega Chathuranga 7/53) and 19-3 (10.2) (Umega Chathuranga 3/3)


Book launch today

Veteran sports journalist Ranjan Paranavithana will launch his book “The Triumph” at the National Olympic Committee Auditorium today at 5 pm.
The book is an English translation of ‘Vijayagrahanaya’ which depicts Sri Lanka’s glorious World Cup victory of 1996.


State-of-the-art sports facilities in 9 provinces

The Minister of Sports, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, advised that the Sports Ministry plans to provide the best of modern sports facilities in all nine provinces to enable our sportsmen and women to compete at international level. He requested sports officials to identify and train talented youth to enable them to reach their full potential within the next five to seven years.
The Ministry is to initiate a seven-year plan to uplift the standard of sports with a view to enable our athletes to make a good impression at the 2018 Commonwealth Games for which Sri Lanka is also making a bid to be the host country.
The sports complexes will have state-of-the-art 400-metre tracks, cricket grounds, swimming pools, conference halls and hostel facilities. According to a Sport Ministry news release the first stage of this project will take off with construction of sports stadia commencing in Badulla, Anuradhapura and Killinochchi.


77th Mahagastota Hill Climb on April 10

The 77th Mahagastota Speed Hill Climb organised by the oldest club in the country the Ceylon Motor Sports Club will be held on April 10.
Entries are open for the meet and can be obtained from the club office at Jinasena Ltd, No. 176/1, Thimbirigasyaya Road, Colombo 2 or from the club website www.cmsc.lk.