Jul 302013
 
Kusal Perera, two uncapped players in SL squad for fifth ODI
Kusal Perera cuts through the offside, India v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy warm-up match, Birmingham, June 1, 2013

Kusal Perera is likely to replace the out-of-form Upul Tharanga at the top of the Sri Lanka batting order © AFP
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Sri Lanka has named Kusal Perera and two uncapped players in the squad for the final ODI against South Africa in Colombo on Wednesday, while resting three senior players and dropping two others. With the series safe after the victory on Sunday, the Sri Lanka selectors have turned their focus to blooding emerging players, which has been a priority for the panel this year.

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne, left-arm spinner and allrounder Chaturanga de Silva and left-arm seam bowler Vimukthi Perera are the new additions to the squad. All three recently travelled to the West Indies with the A team, with Karunaratne in particular, excelling on the tour. He has been Sri Lanka’s Test match opener since November last year.

Upul Tharanga is the most high-profile exclusion from the squad, after two successive failures with the bat in the series. Tharanga had been recalled to the side for the recent tri-series in the West Indies, and had struck his highest ODI score of 174 not out on the trip, but failed to recreate that form in the following matches. Middle-order batsman Jehan Mubarak has also been left out.

Mahela Jayawardene, Rangana Herath and Lasith Malinga will be rested for the game and Nuwan Kulasekara continues to be unavailable as he recovers from a finger injury. Sri Lanka leads the series 3-1.

Squad for fifth ODI: Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Angelo Perera, Vimukthi Perera, Chaturanga de Silva, Shaminda Eranga, Ajantha Mendis, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal.

Apr 072013
 
Teams look to build on early success

Match facts

Monday, April 8, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Kusal Perera strikes one on the on-side, Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals, IPL, Delhi, April 6, 2013

Kusal Perera will draw plenty of attention this IPL © BCCI
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Big Picture

Both Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders have begun this IPL campaign with victories, and their captains have had a significant influence on the outcome with strong batting displays. Knight Riders won their home game on a slower pitch, where Sunil Narine and the medium-pacers proved highly effective in containing Delhi Daredevils with regular wickets. Royals, too, beat the same opposition, in more batting-friendly conditions, but Daredevils pushed them close. Knight Riders’ chase was comfortable, Royals’ defense of 165 required two excellent overs at the death and a brilliant effort in the field to run out David Warner.

As the teams look to build on their early success, they have some fitness worries heading in to the game in Jaipur. Rahul Dravid, the Royals captain, who hardly played since the last IPL season, scored a half-century but had to leave the field due to cramps, and his availability for Monday is not yet an absolute certainty. Perhaps their most important player, Australia allrounder Shane Watson, has joined the squad and took part in a practice session on Sunday.

For Knight Riders, Jacques Kallis, L Balaji, and Brett Lee reportedly suffered a stomach bug but are recovering. Apart from winning more convincingly, Knight Riders were excellent in the field against Daredevils, while Royals dropped a couple of catches – but they did pull off two terrific bits of fielding to transform the game. Though they’ll be playing at home, Royals may yet again start as underdogs against the defending champions.

Players to watch

The last month of India’s domestic season was a productive one for Yusuf Pathan, who has warmed up well for the IPL with a century and two half-centuries in a row in the Vijay Hazare Trophy before this. The IPL in 2012, despite his own team’s title triumph, was personally not as satisfying, with 194 runs in 16 innings at 19.40. He calmly guided Knight Riders to victory in the opening game after Gambhir’s dismissal, and his team will be looking for more assured performances from him this time around.

Comparisons with Sanath Jayasuriya will chase Kusal Perera through the tournament, especially with his attempted flicks past square leg. He has a triple-century to his name in first-class cricket, had a good home series against Bangladesh, and played some attractive shots during his brief stay in the Royals’ IPL opener. Swapnil Asnodkar made a name for himself in the IPL in the first season in 2008 for the Royals (though he’s faded away since then), can Perera do better?

Stats and trivia

  • L Balaji has conceded the most runs to Rahul Dravid in the IPL. Dravid has taken 59 runs off 43 balls off Balaji and has been dismissed just once.
  • Brad Hodge has struck the most boundary fours in T20 cricket, with 549 in 180 games.

Quotes

“We have some depth in our team this year. We want to mix and match our team and when Shane Watson comes back we will be even stronger.”
Rahul Dravid

“We approach every game as if it’s the last, that it means everything. There’s no use worrying about added pressure, just go out and play better cricket than the opposition.”
Jacques Kallis

Jan 262013
 
Warner heroics cant save Australia

Australia Day finished as Sri Lanka’s night after the tourists pulled off a tense five-wicket win in the first Twenty20 international at ANZ Stadium.

Set 138 to win on a two-paced pitch, Sri Lanka reached Australia’s target with seven balls to spare in front of a crowd of just over 40,000.

Thisara Perera (19 not out) brought up the winning runs with consecutive sixes off Ben Laughlin (0-46).

Skipper Angelo Mathews (35 not out) proved the man for the moment, pacing his innings superbly to take the game away from the Australians after Sri Lanka had wobbled at 4-69 in the 11th over.

Openers Kusal Perera (33) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (16) gave the innings early momentum before the tourists fell into a hole.

Spinners Xavier Doherty (2-21), who opened the bowling, and Glenn Maxwell (2-15) took four wickets between them to halt Sri Lanka’s progress.  

Dilshan was undone by a magnificent diving catch from Laughlin as the home side threatened to take control.

But Mathews’ cool hand and Perera’s late hitting ensured their side got over the line with something to spare.

Sri Lanka go 1-0 up in the series with the second and final game to be played on Monday at the MCG.

David Warner propped up the Australian innings with a brilliant unbeaten 90, helping set Sri Lanka a modest target.

Wickets fell all around him early but Warner kept his head, combining power hitting with placement to post his highest score in international T20 cricket.

His 90 came off just 62 balls and included five fours and three sixes – the crowd left disappointed the opener couldn’t reach 100 as he had promised to deliver a Gangnam Style dance had he reached triple figures.

Adam Voges was happy to play the part of support act, contributing 25 in a partnership worth 84 for the fourth wicket.     

Warner’s knock should have been stopped in its tracks on 68 when he punched a ball from Mathews (0-39) straight to Nuwan Kulasekara at deep mid-wicket.

But despite the ball coming directly to him at a comfortable height and speed, the Sri Lankan put the simple chance to ground.

Australia got away to a disastrous start, losing Aaron Finch (one) with the score on eight.

The Victorian tried a cute onside push but only succeeded in getting a leading edge to cover where Kusal Perera took a spectacular diving catch.

Shaun Marsh (six) and George Bailey (11) made little impact before Voges joined Warner in an enterprising partnership.

Lasith Malinga (0-19 from four overs) was again the pick of the bowlers, failing to take a wicket but proving almost impossible to get away.

The Sri Lankan batsmen did the rest, albeit not without a few anxious moments.

First Posted 26 January, 2013 11:01PM AEST

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