Apr 062014
Sri Lanka bowl after 40-minute delay

Sri Lanka chose to bowl v India
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Thisara Perera claimed three wickets, Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur

Thisara Perera was back for Sri Lanka © Associated Press

After a 40-minute rain delay, which didn’t result in a loss of overs, Lasith Malinga disregarded the scoreboard pressure of a big final and asked India to bat first. India have beaten Sri Lanka in the last two tournament finals, chasing successfully on both occasions.

Sri Lanka, bidding Twenty20 international farewell to Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, continued to keep their original captain out of the side, Dinesh Chandimal. The duo has been part of a side that has lost four world finals and hasn’t won one. This, and next year’s World Cup, are their last chance to set this record right. Sri Lanka made one change to the XI that won the semi-final, bringing in Thisara Perera ahead of the extra spinner, Seekkuge Prasanna.

India, aiming to become the first side to have gone unbeaten through a World T20, made no change to their winning combination. They currently hold the World Cup and the Champions Trophy, and were looking for this to complete the set.

India 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Mohit Sharma

Sri Lanka 1 Kusal Perera, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Mahela Jayawardene, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Lasith Malinga (capt.), 11 Rangana Herath

Mar 312014
Rangana Herath is some kind of homicidal capybara

As assassins go, Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath is sort of chubby and non-threatening looking. However, after taking five wickets for three runs in 3.3 overs, New Zealand were left feeling like they’d been gummed to death by a capybara. If that weren’t enough, there were two run-outs while he was bowling as well.

It was soft, dreamlike carnage, like choking on blancmange or being smothered by Egyptian cotton with an unusually high thread count. Full credit to the captain for bringing him on so early. Nominally, that captain was Lasith Malinga, but being as he didn’t seem to know his team at the toss and judging by the flailing arms of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in the field, that was little more than an honorary position.

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Mar 072014
Mathews backs Jayawardene to come good
Mahela Jayawardene is bowled, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Fatullah, February 25, 2014

Mahela Jayawardene’s form has been a worry for Sri Lanka. He has only 36 runs in the tournament so far © AFP

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Players/Officials: Angelo Mathews
Series/Tournaments: Asia Cup

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has said it will be tough to pick a XI for the Asia Cup final against Pakistan, and predicts a hard contest, like in their league game.

“None of the games were easy for us,” Mathews said on the eve of the final. “It is going to be a fresh match against Pakistan. We have to play positive cricket. We are not worried about any individuals but the Pakistan team is balanced and strong. They have good batters and bowlers so we have to play the best cricket to win against them.

“Selection is very hard, because the bowlers and batters are performing quite well. It is a good problem to have as a selector or captain. You want the whole team having competition within themselves. We will have a tough time to select the team.”

So far seven Sri Lankans have played all four games in the tournament. They are Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Thisara Perera, Mathews and, surprisingly, the newcomer Chaturanga de Silva.

Among them, Jayawardene has had an awful run, having scored just 36 runs in four innings, but Perera, Thirimanne, Sangakkara and Mathews have played well. De Silva has only made 72 runs but he has picked up five wickets, bowling at 4.26 runs per over.

Mathews made it clear there was no doubt over Jayawardene’s place in the team. “We know the type of player he is,” he said. “I believe he is a big-match player. I am very confident that he will come out to take the Pakistan attack apart.”

Dinesh Chandimal has also made only 45 runs in three innings but he too is expected to play, although Ashan Priyanjan replaced him against Bangladesh without much success. Sri Lanka have to make a choice between de Silva and Suranga Lakmal, who has taken six wickets at 21.16 and has been economical at 4.88 per over.

Mathews had special praise for his most effective bowler, Lasith Malinga. “He is an exception. He is doing consistently because he is working hard. He wants to get things right when he walks into the game.

“He is working on his fitness, fielding and batting. He is our premier bowler for so many years. We want him to continue to do the same thing.”

Jan 302014
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 2013-14 (1st Test): All-Round Sri Lanka Coast to Huge Win

Faced with the daunting task of having to bat out two days and see off a near-500 run lead, Bangladesh batsmen failed to meet the challenge and succumbed to a huge innings-defeat shortly after lunch on Day 4 of the Dhaka Test.

Match Report: 1st Test: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Day 4 at Dhaka, January 30, 2014

Riding on the back of a huge first-innings score and some reckless batting from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka completed their second biggest Test victory by an innings at Dhaka. Even though, a lead of 498 runs meant that the game was well and truly in Sri Lanka’s grasp, the Bangladesh batsmen batted with unneeded aggression, showing no signs that they ever wanted to take the game to the 5th day, let alone thinking about saving it.

To give credit to the Sri Lankan bowlers, most of the wickets in the 1st session were due to some smart bowling from the visitors, which was made even more effective due to the hara-kiri attitude of the hosts. It was the fast bowlers who began the proceedings for the visitors early on. Opening batsman Shamsur Rahman fell very early, on the 2nd ball of the morning, a ripper of a ball from Shaminda Eranga. Suranga Lakmal soon joined the party and removed Marshall Ayub for 18.

Young Mominul Haque and Shakib al Hasan tried to counter attack, adding 52 runs run-a-ball for the 4th wicket before Shakib was trapped leg before by Dilruwan Perera. Mominul continued in the same vein and reached his 3rd Test fifty in 52 balls. But Perera, like tragedy, struck again- removing Mominul and captain Mushfiqur Rahim in quick succession. Bangladesh were reeling at 150/6 at the lunch break, and Sri Lanka sniffed their biggest victory ever.

The lower-order tried to resist and the tail threatened to wag but the Bangladesh batsmen failed to build any solid partnerships. Perera continued to chip away wickets at regular intervals and was ably supported by the seamers. Lakmal accounted for Sohag Gazi, who scored a quickfire 23, and Robiul Islam, while Perera removed the last remaining specialist batsman Nasir Hossain for 29. At 9/197, it looked game over for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were almost certain to wrap up their biggest ever Test win.

However, the numbers 10 and 11 for Bangladesh, the two unrelated Hossains – Rubel and Al-Amin – chose this moment to frustrate the Sri Lankans a bit. The two launched a much-belated counter-attack scoring boundaries at will. Al-Amin, playing in his 2nd Test, hit four huge sixes in his 18-ball 32. Eventually, Rubel fell to Perera, giving the off-spinner his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket, and Sri Lanka a well-deserved victory. Mahela Jayawardene was adjudged the Man of the Match for his unbeaten double hundred.

Sri Lanka will be more than happy with this victory. It was an all-round team performance where very department performed its job- the batsmen scored runs, the bowlers took regular wickets, and the fielders held on to the catches. Bangladesh were outplayed comprehensively, but they only had themselves to blame. On a batting wicket, they lacked the application required in a Test match. Their over-aggressive tendencies were exploited easily by the visitors.

Sri Lanka now lead the two match series 1-0 and Bangladesh will have a lot of introspection to do before the 2nd Test begins in Chittagong in 5 days’ time.

Scorecard: Sri Lanka 730/6d (Mahela Jayawardene 203*, Kaushal Silva 139, Vithanage 103*) beat Bangladesh 232 (Mushfiq 61, Eranga 4/49) and 250 (Mominul 50, Dilruwan Perera 5/109) by an innings and 248 runs

Man of the Match: Mahela Jayawardene (SL)

Image: Bleacher Report

Jan 292014
Mahela Jayawardene double century compounds woes for Bangladesh

Mahela Jayawardene becomes sixth-highest on all-time runs list

Mahela Jayawardene became Test cricket’s sixth-highest run-getter with a glorious unbeaten double-century as Sri Lanka compounded Bangladesh’s misery on Wednesday in the first Test in Dhaka.

Mahela Jayawardene’s 203 and Kithuruwan Vithanage’s maiden century (103no) helped Sri Lanka declare their first innings at 6-730 on the third day.

This was the highest score by any team against Bangladesh.

In the second innings, Bangladesh were reduced to 1-34 at stumps. The hosts still trail by 463 runs.

Marshall Ayub (11no) and Shamsur Rahman (9no) will resume on the fourth day. Tamim Iqbal was the batsman to go on 11 when he played a suicidal shot against Rangana Herath who finished the day with 1-8.

Jayawardene leapfrogs Australian Allan Border (11,174 runs) and West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul (11,219) to move behind record-holder Sachin Tendulkar, Australia’s Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid and Brian Lara on the all-time list.

The 36-year-old former captain, who has 11,236 runs in 142 matches, equalled teammate and close friend Kumar Sangakkara’s Sri Lankan record of 33 Test centuries.

Jayawardene and Vithanage’s heroics gave Sri Lanka a gigantic 498-run first-innings lead over the hosts.

They shared 176 runs at quick pace to give the side enough time to bowl Bangladesh out in the second innings and press for an innings victory.

Jayawardene led Sri Lanka’s run spree on the third day having shared two century partnerships with Mathews and Vithanage. 

He reached 179 with Mathews and an unbroken 176 with Vithanage to take the match away from Bangladesh.

Vithanage played in one-day style and completed his maiden century in 99 balls. He hit 12 fours and two sixes.

Jayawardene was particularly harsh on the pacemen who also helped him by bowling too short frequently. 

The former skipper earned his century with consecutive fours against Robiul Islam. 

He reached his double century with a six off Nasir and subsequently captain Mathews declared the innings.

Jayawardene smashed 16 fours and four sixes in his fifth century against Bangladesh in just 12 matches.

Shakib Al Hasan was the pick of the bowlers taking 3-159 while Sohag Gazi claimed 2-130.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 30 January, 2014 8:20AM AEST

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