29th October 2000
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Unbeaten Sri Lanka's morale high

Channaka de Silva reporting from Sharjah 
An extremely confident captain of the high -riding Sri Lanka team Sanath Jayasuriya was exuding optimism but did not want to count the chickens before the eggs were hatched. He did not produce a verbal barrage saying "I am the greatest" in Mohammed Ali style or "We will win" directly on Friday after completing a hundred percent winning record in the preliminary round matches of the CBFS Cricket tournament here. But he made a statement which was more of a challenge to the rest of the world and a warning to the Indian team, their final opponents today. 

"We will see about it on Sunday" Jayasuriya said with a smile when a journalist asked him whether he believed in the law of averages and that Sri Lanka will not be in favourable position after their hundred percent record. He did not say it directly as is customary for him, but the smile and the words were enough to convince all who were there that it was not a matter of law of averages but a law of skills. 

Jayasuriya made it a point to stress that they will not be complacent after their smashing victory over India in the final game before the final which was actually a dress rehearsal as both teams had already made it into the final. 

"We are always trying our best." Jayasuriya told the press having earlier proved it with action when they provided a superb show in a match which they could have taken lightly. He stopped short of predicting how the final performance will be, but revealed that the team's morale is at an all-time high after winning all matches before entering the final. 

Jayasuriya regretted that he had to keep a talent like Avishka Gunawardena in cold storage, but promised that he will pick the best for the final. 

"When our top order fails our middle order clicked. When our middle order fails our top order clicks. That is a good sign that the batting line- up is doing its job properly. That is why we kept winning. I don't see why it will change in the next match," Jayasuriya said. 

The amazing bowling of Muttiah Muralitharan which rattled the Indians on Friday has caused a sensation here. First no spinner managed to excel on the surface before, the dew in the night time had made it almost impossible for the ball to spin and as everyone would agree Indians are obviously the best players of spin. On top of this Murali is the first spinner to take seven wickets in a one day international. 

Murali who confessed that he did not know that he had achieved a record till it appeared in the scoreboard, was very simple in his explanation. "Our batsmen scored a lot of runs. And it was easy for me to bowl after that." It was that simple. 

Jayasuriya however felt the wicket started taking turn as the day progressed. He should have been right because Russell Arnold and Jayasuriya himself bowled superbly too. Jayasuriya also revealed that they did have a plan for the new Indian batting find Yuvraj Singh with Murali, which he said worked like clockwork in the two early matches. 

Indian captain Saurav Ganguly said they did not have a plan to take on Murali from the beginning to hit him out of attack. "We did not plan to take him on. What happened was we played badly. It was brilliant bowling. Only the last two wickets he got were gifted to him when the batsmen tried to attack him. He captured all other wickets with good bowling." Ganguly said. 

Ganguly said paceman Venkatesh Prasad will be back for the final and hoped that the bowling problems they had would be solved with the arrival of the seasoned campaigner. However he said that they would not risk star leg spinner Anil Kumble for the final. "He is too valuable to be risked. We need him for the forthcoming tests." Ganguly said. India will also miss the services of Rahul Dravid, who is injured. 

While the Indians have these worries, Sri Lankans are in a high with most of their batsmen hitting purple patches and the key bowler Muralitharan reaching his best at the correct moment. 

So, as the way things are here at the moment Sri Lankans should be the firm favourites for the trophy barring an unexpected catastrophe. 

Sri Lanka will play medium paceman Kaushalya Weeraratne in the final dropping Eric Upashantha who played in the match against India. Since the pitch tended to take spin on Friday, there is also an outside chance of them calling leg spinner Upul Chandana. India are likely to play left hand bastman Hemang Badani who batted sensibly against Lankans and leave out all rounder Sridharan Sriram out. 

While Jayasuriya opted to see whether the law of averages worked on Sunday, his opposite number Ganguly asked what the journalists thought would happen on Sunday according to that law. A journalist said he thought as the law goes India should win. "Then its good" said a despondent looking Indian captain biting his nails. 

Murali's magic spell

Muttaiah Muralitharan celebrates his tally of 200 wickets in One-dayers with a magical spell of bowling by creating a world record for the best bowling  figure in history of One-day cricket. He took seven for 30 as Sri Lanka beat India by 68 runs in the Champions Trophy on Friday (27.10.2000).
he beart the previous best one-day mark of seven for 37 achieved by Pakistan's Aaqib Javed against India at the same Sharjah CA stadium in October 1991.
Muralitharan, mixing his viciously-turning deliveries with top spinners, triggered the Indian batting collapse, taking the wicket of Robin Singh.
He then went on to dismiss Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singhe, Vinod Kambli, Hemang Badai, Sunil Joshi and Vijay Dahiya to add his name to the history books.

His final bowling figures:
10 overs/1 maiden/ 30 runs/ 7 wickets

Best Bowling figure in One-dayers
7/30 M. Muraliharan (Sri Lanka) v India at Sharjah (2000)
7/37 Aaqib Javed (Pakistan) v India at Sharjah (1991)
7/51 W. Davies (West-Indies) v Australia at Leeds (1983)
6/12 A.Kumbble (India) v WestIndies at Calcutta (1993)
6/14 G. Gilmour (West Indies) v England at Leeds (1975)
6/14 Imran Khan (Pakistan) v India at Sharjahh (1984)
6/15 C.Croft(Windies) v England at Kingstown (1980)

Based on all matches up to 27/10/2000

Highest wickets in One-dayers (above 200 wkts)
Wasim Akram (Pakistan) 
Waqar Yunis (Pakistan) 
Anil Kumble (India) 
Kapil Dev (India) 
Javagar Srinath (India) 
Saaqlin Mushtaq (pakistan) 
Shane Warne (Australia) 
Courtney Walsh (West Indies) 
Alan Donald (South Africa) 
Muttaiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) 
Craig McDermotte (Australia) 

Based on all matches up to 27/10/2000

431 wkts
316 wkts
274 wkts
253 wkts
252 wkts
232 Wkts
230 wkts
225 wkts
214 wkts
206 wkts
203 wkts

Priyadarshana fifth

Prasad Jayasinghe reporting from Sydney
Sri Lanka's Chaminda Priyadarshana finished fifth in the 100 metresback stroke Class S 10 of the Paralympics at the Sydney Aquatic Stadium.

Chaminda clocked 1 minute 07.12 seconds with Poland's Maciej Mail taking the gold in a rew record time of 1 minute 02,3 seconds with the silver going to Benoit Huot of Canada and Judy Cundy taking the bronze.

United States head the medals tally followed closely by China with France third and Canada fourth.Todaythe closing ceremony will be held in the paralympics which has proved to be a popular sporting event.

Gayan and Harini are best divers

Gayan Ranatunga of S. Thomas' and Harini Jayasekera of Visakha became the male and female best divers at the National Diving Championships concluded at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium pool.

Gayan won the 1 meter and 3 meter springboard events and was beaten by Chanaka Wickremasinghe of Royal in the platform diving event by 2.25 points while nursing a shoulder injury that he received at practices a day before the championships. 

Harini Jayasekera won the 1 meter and 3 meter springboard events aggregating 352.60 points, 294.50 points and platform diving event with 262.45 points respectively. Sasanka Perera of St. Joseph's and Sathya Fernando of Good Shepherd Convent won the mens and womens intermediate titles.

Leilani Delaune of French School probably became the youngest female diver to take part in the national category diving in the 1 metre and 3 metre springboard events at the age of 8 years. 

In the three metre springboard event she was placed third. 

The standards required of the divers was clearly evident from the numbers which varied between 10 and 20 as opposed to 10 to 35 at the National Age Group and Schools championships earlier this year. 

Results - 1 metre springboard 

Men - Gayan Ranatunga (S. Thomas') 456.80 points, Chanaka Wickremasinghe (Royal) 427.45 points, Esiri Kankanige (Royal) 361.40 points, Juhani de Mel (Asian International School) 344 points, Lakshitha Kosgodage (S. Thomas') 177.30 points. 

Women - Harini Jayasekera (Visakha) 352.60 points, Tharaki Siyagune (Bishops), 249.05 points, Prasadhi Perera (Visakha) 242.65 points, Leilani Delaune (French School) 22.10 points, Manosha. C. Jayasuriya (Anula Vidyalaya) 218.15 points. 

Intermediate Men - Sasanka Perera (St. Joseph's) 203.90 points, Adhil Anees (St. Joseph's) 147.05 points, Chandeepa Wettasinghe (Royal) 140.15 points, Poorna Kankanige (Royal) 122.55 points, Dilesh Wellington (St. Joseph's) 110.50 points, Rajitha Dias (St. Joseph's) 96.80 points, Oshadi Siyagune (St. Peters) 94.70 points, Rusiru Munasinghe (St. Joseph's) 88.60 points.

Intermediate Women - Sathya Fernando (Good Shepherd Convent) 113.50 points. 

Springhboard - 3 metres. 

Men - Gayan Ranatunga (S. Thomas') 450.15 points, Chanaka Wickremasinghe (Royal) 431.30 points, Juhani de Mel (Asian Intenational School) 316.30 points. 

Women - Harini Jayasekera (Visakha) 294.50 points, Tharaki Siyagune (Bishops) 243.40 points, Leilani Delaune 221.35 points, Manosha C. Jayasuriya (Anula Vidyalaya) 218.90 points 

Intermediate Men - Sasanka Perera (St. Joseph's) 188.90 points, Adhil Anees (St. Joseph's) 158.35 points, Chandeepa Wettasinghe (Royal) 143.80 points, Dilesh Wellington (St. Joseph's) 121 points. 


Men - Chanaka Wickremasinghe (Royal) 397.75 points, Gayan Ranatunga (S. Thomas') 395.50 points, Juhani de Mel (Asian International School) 268.25 points, Lakshitha Kosgodage (S. Thomas') 206.70 points. 

Women - Harini Jayasekera (Visakha) 262.45 points, Manosha C. Jayasuriya (Anula Vidyalaya) 174.15 points. 

Intermediate Men - Sasanka Perera (St. Joseph's) 188.80 points. 

Sri Lanka stamp class over Chienese Taipei

Sri Lanka's three quarters turned in a superb display of fast open rugby to pull off a handsome 46 points ( three goals, two tries, and five penalties) to 30 points ( six tries) win over the touring Chinese Taipei in their second rugby union Test worked off in front of a disappointing crowd at Longden Place yesterday.

Thus the local team clinched the two Test series 2-0 having won the first Test by 34-27 in Nittawela last Wednesday.

At the short whistle of referee Dilroy Fernando Sri Lanka led 17-15.

The Lankan three quarters punched holes in the Taipei defence at every opportunity through their slick running and counter attacking with wingers Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Radhika Hettiarachchi, full back Nalin Dissanayake, and fly half Asanga Rodrigo making an impact.

Dissanayake had a wonderful game contributing 21 points to Sri Lanka final tally of 46.

But the forwards were totally outplayed by the visitors.

With the exception of hardy number eight Shamly Nawaz none of the others managed to counter the Taipei forwards who were outstanding in their unrelenting rucking and mauling.

The tourists could thank their excellent set of forwards who outclassed their Lankan counterparts in the loose but the failure of their fly half Chang-Ching-Fong, to convert any of the six tries proved costly.

Hooker Hung Chi Hsiang had a grand game scoring four tries for the visitors in a fine display of forward power.

Sri Lanka opened scoring in the 15th minute through a 30 -metre penalty put over by full back Nalin Dissanayake after scrum half Ibrahim had missed two easy penalties during the first 12 minutes of play.

Then Chinese Taipei scored their first try in the 19th minute when hooker Hung Chi Hsiang scored a pushover try after their forwards had won a five metre line out.

The try went unconverted as Taipei led 5-3.

Dissanayake fired over a 20-metre penalty as scores read 6-5 in the 21st minute.

Taipei scored their second try in the 24th minute when centre Lee Wan Nien crashed through after their forwards stole the ball from a Sri Lanka scrum.

They increased the scores to 10-6, before Dissanayake put over his third penalty in the 29th minute to close the lead to 10-9.

Sri Lanka then scored their first try in the 32nd minute thanks to skillful ball handling by winger Sanjeewa Jayasinghe and fly half Asanga Rodrigo who both combined in a move which resulted with Shamly Nawaz going over for a try.

Dissanayake failed to add the extra points as Sri Lanka snatched the lead 14-10. 

But Taipei hit back eight minutes later when their full back Tu Chia Ming formed the overlap to score but it went unconverted as the scores stood at 14 all.

Moments before the 'breather' Dissanayake fired over another penalty to give Sri Lanka the edge.

During the second half both teams matched each other in a ding dong battle for supremacy but the superiority of the local 'three's saw them home.

Scrum Half Sudath Sampath, winger Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, full back Nalin Dissanayake, and winger Radhika Hettiarachchi, all scored a try each after the turn around with Dissanayake converting three of those tries besides putting over a penalty.

For the tourists hooker Hung Chi Hsiang scored three tries to confirm his individual bril


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