Sports

6th January 2002

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Lanka roar at run-a-minute

With skipper Sanath Jayasuriya leading the way, Sri Lanka yesterday blazed to 334 for four to take a solid grip on the second cricket Test against Zimbabwe at the Asgiriya Stadium yesterday.

Jayasuriya hit 139 - his first century against Zimbabwe and the ninth in his career - as Sri Lanka set the stage for a massive lead and another victory to follow their massive innings victory in the first Test.

Although vice-captain Marvan Atapattu fell early, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena made substantial contributions along with Jayasuriya. After tea Russel Arnold and Hashan Tillekeratne came together and had little difficulty against a friendly Zimbabwe attack.

Sri Lanka, boosted by Muttiah Muralitharan's haul of nine for 51 and then by an unbeaten century from captain Sanath Jayasuriya, took complete control of the second Test on day two.

At tea, the home side were 233 for three, just three runs behind Zimbabwe's first innings of 236, with Jayasuriya not out 116.

The dashing left-hander had hit 14 fours to reach his ninth Test century in only 155 balls, after three and a half hours at the crease, as his side laid the platform for a substantial first-innings lead. Sri Lanka vice-captain Marvan Atapattu was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by the medium-pace of Travis Friend for nine with the total on 11.

Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara then put on 71 for the second wicket before Sangakkara, in good touch with the bat, was removed in unusual fashion. Having hit seven fours for 42 in only 44 balls, he tried to pull a short delivery from Friend.

But he lost his balance and, in his attempt to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps, he knocked off the leg-stump bail with his pad to be given out hit wicket. Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene then added 120 for the third wicket either side of lunch before Jayawardene was removed leg before wicket for 56, trying to pull a straight ball from the left-arm spin of Grant Flower. Although Zimbabwe took just the one wicket during the afternoon session, they missed chances offered by Jayawardene, on 35, and by Jayasuriya, on 60.

Earlier, off-spinner Muralitharan failed to capture his 10th wicket of the innings as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 236. Chaminda Vaas took the final wicket, of Henry Olonga who was caught behind by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara for 18, leaving Muralitharan with figures of nine for 51 off 40 overs the fifth-best innings return in test history. After taking all nine of Zimbabwe's wickets on the first day, Muralitharan was attempting to become only the third player in test cricket to take 10 wickets in an innings.

He had a prime opportunity to join England's Jim Laker, who took 10-52 against Australia in Manchester in 1956, and India's Anil Kumble (10-74 against Pakistan in 1999) and possibly claim the world's best bowling return when he bowled the first over of the morning. However Friend survived a confident lbw decision off the fifth ball of the over, which was a maiden, before Vaas forced Olonga to edge the last ball of his first over of the day to Sangakkara.

Sri Lanka, strengthened their grip by reaching lunch at 111 for two.

Captain Sanath Jayasuriya was unbeaten on 42 and Mahela Jayawardene on 13 as the hosts, laid the platform for a substantial first-innings lead.Sri Lanka vice-captain Marvan Atapattu was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by the medium-pace of Travis Friend for nine with the total on 11.

Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara then put on 71 for the second wicket before Sangakkara, in good touch with the bat, was removed in unusual fashion. Having hit seven fours for 42 in only 44 balls, he tried to pull a short delivery from Friend.But he lost his balance and, in his attempt to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps, he knocked off the leg-stump bail with his pad to be given out hit wicket.Earlier, off-spinner Muralitharan failed to capture his 10th wicket of the innings as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 236.

Chaminda Vaas took the final wicket, of Henry Olonga who was caught behind by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara for 18, leaving Muralitharan with figures of nine for 51 off 40 overs the fifth-best innings return in test history. After taking all nine of Zimbabwe's wickets on the first day, Muralitharan was attempting to become only the third player in Test cricket to take 10 wickets in an innings.


Australia complete series cleansweep

SYDNEY, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Australia thrashed South Africa by 10 wickets on Saturday to win the third and final Test and complete their first series cleansweep over the Proteas in 70 years.

Gary Kirsten scored a magnificent 153 to help South Africa amass 452 in their second innings and avoid an innings defeat but it was not enough to prevent Australia from completing another massive win.

Set 53 to win, Australia coasted to victory 23 minutes before the scheduled end of play, reaching their target off just 10.1 overs with Justin Langer making 30 and Matthew Hayden 21 to follow up their centuries from the first innings.

They were named as joint winners of the man of the match award while Hayden also received the player of the series award after scoring centuries in all three Tests.

Australia received a cheque for A$51,000 (US$26,000) for winning the series but captain Steve Waugh announced the team had decided to donate their winnings to the bushfire appeal to help familes affected by the blazes that have devastated parts of New South Wales state.

Australia's win, which followed their 246 run triumph in Adelaide and their nine wicket success in Melbourne, gave them their first series cleansweep over South Africa since Bill Woodfull's side thumped the Proteas 5-0 in 1931-32.

It also cemented their place as the world's official Test champions although they did have to work a little harder than expected after the South Africans prodced their finest batting performance of the series to stall Australia's march to victory.

"It's been a great couple of weeks for the Australian team," Waugh said.

South Africa started the day at 209 for two, needing another 191 to make Australia bat again after their first innings total of 154, and added another 243 runs before they were finally dismissed after tea.

Kirsten's superb contribution saw him join Darryl Cullinan as South Africa's most prolific century maker in tests as well as breaking Jim Zulch's record for the highest score by a South African in Sydney.

The 34-year-old resumed on 82 and took less than an hour to get the required 18 runs to equal Cullinan's South African record of 14 test hundreds, reaching the mark with a boundary off Australian leg spinner Stuart MacGill.

The left handed opener had received a let-off on 12 the previous day when he was dropped by Mark Waugh at second slip but hardly played another false shot as he went on to register his second hundred against Australia off 246 balls in five hours.

He went on to pass Zulch's previous record of 150 for the highest score by a South African in Sydney set in 1910-11, before dragging a wide delivery from MacGill back on to his stumps, ending an innings that spanned 359 balls over seven and a quarter hours and featured 19 fours.

Jacques Kallis (34), Neil McKenzie (38) and test debutant Justin Ontong (32) all shared half-century partnerships with Kirsten before Shaun Pollock hit an adventurous unbeaten 61 not out to steer the visitors past Australia's total.


Selectors split: 3 resign, 2 remain

By Marlon Fernandopulle

Three National Cricket Selectors resigned following the shameful fiasco that preceded the second cricket Test in Kandy. Brendon Kuruppu, Amal Silva and Kapila Wijayagunawardene have sent in their resignanion to the Sports Minister Johnston Fernando. There was no indication as to whether the Minister had accepted the resignations, since he was out of Colombo.

However, T. B. Kehelgamuwa (Chairman) and K. M Nelson - the other two members in the Selection Committee - have not resigned.

The National Selectors failed to meet up with the Captain and Coach prior to selecting the squad for the second Test. While the Captain and the Coach were planning to play an unchanged team the Selectors were linked over the phone among themselves only and decided to rest Marvan Atapattu and Charitha Buddhika Fernando. The decision was conveyed to the Captain when he had already left with the team to Kandy.

This raises the question as to why the selectors could not meet before the team's departure to Kandy and why the selectors could not sit together with the Coach and the Captain before selecting the team.

The Selectors should also realise that if they are thinking of resting players like Atapattu, who is the vice captain and a key player, they should get the consent of the Coach and the Captain. If they are unable to do so the selectors should refrain from making drastic changes to the team. However in this instance the Selectors failed to get the consent of the Captain and Coach on Atapattu and Fernando's omission, but still went ahead with the changes. This annoyed the Captain and the Coach and prompted the team management to insist on the inclusion of the two players. With the Selectors refusing to give in, the team management appealed to the Minister of Sports who had to intervene and insisted that the team management's requests must be accommodated. Thus the Selectors were left powerless.

The Selectors were quoted as saying that the changes were in the best interest of the game. Certainly their intentions are clear, however the manner they went about doing things is not in the best interest of the game as the Captain and some of the senior players expressed great disappointment and threatened not to take the field.

Why the Selectors opted to rest Marvan Atapattu is another mystery. Atapattu is the vice-captain and a key player in decision making on the field in addition to being an opener. Thus the team was also forced to think of a batsmen who could open following the selectors decision to rest Atapattu, thereby upsetting the entire batting order.

It is now obvious that the team management is not seeing eye-to-eye with the Selection Committee. Thus it's best that all five selectors resign. At least three selectors have gracefully stepped down.Why the other two selectors are still holding on to their positions is strange! Lets hope that the Sports Minister who appoints the selectors will do the needful.


Top draw for junior international tennis

The Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) will be organising an under 18 international tennis tournament from January 14 to 20 at the SLTA Courts, Green Path.

This event is being organised for the 19th consecutive time in Sri Lanka and the tournament has been sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation and the Asian Tennis Federation. A lot of international participants are expected to take part in the event.

At the moment six players from Great Britain as well as players from Uzbekistan, France and Italy have confirmed participation. Players from Thailand as well as India are also expected to take part in this event as well as local players.

The Boys Singles event has attracted 64 players while the Girl's Singles will be a 32 draw. "They are definitely deserved winners, they played the best cricket during the series and deserved to win but we'll be back," Pollock said.

MacGill was the best of the Australian bowlers, taking four second innings wickets to finish with seven for the match while Shane Warne added three more to his first innings haul.

Australia, South Africa and New Zealand will play a month-long triangular one-day series starting next before the Australians travel to South Africa next month for a return three-match test series.



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