17th March 2002

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Will Rajapakse carry Lanka through?

Sri Lanka go into the Davis Cup Championships with three young and inexperienced players which will be held from 17th to 25th of March in Bangladesh. Rajive Rajapakse who is 21 years is the only relatively experienced player in the team. The other players being Franklin Emmanuel (14), Harshana Godamanne (16) and Oshada Wijemanne (15). Sri Lanka had two international level players Arjun Fernando and Umesh Wallooppillai almost 15 years ago, but thereafter our competitiveness in the international arena dropped progressively. These youngsters will be the next generation of players to place Sri Lanka on the tennis map, said Sanjaya Wijemanne, Non Playing Captain. The average age of our playing team is just 16 years which is probably one of the youngest teams in Davis Cup history worldwide, he further said.

The teams in the Asia/Oceania Group 4 are Sri Lanka, Jordan, Oman, Bangladesh, Brunei, Baharain, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan. Sri Lanka will play Jordan on the 20th, Oman on the 21st and Bangladesh on the 22nd. The winner/runner-up of this group will play the winner/runner-up of the other group to decide first and second place.

Sanjaya Wijemanne the Non Playing Captain was confldent that the young players will also play a very supportive role to the top ranked Rajapakse who is presently in good form. Rajapakse is at peak form and we will depend on him to win his 1st singles and doubles match too, said Wijemanne. We will however, not exclude the possibility that young Emmanuel will pull off some good wins in the other singles match. Winning both singles matches will give me the option of resting Rajapakse by not playing him for the doubles. Rajapakse is billed to play 10 matches in five days. This is very strenuous physically as well as mentally, said Wijemanne.

The Davis Cup team has undergone rigorous tennis practices under head coach Arul Amalnathan and Roshan Razik and physical training under Mike Chomley. Irshad Othman will accompany the team as Manager.

Commendable act by STC

By Bernie Wjiesekera

Jeevan Mendis, the lad who learnt the fundamentals of "King Cricket" as a juvenile at Susamayawardena Vidyalaya, Borella, today, is an outstanding all rounder in the schools cricketing circuit, thanks to the magnanimous gesture of the hierarchy of S. Thomas' who afforded the lad with a scholarship in 1998.

He had abundant natural talent in the willow wielding sport. The lad has captained the under-13 and 15 teams with much success for the Borella school, to come into reckoning.

Jeevan, an aggressive little left-hander helped his school to win the Div. II under-17 final defeating St. Servatius Matara in 1996 under Sampath Sandaruwan. Mendis was adjudged the outstanding schoolboy cricketer in the under-17 group. He hails from a middle class family. His elder brother, who was a product of Susamayawardena - Taraju Mendis - a prolific run-getter. Taraju later joined Ananda Sastralaya, Kotte.

Jeevan, after completing his O/L, in 1998 was in luck's way when he was afforded with a scholarship, at the Mt. Lavinia school. It gave him that much-needed exposure to learn and play. The lad blossomed out to be a fine allrounder, doing proud for the country at the recent disastrous under-19 World Cup held in New Zealand. Mendis, a soft-spoken lad said he was grateful to S.Thomas' for giving him the opportunities of entering their portals with a scholarship. There are hidden talents in the less affluent schools in the districts, but go unheard unsung.

Another Mendis, came into limelight after joining S.Thomas' - Duleep Mendis - a dazzling batsman who made a record score against Royal. Of course, Mendis, came from St. Sebastian's Moratuwa - a cricketing cradle from the coastal belt.

But Duleep showed his prowess and came into reckoning after his exploits at the Mt. Lavinia school. Later he went on to get a twin-test 100s against India and led the country.

Arjun Dharmadasa - a versatile sportsman from STC, excelled both at cricket and rugby. At present he is the president of the Old Thomian Rugby Union Club and doing much for the uplift of the sport in R'pura. He said two schoolboys who played for Ruwanwella M.V. in the under-13 tournament, found their way to Isipatane. Today they are in the forefront in the schools circuit. The duo was picked to represent the country in the under-19 tournament held in Japan in 2001. The opportunity afforded to them at Isipatana after the Ruwnawella school locked horns against them. Otherwise they would have never played for the country or made a tour to Japan.

He commended his Alma mater's gesture in giving Jeevan Mendis, further explore his talents, whilst playing for STC.

The present Principal of Susamayawardena Vidyalaya, H.W. Jayasena, praised Jeevan for his performances at the recent Big Match against Royal. He is an inspiration to his former schoolmates, who played with him for the Borella school.

Bradman House 'A' division champs in CCC six-a-side cricket

Bradman House won the A Division Blue Riband title in the CCC School of Cricket Inter-House 6-a-side cricket tournament, staged at the MCA grounds.

This is part of their fourth anniversary celebrations. Finally Sir Don's House defeated Tendulkar House in an exciting final. The team was led by Damith Warusawitharana.

Damith, who gave an outstanding all-round performance was also adjudged the Man of the Match, while Hiran Weranga, the Best Batsman for his entertaining 50 runs.

The CCC School of Cricket is handled by the former Nalanda coach Nelson Mendis. He has experience and the cricketing know-how which has helped his charges immensely on and off the field.

Individual Best Performance Trophies:

'E' Div: Best Batsman: Manisha Guruge (S); Best Bowler: Sayuru De Silva (J); Best Fielder: Sachith Alwis (T); Man of the Final: Bhashitha Jayasuriya (J)

D Div: Best Batsman: Rashen Saverimuttu; (T) Best Bowler: Sisuru Samarasinghe (B); Best Fielder: Primesh Dassanayake (T); Man of the Final: Migara Wijesiri.

'C' Div: Best Batsman: Sachintha Dias (T); Best Bowler: Sharinda Edirisinghe (T); Best Fielder: Sirimal Silve (T); Man of the Final: Bhanuka Rajapakse (S)

'B' Div: Best Batsman - Roshana Seneviratne (J); Best Bowler:Prasad Perera (T); Best Fielder - Shaheen Mohammed (S); Man of the Final: Nilanga Boteju.

'A' Div: Best Batsman: Hiran Weeranga (T); Best Bowler: Sanka Jayasuriya (B); Best Fielder:Janath Ranasinghe (B); Man of the Final - Damith Warusawithana (B). (B.W.)

Malintha, Mahela and Thilan crack tons as SSC hit 515

By Marlon Fernandopulle

A 240 run third wicket stand between Malintha Perera (123) and Mahela Jayawardene (150) helped SSC to a commanding 515 all out against CCC in a Premier League game at the NCC grounds.

Perera and Jayawardene tore the CCC bowling attack apart as SSC took a crucial 203 run first innings lead. Jayawardene's run a ball innings included 20 boundaries and three sixes while Perera cracked 18 boundaries in his knock. All rounder Tilan Samaraweere once again underlined his reputation as a reliable middle order batsman with a well compiled century.

CCC- 313 all out

SSC-515 all out (Malintha Perera 123, Mahela Jayawardene 150, Hemantha Wickremaratne 53, Tilan Samaraweera 100, Suresh Perera 38; Mario Villawarayan 2/112, Anushka Polonowita 2/38, C. Mudalige 4/104)

NCC edge Bloomfield

NCC pulled off a close seven run first innings victory over Bloomfield at Maitland Crescent yesterday.

Chasing NCC' s 265 Bloomfield were bundled out for 258 in a closely contested game. Duminda Perera top scored for the Reid Avenue club while medium pacer Ishara Amarasinghe was the pick of the bowlers claiming 4 for 72

NCC - 265 all out (Hashan Tilakaratne 58, Ravindra Pushpakumara 52; Kaushal Lokuarachchi 2/37)

Bloomfield - 258 all out (Sanath Jayasuriya 39, T. M. Dilshan 36, Thilina Kandambi 30, Duminda Perera 50, Kaushal Lokuarachchi 32; Ravindra Pushpakumara 2/25, Ishara Amarasinghe 4/72)

Colts rock Galle

Medium pacers Chaminda Vaas, Eric Upashantha and Dulip Liyanage teamed up to bowl Colts SC to a first innings win over Galle CC at P Sara Stadium.

In reply to Colts 260 all out Galle managed just 199 with Viraj Perera top scoring with 65.Enjoying a lead of 61 runs Colts were 98 for 1 with opener Chaminda Mendis unbeaten on 50

Colts- 260 all out & 98 /1 at close (Shantha Kalawitigoda 23, Chaminda Mendis 50 n.o, Sajith Fernando 24 n. o)

Galle CC- 199 all out (Hirantha Wijesinghe 53, Viraj Perera 65; Chaminda Vaas 2/27, Dulip Liyanage 3/29, Eric Upashantha 2/22)

NCC Protests

NCC has lodged a strong protest with the Tournament Committee following an under prepared wicket at Maitland Crescent for their Premier League game against Bloomfield this week.

As a result play was delayed for over one and a half hour on Friday and it required the ground staff of NCC to do the needful and get play underway.

According to a Senior official of the NCC this was the second instance that NCC had to play on a under prepared wicket following their game against Tamil Union a few weeks ago which was also played on a simillar wicket at the same venue.

This year all games in the Premier League are played on neutral grounds.

NZ go down blazing

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, March 16 (Reuters) - New Zealander Nathan Astle played an hero's innings in a losing cause on Saturday with the fastest double century on record during the fourth day of the first test against England. Astle blazed his way to 200 in just 153 balls, an extraordinary 59 balls fewer than Australian Adam Gilchrist took against South Africa in Johannesburg on February 23.

He was finally out for 222 with 28 fours and 11 sixes , including three in a row off Andrew Caddick, as New Zealand, set 550 to win, eventually succumbed for 451 to give England victory by 98 runs. Astle's counter-attack inspired the lame Chris Cairns to come to the crease at number 11 with the total 333 for nine.

South Africa crumble in Shane Warne and Brett Lee attack as Australia dominate Test

DURBAN, South Africa, March 16 (Reuters) - Shane Warne and Brett Lee took four wickets each as Australia dismissed struggling South Africa for 167 on the second day of the third test in Durban on Saturday.

But the South Africans, trailing Australia by 148 runs after the first innings, struck back at the start of the visitors' second knock with two quick wickets.

At tea Australia, looking for a whitewash in the three-test series, were 22 for two with Ricky Ponting on four and Mark Waugh not out on nought.

Leg spinner Warne took four for 33 and fast bowler Lee four for 82 as South Africa imploded in under two sessions after resuming on 48 for one.

South Africa lost their second wicket in the eighth over of the day when nightwatchman Paul Adams, on six, fell to a stunning catch by Matthew Hayden in the gully off Lee.

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