Christmas crash at Hamilton
Twenty-two wickets crumble on one day
Hamilton, New Zealand, Saturday - India were all out for 154, leaving New Zealand 160 to win a rapid-fire National Bank Test being played out in Hamilton. Twenty-two wickets have so far fallen today in a day of batting carnage.

India bowled New Zealand out for 94 and then succumbed a second time as Daryl Tuffey and Jacob Oram did the damage for New Zealand. On a day of statistical co-incidences, in which both team's first innings took 38.2 overs while Oram and Tuffey took four for 41 each in the second innings.

New Zealand's non-use of left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori meant he didn't bowl a ball in the series, despite having played in both Test matches. Rahul Dravid was a key wicket for New Zealand. He looked well capable of giving India an even better base than that it achieved. He was working the ball well, not taking too many risks when the temptation of a ball from Jacob Oram just wide of off stump got the better of him.

It was a common failing among the batsmen of both teams on a day that did nothing for the Test match virtues of application, concentration and determination. Dravid flailed a cut shot but didn't quite get the placement he wanted and substitute fieldsman Michael Mason at square point was able to make the catch with some ease. India were 130/7. -Cricinfo

Peterites shine in Thailand
The Under 19 rugby team of St Peter's who are on a tour to Thailand knocked the daylights of Satiskaset College, of Thailand by 68 points (five goals, six tries, one penalty) to nil in their rugby encounter played at the Satiskaset University grounds in Thailand. after leading 36 nil at the breather. This was the Peterites' first match of the tour.

Suren Rajakaruna, Kaveen Perera, Mahesh Fernando, Dinuka Jayasinghe two each and Dilanka Wijesekera, Jude Kumarapperuma and Umhar Samsudeen one each were the try scorers while Dahrshana Edirisinghe goaled three tries and Madisha Silva goaled two tries.-MSA

Staging the World Cup is a big break for South Africa
By Bernie Wijesekera
The South Africans after apartheid entered the big league in 1992. For the first time they played in the World Cup staged in Australia and New Zealand. It was the fifth W.C. Kepler Wessels led the team. It was the legendary Nelson Mandela, who fought for justice, freedom and democracy, who kept the ball rolling to make it a reality. Since then the United Cricket Board of S. Africa (UCBSA) has made a tremendous impact with a professional administration all round.

Of course, Dr. Ali Bacher, the former captain of S. Africa, a glutton work, has been the main spring lifting its image at grassroots level. It was Dr. Bacher, who believed in total commitment, loyalty and integrity by his team of dedicated committee who left no stone unturned.

They are proud to hold the prestigious World Cup in S. Africa next year. The media facilities, too has been looked into, with strict security measures and looking to their needs and comfort and to file their copies without let or hindrance. Gerald De Koch, the Media Manager, a charming personality are heading the committee, with other personnel at beck and call. It's up to international standards, which is something that the Sri Lankan Cricket Board is solely lacking all round.

Being to South Africa for the first time, this was my sixth visit to a Test playing nation to cover cricket. I have been to the Mecca of cricket (Lords), to the boisterous Southern Stand (MCG, Australia), Lahore (Pakistan), Eden Gardens (Calcutta), Basin River (New Zealand). They are no doubt good. But S.A. has the edge.

At every venue the media facilities is on par to the picturesque Wanderers Stadium where the World Cup final will be staged next year (Johannesburg). They have an electronic scoreboard. It was here that the Lankans played a 4-day warm-up game. The place is virtually an Indian colony where the late Mahatma Gandhi spent much of his time whilst in S. Africa.

Its success attributes to professional management. They looked into the media facilities. Constructive criticism is taken in good faith. They never interfere either with the administration or the players concerned. "Truth is the greatest religion". There is a media guide, even for the players to adhere to, said Dr. Bacher adding that there is no outside interference (politicians or otherwise).

Figureheads do apparently not manage even the media centre. They look into the personal needs (be it foreign or local), they go out of the way to help them. There are no excuses. A good example, a Lankan colleague of mine, who was in S.A. to cover the tour, was short of a document including two snaps. On his behalf I explained to Moabi Litheko, UCBSA communication officer. He understood the problem, acted promptly to provide the necessary document. The law is flexible. They didn't want to cause problems to a foreign media man.

Sri Lankan commentator, Ranjit Fernando, will testify to the media facilities in S.A. when compared to Sri Lanka.The S.A. media reminds me of Lord Baden Powell - "Be prepared" to face any outcome on and off the field. They are an independent professional body, who will not dance to the whims and fancies of outsiders - including politicians.

The UCBSA C.E.O. Gerald Majola runs its affairs with his team of dedicated officers. He is not a 'yes man'. The organising committee has to do a job of work not merely waiting for an impending tour. They don't go behind the media for publicity. They are paid to do a job of work not run behind warring power - hungry camps to keep their jobs.

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