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21st June 1998

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Even and durable pitches are the need of the hour

After all is said and done Sri Lanka has done creditably well in the recent Tests against New Zealand to increase the tally of Test wins.

But ironically by concluding five-day Test matches in under four days, Sri Lanka will be exposing herself to questions from foreign cricket enthusiasts and critics.

Therefore to silence all forms of criticism, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board's administration should do well to prepare pitches that are durable, even and true.

Such type of wickets will will result in degenerating batting standards among our own cricketers. There is no doubt that in some quarters criticism is being levelled at Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Siva, for their low scores. Being strokeplayers, they are more prone to snicks on under- prepared or responsive pitches, made to look like 'dust bowls'.

The finger of guilt should be pointed at those responsible for the preparation of wickets and not on the poor batsmen. Despite a determined 167 at Galle, by young Mahela Jayawardena, he cannot be expected to be consistent when playing on dust bowls like these.

Most of us agree that the Kiwi attack was mediocre. To the credit of Arjuna Ranatunga and Hashan Tillekeratne who put their wide experience to good use to bring respectability to the Lankan total in difficult conditions, it should be said they held the fort well.

But the question remains, what would have been their plight in similar conditions against teams like Australia, India, Pakistan and South Africa where they have high class spinners. They could have had Lankan batsmen back peddalling on pitches like these with their crafty bowling pitched to a mercurial line and length, when compared to the Kiwi bowlers. The Kiwis tended to be more erratic and gave away many loose deliveries for the batsmen to make merry even on a helpful pitch.

If Lankan bowlers in the past like Daya Sahabandu, Ajit de Silva and D. S. de Silva could have spun a web to bowl them out for under 100 runs, even bowlers like Vernon Prins, Abu Fuard, Bob Bartels Malcolm Francke in their old age could have been unplayable on a pitch like this.

Thinking of the past those like Derek Underwood, Tony Lock and Jim Laker (England), Bedi, Prasanna, Cha-ndrasekhar (India), Richie Benaud, Ashley Mallet, Terry Jenner (Australia) ,Pakistan's Abdul Kadir, Intikhab Alam etc., could have created new milestones in Test cricket, with their subtle variation on pitches like these.

If this trend is not curbed for the future betterment of the game by the local Cricket Board hierarchy, then we could be at the receiving end of severe strictures from the I.C.C. - (B.W)

600 splash in at Schools Silver Jubilee swim

Over 600 swimmers will splash in at the 26th Silver Jubilee Sri Lanka Schools Swimming and Diving championships conducted by the Sri Lanka Schools Aquatic Sports Association, sponsored by Nestles Lanka Limited at the Sugathdasa Indoor Stadium Pool.

The championship will be held from June 25 to June 27th. There will be events for boys and girls under 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19.

Diving events will be held for boys and girls in the springboard events for under 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19 and the platform diving will be held for boys under 15, 17 and 19 only.

This championship will also serve as a trial to pick the swimmers for the ISF world Gymnasiade to be held in Mid-October in Shanghai, China.

The Education Minister has decided to field participants in Swimming , Athletics and Gymnastics at the world Gymnasiade for the very first time.

Dominique Locker the Brand Manager of Nestles Lanka will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony of the Schools Swimming and Diving championship on June 25th at 8. a.m., with A. Andrew de Silva the Secretary to the Minister of Education and Higher Education the chief guest at the closing ceremony on June 27th at 3.30 p.m.


The Milo Inter Schools under 12, 14, 16, and 18 tournaments have already got underway at Badulla, Monaragala, Trincomalee and Ratnapura which is to be followed by the preliminary rounds at Matara, Polonnaruwa, Gampha, on June 27 and 28th and Kurunegala, Ampara, Matugama, Colombo, and Kandy on July 4 and 5th with the finals to be played at Kalutara on July 18th and 19th.

Four teams each from the respective districts will qualify to play in the finals.


The Milo Inter Schools under 12, 14, 16, 18 preliminary round matches will be played from next month to September with the finals of the under 18 to be played at the Sugathdasa Stadium on October 31.


The Presidents Trophy Milo inter Schools knock out tourney will be played from July 8 to 24 at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

This tourney will be followed by the Under 13 Division 2 Mini Championships at Ratnapura or Galle on July 25 and 26, while the division 1 under 13 Mini Championships will be played either in Colombo or Kandy.

The under 15 division 2 ten a side tournament will be played in Ratnapura, Galle or Badulla while the Under 15 division 1 ten a side tournament will be played in Kandy or Colombo on August 15 and 16th.Concluding the schools calendar will be the under 18 seven a side championships in Colombo on August 22 and 23.

Wheelchair marathon

Sri Lanka will participate in the world's largest wheel chair marathon in Oita, Japan in October this year.

The trial to select Sri Lanka's representatives will take place today in the half marathon covering 21.5 kilometers from Dehiwela Junction to Panadura, Moderawila and return via the newly constructed highway up to Egodauyana, the focal point of Rehabilitation Sports for Disabled.

This trial has been organised by the ESCO Rehabilitation Council for Disabled, based at Egodauyana,the national affiliate of the Far East and South Pacific Games Foundation for the Disabled (FESPIC) based in Japan.

Most of the competitors will be from the Army and the Navy with a few male and females being amongst the disabled civilians. The event is being sponsored by Janashakthi Insurance Company Ltd. (AF)

Matale-Galle hockey final

Matale will meet Galle in the Boys Under 19 semi-finals of the Senior Hockey Nationals conducted by the Sri Lanka Schools Hockey Federation at the S.Thomas' College Grounds at Mount Lavinia starting at 8 am today.

The second semi-final will be played between Colombo Reds and Kandy Blues at 9 am at the same venue.

Colombo Blues will encounter Matale in the Under 19 Girls first semi-final at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya Grounds at 8 am with Colombo Reds taking on Kandy in the second semi-final fixed for 9 am at the same venue.The third place play-off will be at 1 and 2 pm respectively for Girls and Boys at Mt. Lavinia, followed by the two finals at 3 and 4 pm at the same venue (AF)

Vernon Prins, first beneficiary

Vernon G.Prins, who represented Sri Lanka (Ceylon then) from 1945 and led the country from 1956 to 1958 was the first beneficiary at the first Nidhas Trophy encounter between Sri Lanka and India at the Premadasa Stadium on Friday.

The other beneficiaries are: Fairlie Dalpathado and Dr. N.D.Wijesekera (today) at the Premadasa International Stadium (India vsNewZealand);

June 25 - Dr. H.I.K.Fernando at the Galle Esplanade (Sri Lanka vs New Zealand); June 27 - C.H.Gunasekera at Galle (Sri Lanka vs India); June 29 - R.Bertie Wijesinghe at Galle (India vs New Zealand); July 1 - Gerry Gooneratne and Tita Nathanielsz at the SSC Grounds (Sri Lanka vs India);July 3 - Stanley Jayasinghe,C.I.Gunasekera and Ryle de Soysa at the SSC Grounds (India vs New Zealand); July 5 - Makin Salih at the SSC Grounds (Sri Lanka vs new Zealand).

Eleven Hearts man best bat

Nalin Perera of Eleven Hearts was chosen the best batsman, while his team mate S. Roshan was chosen the best bowler in the Wijaya Kumaratunga Memorial cricket tournament.

Government Services emerged champions with Eleven Hearts as runners-up.

The four teams that qualified to the quarter finals are: Eleven Hearts Mulleriyawa, Nawarella Arangala, Government Services Piliyandala and Lucky Six.

All matches were played on the Sri Sangabodhi Vidyalaya grounds Nittambuwa.

SLAF vs Ports two finals

Sri Lanka Air Force will meet Ports Authority in the Men's volleyball final today in the Wijaya Kumaratunga Memorial championships to be played at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium at 3 p.m.

This final will be preceded by the women's finals between Ports Authority and Air Force at 1. p.m.

In the semi-finals, Ports Authority beat Army 12-15, 15-13, 4-15, 15-12, 15-8, and Air Force beat Navy 15-9, 9-15, 16-17, 15-8, 15-6, in the men's section.

In the women's semi-finals, Air Force beat National Youth Council 15-6, 15-9, 15-5, while Ports Authority beat Army 15-7, 15-11, 6-15, 15-1.

Hindu vs St. Anthony's Wattala soccer final at Cooray Park

Hindu College will meet St. Anthony's Wattala in the final of the Under-16 Colombo District Schools Football Championships. The match will be played next month.

Last year's champions, Zahira, Maradana were beaten in the quarter finals by Hameed Al Hussaniya by 6 goals to 5 in a penalty shoot-out at the Cooray Park, Wellawatta.

In the other quarter finals, Isipatana beat St. Joseph's, Grandpass by 8 goals to nil, Hindu College beat St. Joseph's, Darley Road 1-nil, and St. Anthony's, Wattala beat Mahanama by 4 goals to nil.

In the two semi-finals, Hindu College beat Isipatana by 3 goals to nil, and St. Anthony's, Wattla beat Hameed Al Hussaniya by 1 goal to nil.

In the Under-14 semi-finals, Hameed Al Hussaniya beat St. Benedict's by 4 goals to 1 and St. Joseph's, Maradana beat Royal by a solitary goal.

Science dazzle over Lumbini

By Saif Izzadeen

Science College Mt.Lavinia gave a dazzling display to score a 22 points (two goals, one try and one penalty) to11 (one try and two penalties) win over Lumbini in a Milo - Zone 1 Inter-School rugby match at Havelock Park yesterday.

Science gave a display of fast rugby from the start and they simply rattled Lumbini. Science kept a firm grip on the game by scoring at regular intervals. On the other hand, Lumbini were helpless against their power play and couldn't come to terms and ultimately crumbled.

The game started with Science dominating play as they opened scoring in the 11th minute. Science won a scrum mid-field which saw No.8 H.R.Marasinghe breaking away and covering 20 meters and when challenged, gave a pass to fly half Asiri Chamara, who scored by the right corner flag.

The conversion was fluffed by Ayaz Hossen which gave Science a 5-0 lead. Three minutes later Lumbini missed a penalty through Shan Pradeep. In the 20th minute Lumbini reduced the lead to 5-3 through a 30 metre penalty by Shan Pradeep. In the 30th minute the best try of the match was seen when Science's Ayaz Hossen intercepted a pass from the Lumbini line and covered 50 metres to score under the posts. The conversion was put over by Ayaz himself to give Science a 12-3 lead. Few minutes into the short whistle Lumbini reduced the lead to 12-8 through a try by flanker Mahesh Perera.The conversion, however, was fluffed by Shan Pradeep which saw the Mt.Lavinia school lead12-8 at the breather.

The second half started with Lumbini cutting down the lead to12-11 through a 40 meter penalty by Shan Pradeep in the second minute. Science then attacked the Lumbini defence and were rewarded when they pierced the defence to score a try through fly half Asiri Chamara which was converted by Ayaz Hossen to stretch the lead to 19-11 in the14th minute.Before this Lumbini missed two penalties within three minutes through Shan Pradeep.

The Mt.Lavinia school then put the final nail in the Lumbini coffin when Ayaz Hossen put over a 35 metre penalty which saw Science seal the issue with a 22 -11 win.

Referee - D.Nimal

Susanthika Jaysinghe out of Commonwealth Games

By Annesley Ferreira

Susanthika Jayasinghe, Sri Lanka's top woman sprinter will not participate in the Commonwelth Games to be held in Malaysia in September this year due to being suspended from athletics for six months from March to September.

This was disclosed to The Sunday Times by Rohan Amarasinghe, the Secretary of Amateur Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AAA).

There is however a possibility of Susanthika being allowed to participate in the Asian Games in December, Rohan added.

The Committee appointed to hear her appeal has completed its sittings and the recommendations will be forwarded to the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) within the next few days with a strong appeal to give Susanthika the minimum suspension period, ie., six months, Rohan added.

Union Assurance Yacht race at Bolgoda today

The 5th Union Assurance sponsored annual sailing race of the Colombo Yacht Club will be held today at the Bolgoda Lake.

Twenty to twenty five boats will come under starter's orders competing for the Union Assurance Trophy and the Union Assurance Plate.

Two fleet races will sail, one in the morning at 11 a.m. and one in the afternoon at 3 p.m.

GP's and Enterprises and Lasers will participate. The UAL Trophy contestants will sail with a boat handicap only and results for the UAL Plate will be calculated after boat handicap and personal handicap have been taken into consideration. The race officer of the day will be Jeremy Bolling. The prize distributiom will be held at 4 p.m. with Hydery A. Rehmanjee the Chief Executive Officer of Union Assurance Limited being the chief guest. (AF).

Rover Pinpoints

Grave diggers

It was a topic of conversation among some former national cricketers in clubs after the third Test, and was about the sub-standard pitches in the second Test in Galle and the third Test at the SSC grounds.

The people, responsible for preparing the pitches according to orders, should qualify as excellent grave diggers they said.

They will not only bury Sri Lanka's cricket, but also all promising young batsmen, while flattering our young bowlers, which will not help them in the long run.

Against Constitution

A leading Cricket Board officials is said to be going against the constitution by giving commentaries for WorldTel.

Has he got Board approval to do so? It should be noted that the former Director of Coaching Bandula Warnapura was refused permission to give commentaries.

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