23rd August 1998
Marlon Fernandopulle reporting from England
The hallowed home of cricket, Lords, took on a carnival atmosphere reminiscentt of the traditional big matches in Colombo when hundreds of cricket crazy fans sang and danced as Sri Lanka defied all odds and annexed the Emirates Trophy in their own inimitable style.
A jubilant Sri Lankan skipper who has added another glittering trophy to their cupboards back home hailed the latest triumph next to the World Cup his team won."We beat two very good one day sides.South Africa is one of the best sides today,while England had their tails up after winning the Test series against South Africa and then beating us a few days back.To beat England in England is not easy and I think this victory at Lords is fantastic and only second to our World Cup win".
Mahing a telling point the captain with his customary wry smile said,"Most people and even some players are of the view that we can win only in the sub continent.Today we have disproved that and won in very different conditions".
Sri Lanka did well to come back after the England openers Mike Atherton and Nick Knight put on a record 132 run stand.However the Lankan skipper who is usually unruffled in such situations admitted that he was not worried with the opening stand very much."We were certain to come back and put the brakes on the England innings".
Sri Lanka's leading wicket taker in Tests Muttiah Muralitharan who triggered the collapse was given a glowing tribute by the skipper."Murali is the best off spinner in the world today.Unfortunately his performances are not given proper recognition.But today he has proved it again by taking five wickets in a one day international and not in a Test.A big turner of the ball Murali will turn the ball even on a tarmac".Incidentally Murali's 5 for 34 is the best bowling figure in a one dayer at Lords.
The captain was also full of praise for Man of the Tournament, Marvan Atapattu."Marvan played a fantastic knock which matched his true potential.He anchored the innings and together with Kaluwitharana ensured that we will not have further hiccups after Sanath's early dismissal".Marvan's majestic century was the 11th hundred by a batsman at Lords in one dayers and the fourth highest score of 132.
When asked how his team's chances stood at next year's World Cup a smiling captain replied,"After beating two good sides the team's morale is very high.Two of our best bowlers are still on the injured list.And so we have a lot of secrets to deliver at the World Cup and I am quite certain we will be able to defend our title successfully".
A dejected England skipper Alec Stewart admitted that his team was 20 -30 runs short but attributed his team's loss to his side's inability to contain the Lankan batsmen."
"They always got on top of our bowling.There was very little we could have done".Stewart who captained England for the first time in a one day series also had a word of praise for Man of the Match Muralitharan."Murali looks a top bowler in both forms of cricket and is not easy to get away with.His performance today was exceptional".
By Bernie Wijesekera
Though the CR and FC emerged unbeaten Carlsberg league champions, the Sri Lanka Army despite exigencies of duty, was the toast of all rugby fans with their gritty display.
In the end the unyielding soldiers were placed fourth in the table, a commendable performance indeed. The soldiers with their disciplined approach held the CH and FC to a 15-all draw in the second leg and defeated the Havies and Petersons with their robust brand of rugby. In the end they were ahead of Havies and Petersons in the table.
Dr. Maiya Gunasekera, the President of the Rugby Union, said it's the services teams that make the league most exciting to watch and add a lot of flavour. Their participation, despite official commitments is most encouraging and a boost to the sport. The effort by the battle-scarred soldiers, made the league more competitive. They were never pushovers, Dr. Gunasekera added.
The Chairman of Army Rugby, Brig. Jupana Jayawardena when interviewed by The Sunday Times had his say.
Firstly, I must thank the Commander of the Army, Gen. Rohan Daluwatte and the other senior officers for giving all the support. Gen. Daluwatte was always in the scrum and gave the boys all the support on and off the field, to keep the ball moving. Being an outstanding sportsman himself and head of the Army Sports Board, he helped to keep the Army flag flying. He was the main cornerstone for our success this season, Brig. Jayawardena added.
Q. What was the secret behind your success?
A. Well, we have a dedicated committee, who left no stone unturned. Major Sunil Ranasinghe, the former Sri Lanka fly-half is the coach. He is assisted by dusky 'keep fit' former Army flanker P. G. Gunawardena and secretary energetic Maj. Chandana Marasinghe. The support rendered by others (even some senior. retired officers) was most encouraging.
Fielding a team was an ordeal. Some of them are stationed in the North and East. The Captain, Maj. Ravi Shanthikumar, is on operations duty. He made a great sacrifice to travel up and down for the sport he loved most. He captained the team only in the league. While Roshan Perera led them in the K.O.
Q. Anything special in the team?
A. That's a good question. Lawrence Collingwood, who is attached to the British High Commission, is a source of inspiration to the lads who have benefited much from his presence on and off the field. Lawrence playing for the third year is eligible for Army colours.
This season the team was sandwiched by two young Fijians, who added much strength to the forwards centre Raniela Kunavara and second row Maloni Turuwa. Both are disciplined and conducted themselves in an exemplary manner. The duo looked like trained soldiers and gave their hearts out for the Army cause.
I must also make special mention about Capt. Sharin Ganegoda, the former Isipatana stalwart. Since he joined the Army he served in the N-E. regions. He never played rugby, because of his official commitments. For the first time this season he donned the Army jersey and played in all the league matches, to add lot of muscle to the team.
I would like to stress another point. The Army beat the Petersons in the first-leg but the Rugby Council awarded the match to the Petes on technical grounds. But despite this setback the soldiers' spirit was high and still came fourth. This speaks volumes for their guts.
Q. In the past Army had some fine players like S. P. de Silva, Gunadasa, Ameradasa Rodrigo etc., who even went on to don the Sri Lanka jersery. Are there any future prospects in the present squad?
A. Yes. There is hidden talent. It will take some time, as most of them started to learn the fundamentals after joining the Army, unlike the club players. The clubs are afforded with outstanding schoolboys that make their task much easier to build a team unlike the services.
Dejan de Zoysa, son of the famous rally driver Richard de Zoysa won the senior pro-kart championships concluded last Sunday.
Dejan, the 13 year old S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, student recorded the fastest timing of the day, clocking 18.50 seconds in this meet conducted by the Sri Lanka Racing Drivers' and Riders' Association (SLARDR).
The ladies' race was won Suh Mei Wong without much competition.
The junior event was hotly contested by Akil and Dimitri Nirahl Raj with Dimitri having to be satisfied with the second place with his cart posing problems even though at a better pole position.
Akil Aslam won the event.
A big hand should be given to Caltex who were the main sponsors for the last two years even giving free Havoline to participants.
The co-sponsors for this event were: Suntell, Motormag, CTC Trading (Laurrent Perrier Champagne) and TNL Radio.
Hurrah! 3 - Test vs England
Tim Lamb the Chief Executive of the England Cricket Board (ECB) announced a few days ago, that England has granted Sri Lanka- a 3 Test series in 2001.
This announcement was made at a banquet attended by 750 people. The applause from the guests was similar to that of a batsman scoring a century. Good news for Sri Lanka cricket.
Radio monkey tricks
It has been noticed that radio cricket commentators do elaborate commentaries of cricket matches played in other countries off the television.
Some of them even describe the cool breezes (sisil sulang) that blow over the field over there, just gazing at the television set in Sri Lanka.
Now this is just plain hoodwinking. The SLBC or Radio Sri Lanka must stop this rot, because although they may not know it, every listener is on to these monkey tricks.
A Sinhala commentator trying to show off, boasted that all the teams which batted first in the Tri-nation Emirates Trophy Cricket Tournament were victorious and went on to predict that the team who bats first in the final will emerge winners.
How did he come to this conclusion? Sri Lanka proved him wrong by beating England at Lords the centre of cricket batting second in the final.
Comedy of errors
An English commentator described, very much to the humour of listeners in the Tri-nation final between Sri Lanka and England, how their scorer signalled back to the umpire David Sheppard on a wide bowled by Suresh Perera. Crazy cricket indeed.
Roshan Mahanama, who was discarded for the English tour, is now undergoing training at the Australian Institute of Sports Academy, in Adelaide, according to Dr. Quintus de Zylwa, Sri Lanka rep. in Australia.
Dr. de Zylwa, told The Sunday Times, Mahanama, with a view to further improve his batting skills, is training under the watchful eyes of head coach Rodney Marsh and former Aussie batsman Wayne Phillips at the AIS.
The Sri Lanka Cricket Foundation in Victoria is affording all the facilities for Mahanama during the short stay. On August 23, he will be accorded a luncheon party by David Cruse at his hotel in Knox City, which will also be attended by former ACB Chairman Bob Parish and Ian Crawford. Both Parish and Crawford are key figures in the SLCF Committee for helping and promoting the game.
Through the good offices of the SLCFV, St. Sylvester's schoolboy cricketer was afforded an yearly package of Rs.50,000 for four years. This is a joint effort by Bertie Ekanayake and David Cruse.
Asanka for Prahan
Asanka Gurusingha, the former Sri Lanka lefthander, who made an epoch-making 147 in the Boxing Day Test in 1996 against Australia at the MCG, will be playing for Prahan CC during the coming season. He will turn out for his new club as coach cum captain.
Gurusingha earlier played for North Melbourne CC.
David Cruse, who is doing much for the promotion of Sri Lanka cricket in Australia, will sponsor Gurusingha's stint with Prahan CC. In the past, star batsman Aravinda de Silva too played for Prahan CC where Sri Lanka-born Dave Whatmore, too played for Prahan, a leading district team in Victoria. Former Aussie all-rounder Simonx O'Donnell, at present is turning out for the club.
Mahanama is expected to return home on August 28 (Friday), in time for the Commonwealth Games Cricket tour.
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