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16th May 1999
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Mahela's dropping: Botham suprised

Ian Botham, the former England skipper was surprised that Mahela Jayawardena was not played in Sri Lanka's opening Group A World Cup game against England on Friday.

"I think he is one of Sri Lanka's brightest prospects and should be given maximum exposure in a competition of this nature", said the former England all-rounder to The Sunday Times.

Arjuna Ranatunga said that the tour management opted for Hashan Tillekeratne instead of Mahela Jayawardena. Speaking about the defeat Arjuna said: "It was a good toss to win and England capitalised on the situation.

They bowled to a plan. Where Sri Lanka's bowlers are concerned, they did not bowl too well and the conditions did not help."

Asked about a comment made by Australia's Shane Warne, published in the English press to the effect that the World Cup would have been better if Sri Lanka was not taking part Arjuna replied: "We know what background Australians come from. In Sri Lanka we have a culture dating back 2500 years." Asked what he meant by Australia's background he was referring to, Arjuna said: "Ask me when I retire and I will tell you."

To a question as to why he did not give an interview to our sister paper Lankadipa before his departure to London with the Sri Lanka team, Arjuna said: "The Lankadipa has been hacking me. In fact I have stopped giving interviews to all newspapers."

Susanthika ahead of Darsha

Susanthika Jayasinghe maintained her challenge thrown at Damayanthi Darsha that she would beat her in the 200 metres and did that at the Doha Grand Prix 1 meet held at Qatar on Thursday evening.

Darsha is the reigning Asian Games 200 metre record holder.

Susanthika finished in second place in a time of 22.74 seconds defeating Darsha into third place in a time of 22.96 seconds, nowhere near the Asian Games run in Bangkok in December last.

The event was won by Ionela Tirlea of Romania who clocked 22.35 seconds.

Meanwhile Sugath Tillekaratne won the 400 metres in a time of 44.84 seconds just 15 seconds ahead of his Gold medal time at the Asian games of 44.99 seconds.

Susanthika Jayasinghe, emerging from a drugs scandal was aiming to make up for lost time at Thursday's Qatar Grand Prix. In 1997, she caused a sensation, becoming the first Sri Lankan in 49 years to win an athletics medal at a global sporting event when she took the 200 metres silver at the world championships in Athens.

The sweet taste of success turned sour a few months later when she tested positive for an anabolic steroid, but after a legal fight she was reinstated by Sri Lankan officials last December.

"I'm only at 70 percent because of all my difficulties," she told Reuters on Wednesday. "This season I'm competing only in some basic work and my natural strength.

"I have hardly run for two years and I am going to get better with more races - yet I am still expecting to get a medal at both 100 and 200 metres in the world championshps and run personal bests."

But she acknowledged that however many times she repeats her innocence, to some people she will always be labelled as a drug cheat.

"The damage has been done now. My character has been assassinated," she said glumly.

The cloud hanging over her has not lifted completely. She still faces a trip to an International Amateur Athletic Federation arbitration panel on July 3 to explain confusion surrounding her doping sample.

"However, we are cautiously optimistic that things are going to turn out well," her manager and coach Tony Campbell said.

In order to restart her life, she has moved to Los Angeles, where she now trains as the solitary female among a group of male sprinters.

Her main aim is to become the first Sri Lankan to have an Olympic gold medal hung around her neck. She might even break her promise of not going back to her home country.

She said: "If I was to win a gold meal then may be I would go back and show it to the people. They have always been behind me whatever problems I have had."

Susantika won the 100 metres too in a time of 11.17 seconds at the Doha Grand Prix last evening defeating Sevatheda Fynes of Bahamas who clocked 11.38 seconds and Philomena Mensah of Canada third in 11.38 seconds.

Second half fireworks gives CH win

By Saif Izzadeen

CH and FC recorded their fourth win in a row for the season when they overcame Sri Lanka Navy by 33 points(four goals and one try) to 15 ( one goal, one try and one penalty) in an inter club 'A' division Carlsberg rugby match at Maitland Crescent yesterday. The white and silver jerseys led 7-3 at half time.

The game really got off the ground only in the second half as both teams played a lacklustres game in the first half. Both teams were out of sorts in the first half.

The game's deadlock was only broken in the 25th minute when off line out second rower Udaya Dissanayake barged through to score mid left. The try was converted by Jude Dimthri and this gave CH a 7-0 lead.

S. Africa blast off with bang

Howe (England), Saturday: World Cup favourites South Africa began their quest in brilliant style, defeating a fighting India with 17 balls to spare in an enthralling clash here today.

South Africa's much dreaded pace attack may not have clicked as it often did, but their powerful batting machine took them to the formidable target of 253 despite losing two early wickets.

When South African Hansie Cronje was dismissed with their score at 176, the odds still seemed to be even. But when Jonty Rhodes and Lanse Klusener slammed the young paceman Ajith Agarkar for 17 runs in the 46th over, the favourites were through.

The South African innings was built on a superb 96 by Jaques Kallis who like India's Saurav Ganguly was brilliantly run out as he race towards the century.

South Africa ended up at 254 for 6 in 47. 2 overs with a roaring Rhodes unbeaten on 39. A short but explosive innings during which he turned ones into twos and reached the fence several times. This came after a typically brilliant performance by him, especially the stunning way he ran out Indian playmaker Ganguly.

Earlier underdogs India, spearheaded by a fine 97 from Saurav Ganguly, made a flying start to their World Cup campaign by scoring 253 for five in their 50 overs against tournament favourites South Africa.

India, cheered by a noisy majority in the 6,000 crowd, won the toss and chose to bat despite chilly conditions and cloudy skies.

Their top batsman Sachin Tendulkar looked as relaxed and stylish as he and Ganguly put on 67 for the first wicket, stroking the ball around the compact ground to the frustration of opening bowlers Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis.

A change of bowlers brought the breakthrough when Lance Klusener in his second over tempted Tendulkar who edged a straightforward catch to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Ganguly and Rahul Dravid continued to keep the scoring ticking at four an over until Dravid, attempting to up the tempo, went for a big hit and was bowled by Klusener in the 42nd over for 54.

He had faced 75 balls and hit five fours.

Three overs later, with the score on 204, South Africa's demon fielder Jonty Rhodes intercepted the ball and sent a sharp throw to Kallis at the stumps who ran out Ganguly three short of his century. He had hit 11 fours and a six.

After Ganguly's departure a little of the steam went out of India's charge.

India lost Ajay Jadeja caught at long on by Gary Kirsten off a ball from Allan Donald, who had an otherwise disappointing morning.

Captain Mohammad Azharuddin then went for 24 off 24 balls to a fine running catch on the boundary by Nicky Boje off Klusener's bowling in the final over.

The match had a controversial start when South African captain Hansie Cronje was asked to remove an earpiece through which he had apparently been receiving instructions from coach Bob Woolmer.

Referee Talat Ali asked him to abandon the radio after taking advice from tournament organisers.

Kandy outplay Havies 26-14

By Bernie Wijesekera

Kandy SC first time on show in Colombo after being led 6-5 at half-time. But after the turn around revelling in the conditions their forwards playing like Trojans outplayed the gutty Havelocks SC by 26 points (a goal, 2 tries and 3 penalties) to 14 (a try and 3 penalties) in a Carlsberg League first-leg match at Havelock Park, last evening.

It was a game where the nippy Havies three-quaters and the mobile KSC eight stole the lime light. The Havies line from the kick-off kept on buzzing and made some penetrative runs despite not getting much of the good ball in the set-pieces and in the long throws where the heavy KSC forwards dominated play. Suranga Amarasinghe, Haris Omar, Basnayake and Manjula Pathirana were in the thick be it in defence or in attack playmaker Nalaka Weerakody, who had a good game from the last line was constantly seen forming the overlap and made some breezy runs. Nalaka, with his booming kicks to touch took much pressure off from the marauding Havies forwards.

No. 8 Sanjeewa Abeygunawardena, centre Saheed, winger Sanjeewa Jayasinghe and fullback Nalin Dissanayake excelled with their daring play. Saheed made some sleek runs. Jayasinghe, undoubtedly one of the best wingers in the game, despite starved of good ball, eventually scored the solitary try when he side stepped beautifully and rolled over the corner flag for an unconverted try.

In the 17th minute KSC opened scoring when the entire back division was set in motion for winger Hettiarachchi to dart over the line for an unconverted try.

Havies hit back with a penalty kick 40 yards out, put over by Nalin Dissanayake 5-3. Havies went further ahead with another penalty put over by Dissanayake to make it 6-5 at lemons.

With the turn around it rained for five minutes and the Kandy forwards revelled in the conditions underfoot with their heavy forwards to add 21 points through their back division who got their act together.

A penalty was awarded close to the Havies line. KSC took a short tap, but it was a knock-on. But Ref. Dilroy Fernando, instead calling for a scrum awarded another spot kick. Weerakody made no mistake with the kick. At this stage line-out artiste Asoka Jayasena, stepped into add more weight to the KSC pack.

Weerakody kicking with precision put over another penalty to increase the lead. It was no stopping from here onwards with the KSC forwards using their weight and power to advantage. The second try was scored by centre Lasantha Wijesuriya which was put over by Weerakody to make it 21-6. Then came that winger Sanjeewa Jayasinghe 'special' - a corner flag try for the Havies to reduce the lead 21-11. This was followed by another penalty for the Havies which Nalin Dissanayake arrowed it over the crossbar to make it 21-14.

Just before the long whistle burly Suranga Amarasinghe scored KSC's third try off a penalty kick close to the line when the forwards mauled their way for Amerasinghe to touch down for an unconverted try.

Referee:- Dilroy Fernando.

Today the Police entertain the high riding Army at the Police Park. Kick-off at 5 p.m.

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