14th January 2001
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Another dismissal : Mahela bowled by Niki Boje

Another dismissal : 
Mahela bowled by Niki Boje

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South Africa going for world record

Cape Town - All-rounder Lance Klusener, suffering from an aggravated cartilage in his right knee, will miss the last two one-dayers against Sri Lanka as South Africa bid to equal the world record for consecutive victories. 

United Cricket Board (UCB) spokeswoman Bronwyn Wilkinson said on Friday the KwaZulu-Natal star, who pulled up after bowling just three balls during SA's 99-run triumph at Newlands on Thursday night, had been ordered to rest at home for a week by a Cape Town specialist. 

"He will rejoin the team for the (third and final) Centurion Test (from January 20-24)." 

Klusener's injury could open the way for Eastern Province's uncapped Justin Kemp to play in Bloemfontein on Sunday and in Johannesburg on Wednesday, especially with the home team already holding an unbeatable 4-0 lead in the six-match series. 

SA, who whitewashed New Zealand 5-0 at the start of the home summer tour, are now one away from repeating the national mark of 10 set by the 1995/96 side and two away from matching the 11 by Viv Richards' legendary West Indian unit in 1984/85. 

Allan Border's Australians won 13 in 1987/88, but that does not count because the streak was interrupted by rain which washed out a match. 

Border's '89/90 Australians and Imran Khan's Pakistan share the 10-mark with the '87/88 West Indians and Hansie Cronje's 1995/96 outfit. 

That SA team beat England five times at home and then enjoyed World Cup wins over United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, England again, Pakistan and Holland. 

The only survivors from the side that beat the Netherlands in Pakistan in March 1996 for a perfect 10 will be skipper Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis and possibly Allan Donald. 

Donald is expected to be fit after undergoing minor surgery last weekend to have an abscess on his right elbow drained. 

Makhaya Ntini just edged out a trio of batsmen to deservedly walk off with the man-of-the-match award at Newlands on Thursday night. 

Ntini didn't get a chance to bat during South Africa's record innings of 290-7 - he would probably have got runs too, given the chance - but everything else he did turned to gold on the night. 

He took 5/37 with some accurate, hostile bowling which had the Sri Lankan top order struggling, and then was simply far too good for their tailenders as he wrapped up the innings with the final three wickets. 

In between, he took a fine catch, and capped a polished performance in the field by running out Chaminda Vaas. 

The eventual winning margin of 99 runs with 46 balls to spare was never in doubt once South Africa had built their highest ever total at this ground around the half-centuries of Jacques Kallis (82), Boeta Dippenaar (77) and Jonty Rhodes (53) and then dismissed Sri Lankan dangerman Sanath Jayasuriya cheaply in the visitors' reply. 

The Sri Lankan captain clearly had to fire if his team was to get anywhere close to such a large total. 

South Africa have now won nine matches in a row this summer and would surely have had 10 but for the rain that saved New Zealand at Potchefstroom. 

The Sri Lankans must be thoroughly sick and tired of the sight of Kallis who batted almost right through his team's innings at Paarl on Tuesday for an unbeaten century and was at the crease for more than half the overs for Thursday night's effort. For good measure he also picked up two relatively cheap wickets in the Sri Lankan innings. 

If Kallis was the rock around which the innings was built, a lot of the credit has to go to Boeta Dippenaar, who played not only his biggest innings for South Africa but his most impressive. He is a very determined young man with a strong heart and a sensible head - two key qualities for success in international sport. 

He set the ball rolling with a pulled six to square leg in the fourth over. 

To that he added 12 fours scored all around the wicket - five cover drives, two straight drives, an on-drive, two pulls to deep midwicket, his favourite square cut and a late cut that resulted from one of too many fielding blemishes by the visitors. 

He was eventually out to an attempted reverse sweep after facing only 86 balls. It is a sign of the way he has grown through this season that he would surely never have attempted such a stroke off Muralitharan a couple of weeks ago. But that is what confidence does. 

This match again showed just how much the Sri Lankans have to learn about setting the right fields for their seamers under South African conditions. 

-Independent Online South Africa

Stop these collapses

Many of the modern day cricketers and cricket teams can experience a fall from grace pretty rapidly. The Sri Lankan team is going through just that right now in South Africa.

In any sport professionals wait for an opportunity for the opposition to slip to capitalize. Sometimes when the opponent is put on the mat they simply cannot get up because they are pinned so far down. Try as they did in the final Test, the West Indies just could not and were not allowed by the Australians to prevent a five nil defeat. That proves the point. 

Sri Lanka had the chance to draw first blood in South Africa by winning the opening one dayer. They muffed it up and the home team have gradually begun to take control. They have not looked behind. Contributions have come from all barring Hershelle Gibbs. Now the visitors don't seem to be able to fathom what the next move should be.

In the inaugural Test match Sri Lanka collapsed in their opening innings against England losing more than half the team for less than fifty runs. Ninety nine games later the same thing happened in the Centenary Test against Pakistan. A similar disaster took place in the first Test recently concluded in Durban against the South Africans. Then in Cape Town it was a disastrous display as the entire line-up fell in shambles. In between there have been numerous occasions when from position of relative strength or prosperity the batsmen have simply thrown it away. 

That has been the common factor on almost every occasion that the side has fallen apart in the batting department.

The common cry whenever this occurs is prepare fast bounce pitches when international games are played at home. 

That is only one small part to the solution. In fact it is not fair to subject players to battle against the strength of the opposition unfavourably.

It was evident that the South African batsmen play confidently on pitches that offer pace and bounce. So too do the Australians. This boils down to the breeding. So the beginning should be at lower levels.

The ideal place to start is at school first eleven. There is a lot of cricket played on turf now at this level. Those who coach and are in charge of pitch preparation must be educated on this subject. 

Maintenance of a turf square to high standards is a costly business. Funding, sponsorships must be available for this purpose.

Club Cricket which has continued to remain as the main form of domestic will be the main server of players. This is the level when players must be as far as possible playing on good surfaces offering pace and bounce.

Unfortunately, yet again the domestic tournaments have been poorly organized. The cream of the country's players have only played just over a handful of one day games and the three-day competition is just into second week.

In comparison the first class player would have played five to six four-day games, half-a-dozen one day games and some weekend District Cricket. This would amount to about forty days of good cricket. The players can play in only what is provided for them. The second division which should feed the first division has not yet had fixtures confirmed! 

As long as this miserable set-up continues do not put the whole blame on the players.

However much money is pumped into building stadiums, employing professional administrators and coaches, the collapses will continue unless domestic tournaments are properly organized and games played on the best pitches.

The spirit of cricket must be maintained 

David Ponniah, new Warden of S. Thomas'...

By Bernie Wijesekera
David Ponniah, who made a debut 100 as a fresher in the 'Battle of the Blues' for S. Thomas' in 1967 has been apppointed the new Warden of S. Thomas'. He takes over from Mr. Pakiyanathan on Jan. 16.

As a solid opener, he opened batting with Ajit Jayasekera. He just played one year's cricket for his school and proved his mettle, before he entered the portals of Peradeniya University as an engineering student, which faculty was headed by Prof. Pereira. 

Soft-spoken David, was watching the SSC-Tamil Union match at the 'Sara' Stadium along with fellow old Thomian T. Thangavelu, the president of the ABA.

David was interviewed by The Sunday Times.

Q - Anything special in your school cricket career. Who captained the team in 1967? 

A. Representing the school and that, too playing in the 'Battle of the Blues' against Royal was a great honour. Opening the innings for the first time before a big cheering crowd and under pressure for a fresher, is itself a challenge. In the process making a debut 100 is something to crow about. But, of course I acheived this for my school not for my personal glory. It came my way due to my grit and determination.

Sporting a greying beard, David now shows immense maturity and has the acumen to be the head of the Mt. Lavinia school. The 1967 team was led by J. Bandaranayake. The team had players of the calibre of Denis Chanmugam, P. Kariyawasam, Azam Hamid, Bandula Tennakoon, Tiny Reid (who hails from a cricketing fraternity) where all the brothers played for STC, Dejan de Saram were some of the players in the team. The match was drawn. Royal was led by S.J. de Silva. But there were thrills and spills aplenty despite the game being played over two days, unlike in present times over three days which has not drawn much spectator interest.

Enjoy the game and adhere to the rules whatever the final outcome. That's what this gentleman's game is all about. There is more cricket off the field than on the field. This is my advice to the present day schoolboys. The spirit of the game should be maintained at all cost.

Q - You have enjoyed a successful academic career at home and in England - Edinburgh University. Anything special about your cricketing career in the Mecca of Cricket? 

A- I played for the University and represented the Combined Universities team. 

Unlike today the standard of cricket in the universities was high. Even some of them playing for England, namely, Rev. David Sheppard, late Peter May, Colin Cowdrey, Raman Subba Row just to name a few. They excelled at the highest level and always maintained a high standard of sportsmanship. Later on they gave back to the game their know-how as administrators. Even in Sri Lanka the unversities produced top class players where some of them played for the country. The likes of H.I.K. Fernando, Buddy Reid, Mevan Pieris, Mano Ponniah, Sarath Wimalaratne followed by S. Skandakumar, C. Thurairaja, D.H. de Silva, Caryle Perera (who led University to 'Sara' Trophy honours), J.G.C. Peiris, Donald Perera, U.R.P. Gunatilleke, Brendon Gunaratne Lareef Idroos, Cyril Ernest etc.

Q - At present be it in England or in Sri Lanka, the undergrads don't excel in cricket. Any comments? 

A - It attributes that most students pay much attention to books - especially in Sri Lanka. Entering a University here is very competitive and one needs a concerted effort. At junior level one may be good at sport. But if they decide to pursue an academic career then they give secondary thoughts of indulging in serious outdoor activities.

Q - Don't you agree for an individual it's better to enjoyed a mixed brew - books and sports to go hand in hand. This in turn will help them to build a healthy mind, even to face setbacks in latter part of one's life? 

A - I agree. But times have changed. It's left for the student to decide and organise his life for a better future. No one could force on him, be it at home or in the classroom, he added.

At present a number of expatriates are playing for England, including skipper Nasser Hussain. I don't think they are expatriates. They are all Englishmen, representing England. But not their race or colour. You ask Hussain he will say he's an Englishman. That's the cornerstone for peace and harmony, in any walk of life.

Segregation is not the answar to overcome problems but reconciliation for one nation. This is what Nelson Mandela did in S. Africa when he fought against apartheid. 

Q - He made a long walk to freedom to achieve his objective? 

A - You are absolutely right. 

Q - What have you got to say about your appointment as Warden of your Alma Mater? 

A - I am happy. I got the opportunity of giving something back to the school which helped me to go places in life. I will strive to give of my best but it has to be a concerted joint effort all round. Everyone must contribute even with a tear drop. 

Then nothing is impossible. I have indulged in team sport. Individual brilliance is secondary and it's not the answer for a better future. I am confident that team spirit will prevail for its continuity. The OBA has entrusted to me the task of running its affairs and in turn I will give of my best as Warden of the century-old school, said genial David Ponniah.


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