11th February 2001
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England batsman Graham Thorpe smashes the ball for 
four against Sri Lankan bowler Dinuka Hettiarachchi 
(not shown) as wicket keeper Prasanna Jayawardene 
looks on during the third day's play of the four-day 
match in Colombo on February 10, 2001. 
The Sri Lanka Board President's XI are playing 
England XI. 

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NZ turns to Allott as 5-0 sweep looms 

By Richard Boock 
The New Zealand cricket team's shell-shocked pace attack has been taking some encouragement from the words of World Cup star Geoff Allott. In a break from the much-debated optional practice routine, New Zealand had a compulsory training session when they arrived yesterday in Christchurch, where they will attempt to salvage some pride in tomorrow's fifth and final one-day international against Sri Lanka. Allott, who transformed himself from an extremely hittable left-arm quick into the talk of the cricketing world, broke the record for the number of wickets taken during a World Cup in 1999 when he snared 20 - a mark later equalled by Shane Warne in the tournament final. The 29-year-old paceman yarned with New Zealand's new-look pace combination about life in the hot seat, and how to deal with the pressure of bowling at a rampant opponent after coach David Trist approached him on Thursday night. Out of the game indefinitely after suffering multiple stress-fractures in his back, Allott declined to talk to the media about the message he had given the young pacemen yesterday, but Trist was more forthcoming about the assistance offered.

"Geoff understands what's involved in bowling during those early or late stages of the innings, not just the execution but also the approach needed," Trist said after practice. "When it's coming from a player who's been through the mill himself, it carries added weight and meaning." 

There was a time on Thursday evening when the home side's pacemen started to look a lot more dangerous against Sri Lanka, but unfortunately that was because it was becoming dark and the batsmen were unable to see the ball. When everything has been equal, the Sri Lankan batsmen have almost completely dominated the New Zealand seam lineup, with the explosive styles of Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana complimented nicely by the cold calculation of Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene. "I thought the bowlers could have done a lot better in the opening stanzas - they again showed a bit of inexperience and paid the price," Trist said. "The ability's there but consistency is paramount, and that's the sort of thing Geoff has been emphasising to the guys again today. Unfortunately they can't learn in 30 minutes what he has in eight years." Having won just one of their past 12 one-day internationals and none of their past five one-day series, New Zealand head into tomorrow's match with the look of the hunted, something Trist says must change if the tables are to be turned on Sri Lanka at Jade Stadium. "It's gladiatorial out there in an ODI. It's dog eat dog and it can be especially daunting if you're unsure of yourself. "You've got to take the attitude that it's either you or the batsman - and take him on. It's your best chance." Meanwhile, New Zealand's troublesome opening batting position remains under scrutiny after Adam Parore was unable to make a success of a promotion on Thursday, being kept scoreless for 13 balls before departing. Trist said the matter was again up for discussion though he had sympathy for Parore, who was last asked to open on a green-top in the third test at the Wanderer's in Johannesburg last year. "We need to review it again," he said. "It was a difficult ask but even then, it probably still has to be debated." Sri Lanka, on the brink of a historic 5-nil series sweep, may bring back left-arm paceman Chaminda Vaas tomorrow.
-New Zealand Herald 

Teams: New Zealand: Stephen Fleming (capt), Nathan Astle, Roger Twose, Lou Vincent, Craig McMillan, Chris Harris, Jacob Oram, Adam Parore, Daniel Vettori, Daryl Tuffey, James Franklin, Chris Martin. 

Sri Lanka (from): Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu, Russel Arnold, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Avishka Gunawardene, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Mutiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Dilhara Fernando, Aravinda de Silva, Ruchira Perera, Eric Upashantha, Kumar Dharmasena. 

Sugath to run in Europe G. Prix

Sugath Tillekeratne the next best medal prospect for the first time is participating in the Indoor European Grand Prix which is now in progress.

According to the same source if Tillekeratne shows up well in the ongoing European Grand Prix, he will be afforded with an opportunity of training in the US under a qualified coach for further improvement. 

This is something the AAA should have done, than confining to the Asian region, if Sri Lanka track and field sport is to make much headway in the international scene. 

In the first meet held in Stuttgart (Germany), he was placed seventh running for the first time in an Indoor Meet, on February 4. 

This will be followed - February 12, in Vienna (Austria) February18 in Birmingham (England), February 21, in Athens (Greece) and the final run February 23, (Belgium). (B.W.)

Hick puts England on the road to victory over Board XI

By Marlon Fernandopulle
Graeme Hick returned to form with a crafty 75 and Darren Gough picked up three wickets as England set the stage to clinch a morale boosting victory over the Sri Lanka Board President's XI at the end of the third day's play at the P Saravanamutthu Stadium yesterday.

Set to make 326 for victory in a minimum of 101 overs the Board XI were struggling at 20 for 3 with former Test Cricketer Hashan Tilakaratne and first innings centurion Tilakaratne Dilshan at the wickets.

Despite ending the day on a high note the tourist can only derive little satisfaction from the performance of their batsmen who once again were undone by the spinners.

Left arm leg-spinner Dinuk Hettiarachchi, who picked up two scalps in the first innings, made full use of the tourists' weakness against the slow bowlers as he went on to add five second innings wickets, while rigt arm off spinner Tilan Samaraweera picked up three wickets.

Hettiarachchi in particular was threatening as he varied his leg breaks with the occasional arm ball that very often had the Englishmen guessing. He ended the day with 5 for 84 to make a strong claim for the forthcoming first Test.

However the out of form Graeme Hick once again demonstrated his skills against the slow bowlers as he completed a fine 75 before falling to Hettiarachchi.

Apart from Hick, Atherton (47) and Thorpe (40) helped England to build up a sizeable second innings total which was built around two good partnerships. First it was a 63 run stand for the 6th wicket between Hick and White and later a 54 run stand between Hick and Ashley Giles (16).

Not cricket what!
It was indeed not quite cricket for bowler Darren Gough and the entire England team to appeal (and converge round the Umpire) for a catch taken by Gough himself that clearly hit the ground first. Hashan Tilakaratne drove a Gough delivery that was clearly seen (even from the pavillion) to have hit the ground first. Was the England behaviour due to the pressure put on the umpire since there were no TV cameras. Or has the Englishman's game changed?-MF
SCOREBOARD{tc "SCOREBOARD"} {tc ""} England first innings-329 all out Sri Lanka Board President's XI first innings -265 all out England 2 nd innings M. Atherton c Jayawardene b Hettiarachchi 47 (Playing forward,outside edge to wk.) N. Hussain c Jayawardene b Pushpakumara 02 (Playing forward to a outswinger,edged to wk.) G. Thorpe lbw b Hettiarachchi 40 (Played back to a ball that straightened-arm ball) A. Stewart st Jayawardene b Samaraweera 11 (Stepped out to drive,missed completely) M. Vaughan c (sub) b Samaraweera 0 (Swept,top edge to short fine leg) G.Hick c Mendis b Hettiarachchi 75 (Attempted flick over mid wicket,leading edge to extra cover) C. White c De Silva b Samaraweera 39 (Lofted over mid wicket,caught in the deep) A. Giles lbw b Hettiarachchi 16 (Played back,wrapped on the pads) R. Croft not out 15 A. Caddick b Hettiarachchi 4 (Attempted cut, ball kept low, wrapped on the pad) D. Gough not out 6 Extras 6 Total (for 9 wickets decl.) 261 Fall of wickets: 1-19,2-79,3-102,4-112,5-119,6-182,7-236,8-237,9-250 Bowling: R. Pushpakumara 8.1-0-24-1; S. de Silva 9.5-1-44-0; D. Hettiarachchi 30-4-84-5; T. Samaraweera 25.3-6-91-3; H.Tilakaratne 1-0-9-0; T.Dilshan 2-1-4-0. Sri Lanka Board President's XI 2nd innings J. Mubarak lbw Gough 1 (No stroke offered to a ball that swung in) C. Mendis c Croft b Gough 2 (Attempted push,thick edge to cover point) M. Vandort b Gough 4 (Middle & leg yorker) Extras: 4 Total: (for 3 wickets ) 20 Fall of Wickets: 1-1,2-6, 3-14 Bowling: A. Caddick 6-0-5-0; D. Gough 5-1-15-3.

Murali to play for Lancashire

Muttiah Muralitharan has been given the go-ahead by the Sri Lankan cricket board to play for Lancashire for much of next season, the county announced yesterday. 

International commitments will prevent him from playing a full season, because Sri Lanka have a home series with South Africa, and he will probably miss six weeks of the county programme. 

Murali took 66 wickets in six matches in his 1999 stint with Lancashire.

The Guardian London

Don't worry be happy...

Don't worry be happy! The lyrics and melody of that popular song certainly cheers us up when we are down and out. Sri Lankan cricket was lowly placed a couple of weeks after being beaten convincingly in South Africa. The mood has changed now with a One Day Series win against New Zealand. so, should it be a case of "Don't worry be happy?!! Is all well again?

Indeed the pluses have begun to reappear within the Sri Lankan camp as victory naturally embraces confidence. The mode of the wins clearly shows that the first game was quite closely contested. The second game was a nail-biter. Then, when the pressure was on the Kiwis crumbled and conceded a massive defeat.

The pitches have not been easy to score runs on. Batsmen on both sides have had to work hard with Sanath Jayasuriya being the exception. He is brilliant on his day. The fact that Jayasuriya raced to his ton in 76 deliveries whilst Atapattu laboured on for 76 deliveries to reach his half century indicated that the skipper is in a different league, when in full cry.

Jayasuriya will carve out such performances time and again. He needs to be there to produce such match-winning performances. The opposition bowlers erred giving him room to play his strokes on both sides of the pitch. Knowing the smallness of the Auckland ground Jayasuriya opened out his shoulders to hit the ball out of the playng area six times and touch the ropes on ten occasions.

Two batsmen who have slowly but surely matured over the past couple of months, chewing and digesting the experiences of South Africa and New Zealand are Russel Arnold and Kumar Sangakkara. The pair are now established and should fill the vacancies of Gurusinghe, Mahanama and Ranatunga who have gone before them. There are still areas to be ironed out. They should have permanent postitions to bat in both the One Day games and the longer games. At least they should be slotted into either the top order (number one to three) or the top middle order (numbers four to six). That will stabilize them mentally and prepare them to a settled approach. Also, the question arises as to whether Sangakkara should be keeping wicket. He is still young, vibrant and fit and seems to cope. May be this dual role could continue, until it is time to cross the next bridge.

With Jayasuriya in full cry, Marvan Atapattu had the opportunity to bat at his own pace. The total was small so it was tough for the bowlers to defend. Atapattu has been struggling for form on this tour, often being dismissed niggling at deliveries outside the off stump. He must now continue from here on as long innings and many runs must come off his bat when he comes home and plays against the Englishmen.

It is good to see Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa and Muttiah Muralitharan, completey fit and bowling with purpose. Also, the return of Kumar Dharmasena into the One Day sideis encouraging. With his experience Dharmasena can play vital roles with both bat and ball. He should be able to dust off the cobwebs of being absent from international cricket for a quite while, in the course of these five games. The selectors will have to look at giving Zoysa a break as he has had to do more than his share of work on this tour. This trio of Vaas, Zoysa and Muralitharan will have to be present and in top form for the three tests and three one dayers against England.

In next to no time the smiles have reappeared on Sri Lanka's cricketing fans. Some lost prestige has been regained, it is being said. Yes, only in terms of results in New Zealand. Also, it must be kept it mind that that team minus Chris Cairns is like Sri Lanka without Muttiah Muralitharan. In addition, left arm pace bower Geoff Allot and a couple of others are sidelined through injury. Sure that is part of the game and a victory must be acknowleged for just that.

Yet, much work has to be done for the island cricketers to perform consistently in all parts of the world against every type of opposition. Be happy, but be aware of that!!

A truly global scandal

By Harriet Grant
On the 7th of November Desmond Fernando, President's Counsel and former President International Bar Association, was appointed by the BCCSL to examine the allegations against former Sri lankan cricket captain Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva. Having originally been given 30 days to come back with his findings he found, as did most of the other investigators, that he needed more time. Arjuna Ranatunga

When I spoke to Mr Fernando earlier this week he was busy preparing for the ICC meeting next month. 

He is unsure as yet whether the BCCSL will be able to afford to send him, but he is still involved in discussions with the New Zealand and Australian investigative teams. 

The Sri Lankan investigation has been delayed while Mr. Fernando has waited for the arrival of the original scripts of Indian book-maker MK' s alleged conversation with the Central Bureau of Investigations in India, and secondly by their translation from Hindi into English. It is now underway though, and when enough evidence has been collected Mr. Fernando will meet with de Silva and Ranatunga, to discuss the allegations made against them. He was keen to stress though that "until we are proved otherwise we will continue to maintain the innocence of the players". Desmond Fernando

Although no conclusion has been reached vis-a-vis the Sri Lankan pair, a total of five players worldwide have been banned for life over the past year (Malik and Rehman from Pakistan, Sharma and Azharuddin from India and Cronje). This is in itself is a shocking indictment of how deep the rot goes, and the investigations are not anywhere near completion. Sir Condon, the ICC's appointed authority regards match fixing, has suggested that this may take until 2003.

The investigations in general have been marked by a spirit of international cooperation. The first act of the Sri Lankan investigation was to write to the BCCI ( Board of Control of Cricket in India) and ask for their assistance. In November, Mr. Desmond Fernando visited India twice, the second time in the company of Sir Paul Condon, and representatives of the Australian and New Zealand investigations. 

While in India they met with the BCCI, the New Delhi police, the CBI and members of the Indian government; this was the first time that they had worked as a team.

The Indian CBI report, which first implicated the Sri Lankan players, which was in line with measures contemplated by the ICC in their meeting, confirmed that the Indians were determined to punish the Indian players who were involved in the match- fixing scam. The Indian reaction to the investigations results, was to ban for life Ajay Sharma and Azharuddin and placing five-year bans on Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhaker and the team physiotherapist Ali Irani.

More importantly for other cricket playing nations, the report, published on the 1st of November, contained the names of nine foreigners and five Indians; these included the names of former test captains. Among the foreigners were the former captain of the Sri Lankan team, Arjuna Ranatanga and his deputy Aravinda de Silva. They were accused of having between them unde-rperformed in order that Sri Lanka would lose a test match against India in 1994 at Lucknow. 

The allegations consisted entirely of the testimony of bookmakers, most of whose somewhat irregular activities cast a shadow of doubt upon the report's veracity. One man in particular seemed to be the central focus of the allegations, 'MK' Gupta, a committed bookie who runs a jewellery shop in Delhi.

It was MK who was supposed to have paid the Sri Lankan pair to fix the India game and to have paid de Silva $15,000 and then $20,000 for an introduction to the New Zealand player Martin Crowe. He claimed to have a good rapport with de Silva, and was allegedly assured by the players ( Ranatunge and Silva) that they did not need other players to be involved to throw a match. They had said that in their senior positions they could influence the outcome sufficiently on their own.

The other foreign players named in the report included Australia's Mark Waugh and Dean Jones, New Zealand's Martin Crowe, Pakistan's Salim Malik (who had already been banned for life following a two-year investigation by Judge Quayyum), Brian Lara of the West Indies, Alec Stewart of England and Cronje. 

Due to the circumstantial nature of the evidence in the report, no criminal proceedings were brought by the Indian authorities. This position has been maintained by all the other countries involved.

Having completed their groundbreaking report, the CBI then handed over control of any further investigation on foreign players to the ICC and the individual cricket boards, which is how Sri Lanka came to appoint Desmond Fernando for instance. 

To recap, then, the sequence of the betting and match-fixing scandal that has rocked cricket, it has been almost a year now since Indian police stumbled across telephone conversations between Hanse Cronje, then captain of the South African cricket team, and Delhi bookmakers while pursuing an investigation into illegal gambling. Until Cronje confessed to underperforming in return for money in a dramatic 3 a.m. phone call to the Managing Director of the South African Cricket Board, there were those who refused to believe that such things were possible. 

Fans had barely caught their breath, however, before cricket pavilions around the world reverberated to the crashing of more heroes falling from their pedestals. Since then, allegation has followed allegation, and many of the games biggest stars have been implicated. If the aspersions cast are true, then corruption has tainted over half of the test playing nations. 

Next month, almost an year into the match-fixing scandal, the ICC, the game's international governing body, meets in Australia with its lawyers and the representatives of its anti-corruption unit, formed in reaction to the original allegations last May.

The details of what followed Cronje's confession are now well known.

The Indian government ordered a full investigation into all links between bookmakers and players and the South African Cricket Board set up a commission of inquiry under Judge Edwin King. The ICC, at an emergency meeting attended by 18 delegates from 12 countries discussed possible measures to take against those found guilty of match-fixing and established an anti-corruption unit, headed by Sir Paul Condon. 

Also in December the South African King Commission issued a series of recommendations designed to reduce the possibility of cases such as Cronje's re-occurring. Players' calls should be monitored and their access to phone lines restricted, they should also be forced to take lie-detector tests argued this interim report. 

Both the Austalian and the English cricket boards thought this a step too far, and an unnecessary slur upon the integrity of the players. Alternatively, in New Zealand, the future of meaningless one day internationals was discussed as it was felt that such games offered too much leeway for interference. 

A scandal which is truly global in its implications requires a global partnership to address it; let us hope that the approach taken so far by the afflicted nations continues to root out those rotten players who are poisoning the reputation of cricket.


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