4th March 2001

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Thotuwilage leads Royal fight-back

By Marlon Fernandopulle

Malinda Thotuwilage stroked a sparkling century as Royal staged a spirited fight-back to force a draw in the 122 nd 'Battle of the Blues' at the SSC grounds yesterday.

Set to make an imposing 265 for victory in just 54 overs Royal slumped to 31 for 3 but made a remarkable recovery to reach 193 for 5 wickets before play was called off in the 17th mandatory over.

Thotuwilage who missed his century by five runs in the first innings rose to the occasion when needed most as he not only guided Royal to safety but also provided the entertainment for the large crowd yesterday with a dazzling array of strokes to all corners of the field.

He strode to the wicket with his side reeling at 12 for 2 and the Thomians sniffing victory. But the slim right hander was unruffled with the situation as he attacked the Thomian medium pace and spinners with some crisp drives off his front foot and powerful shots square of the wicket.Thotuwilage was well supported by Andrew Perera (51 n. o)who played the sheet anchor role and helped add 143 runs for the fourth wicket and made Royal reach a respectable second innings total.

Thotuwilage reached his century in 124 balls smacking 17 boundaries before being run out. He received a standing ovation from the large crowd and was also applauded by the Thomian team for his classic innings.

Earlier in the day the Thomians batting in their second innings with a lead of 75 runs, got off to a slow and cautious start, losing opener Rajawasam with the total on 11.However skipper Kanaka who came in at number three joined Heshad Peiris to add 78 runs for the second wicket .

They went into lunch at 120 for 4 wickets in 32 overs but accelerated their scoring after the break. Once again it was their first innings centurion Jeevan Mendis who led from the front with a fluent half century.Mendis stroked four boundaries and a six to score a breezy 54 off just 46 balls and pave the way for a Thomian declaration.


S' Thomas first innings - 312/9 decl.
Royal first innings 237 all out

S'Thomas second innings

Arjuna Rajawasam b Vidanapathirana 9 Heshan Peiris b
Ratnayake 36 Zakir Kanaka b Dinushan 42
Meshad Peiris c Saldin b Dinushan 13
Jeevan Mendis c Abeyagunawardene b Vidanapathirana 54
Dilshan Gunawardene run out 0 Aruna Bandaranayake b Abeyagunawardene 24
Praveen Peiris not out 1 Denham Williams not out 5
Extras: 5
Total: (for 7 wkts. decl. in 44 overs) 189

Fall of Wickets: 1-11, 2-89, 3-91, 4-120, 5-120, 6-178, 7-184

Bowling:A. Kariyakarawana 3-012-0, C. Vidanapathirana 7-4-12-2, M. Thotuwilage 7-1-21-0, S Dinushan 14-2-62-2, G. Ratnayake 12-0-64-1, D. Abeyagunawardene 1-0-2-1

Royal second innings

Kanishka Edirisuriya c Kanaka b Fernando 2
Dhammika Perera b Bandaranayake 16
T. M. Saldin c Kanaka b Fernando 0
Malinda Thotuwilage run out 108
Andrew Perera not out 51
A. Kariyakarawana c & b Mendis 13
M. Keenawinna not out 0
Extras: 3
Total: (for 5 wkts. in 50.1 overs) 193

Fall of Wickets: 1-12,2-12,3-31,4-174,5-190

Bowling: A. Bandaranayake 11-5-32-1, T. Fernando 6-1-25-2, P. Peiris 3-0-12-0, D. Gunawardene 3-1-5-0, J. Mendis 13.1-1-69-1, D. Williams 11-1-36-0, R. Mohamed 3-0-11-0.

Already one up and two to go

By Aubrey Kuruppu

To go one up with two left to play in a shortened series is, under any circumstances, a very happy position. To a team that was most comprehensively thrashed in South Africa and moreover one who were desperate to make it to the top or there about in Test cricket it is indeed a god-send. To the man-in-the-street (genuine cricket lovers and Sri Lankan supporters they may be) Sri Lanka's victory at Galle was devoid of the customary fizz and sparkle associated with victory. It was, in a sense, flat, clouded as it was by all the controversy.

That Muralitharan is a formidable proposition on bare, brown tracks is well-known. But the eight wickets shared by Jayasuriya ( a non-regular bowler at Test level) must have been a delightful surprise, not least to himself. It would be hard for him to reproduce those figures even against the same opposition on better tracks.

Sri Lanka packed their side with batters and unsurprisingly some of them didn't even put their pads on, the skipper continues to look for consistency in the larger game - Atapattu put the horrors of the South African turn behind him with a long and at times painstaking effort. One hopes he will pull out more shots from his cracker and provide more entertainment at least when the danger is past- Aravinda played the kind of knock that will surely rekindle his desire to last it out a little longer. Sangakkara and Jayawar-dena continued to charm and dazzle in their respective ways. The former more upright and circumspect, the latter, all fluidity, grace and timing.

Even though their fangs had been drawn, Gouh, White and Caddick did the next best thing by not welting and by keeping up a modicum of pressure . Croft was a honest-to-goodness their but his off breaks did not deviate much from the straight and narrow. Giles was the more effective spinner but he wasn't exactly aided by his stumper. Crystal ball-gazing, one expects Vaughan to play at Asgiriya possibly at the expense of the economical Caddick. Horses for courses! However, England's parlous lack of batting riches may see the enigmatic Hick get another go.

The problems are all on the plates of the Fletcher Hussain combination. How do they curb the run-hungry Sri Lankan batsman who revel on their own flat tracks? Should there be a change of tactics (from defence to offence) to come out on top in their battle against the spinners. Importantly, they have no voice in the matter of pitch preparation. Like it or hump it! The point has been emphatically made and so Asgiriya could come to provide more observing and interesting cricket. The track could be different from the one in Galle. Though one hardly supposes it would be a green-top. Talking of pace-fringly tracks, Dilhara Fernando who made some kind of impression in South Africa was reduced to bowling a mere six overs in the two innings. The end justifies the means, it could be rightly pointed out. However, once Muralitharan bows out, the ineffectiveness and lack of penetration in the attack will be shown up. In all probability, Jayasuriya, too, would have bowed out by then!

Nasser Hussain returns to the scene of this triumph as an under 19 player in 1987, under the captaincy of Michael Atherton. He made 177 at Asgiriya and would dearly settle for even half that amount, such is his barrenness at the moment. Hussain must be feeling that the gods have all ganged up against him. Appeasing the gods is not all that difficult. Some Sri Lankans do so by dropping coins into collection tills. If the England skipper missed out on Kalutara, he could always make amends at Gatambe!!

Trescothick's form was the biggest plus factor for the tourists. Large though his contribution was, greater importance is attached to the manner of its making. His success gives increasing credence to the theory that Muralitharan bowls less well at left handers. Andy Flower, possibly the batsman who plays the off spinner best, should know!.

In Brief

Umpires the scapegoats!

England's Print and Electronic media lost no time in criticising the Umpires for some of the decisions that went against them in the Test match at Galle.Although they were precise in picking the decisions that went against the Englishman,they were unable to pickout the decisions that favoured them or went against the Sri Lankans..Micheal Atherton's lbw (1st innings) and Marcus Trescothick's bat/pad catch (2nd innings ) were negated by the Umpires when they should have been given out.However none of these cases are reported.Why?That's typical of the Englishman.

It is a well known fact that whenever an Umpire in the Sub-Continent makes a mistake the English and the Australians make a big hue and cry over it. Simply because they are of the view that they are the best in the trade.No wonder that the Lankan Umpire at the last World Cup in England was out of the Super Six Stage despite having a better rating in the first round than the Umpires who were selected.

It was only a few days after the Galle test that the English Umpire David Shepherd hailed by their own media to be the Number one, gave Steve Waugh out (to a bat/pad catch)when he was not out and failed to give Micheal Slater out when he edged a ball to the Wicketkeeper during the first test between Australia and India in Bombay.Remember when Kumar Sangakkara was given out lbw by England umpire Peter Willey against South Africa when he was on 98.If that's the way Shepherd and Willey does it why the fuss with Manuel and Jayaprakash.Is it because defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka was something unexpected and a bitter pill to swallow?

Two mile sea swim today

One of the oldest known historic swimming event in the world, the 64th Sri Annual Open Two-Mile Sea Swim organized by the National Amateur Aquatic Sports Union of Sri Lanka (NAASU) will be held today. The swimmers will be called under the marshalls' order at 8.00am at the Mt. Lavinia Bay.

A total of 544 swimmers will plunge into the water at 8.30am from the bay swimming towards the Mount Lavinia Surf Club to complete the first half. They would then make their turn around a launch and swim back to the bay to complete the distance of two miles. The total comprises 397 male and 56 female competitors in the open event. The juvenile event will see 72 boys and 19 girls within the 9 to 12 year olds swimming concurrently with the seniors. The men would have to complete the course within 70 minutes to qualify for points and certificate, while the women have a time limit of 75 minutes.

As in the previous years a strong contingent is expected from the swimmers in Ambalangoda, the three armed services and the police representing 11 clubs, 23 schools and the services itself. One of the notable feature of this swim in recent years is the particpation of many disabled men mainly from the defence services.

These swimmers would take part in the main event but will be given a handicap of entering the water first. The female swimmers traditionally are expected to start their swim ten minutes ahead of the males while completing the course in their allotted times.

The Bank of Ceylon will be the principal sponsor of the event while Mount Lavinia Hotel and Master Divers (Pvt) Ltd. who have been associated with this event for many years will be co-sponsors of this event this year as well. The bank incidentally has committed its sponsorship for a second 3-year contract period till 2001 for all aquatic sporting activities conducted by the NAASU. The defence services will also extend their support in terms of boats from the Navy, communication equipment from the Air Force together with the Sri Lanka Police who would provide personnel to patrol the coast.

More indoor meets for Susanthika

By Bernie Wijesekera

Susanthika Jayasinghe who showed up well in the ongoing Indoor Season - 2001 will leave for the World Indoor championships to be held in Portugal (Lisbon) on March 7.

After her successful stint in the Indoor Season she arrived on Feb., 28. For the first time Sri Lanka will participate in the World Championship in Lisbon.

Besides Jayasinghe, Sugath Tillekeratne too will take part.

In Melbourne Australia the Sri Lanka Sports Foundation and the Lankans in Victoria will felicitate her on March 17. The Foundation also honoured former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga and his family after his retirement.

Rover pinpoints...........

Well done SB

The former Minister of Sports has supported a school in his electorate, Diyatilleka Central, to start hard ball cricket donating cricketing gear. It would be good if SB could make a swimming pool too available to all school boys and girls from his electorate so that a champion could be produced in swimming.


Over fifty journalists covering the first Test in Galle had to share only one toilet and the SLBC commentary panel had no view of the main scoreboard and was housed near the toilet. Come, come...... more adequate arrangements should have been made.

Who is this dollar man

Who is this dollar man attached to the Cricket Board, who picks and chooses his assignments. He abused the staff of a Radio Station, for naming him, when in search of a radio talk abroad on the subject of cricket and pulling out at the last moment by giving in lame excuses.

Vadai and plain tea

Another commentator now attached to the cricket board, who is only made use of giving ball by ball commentaries when nobody is available had mentioned that they only gave commentaries with a vadai and plain tea given to them, while the others were looked after well. What a change of style indeed.

decision to ban coaches

On a protest made by SB, a five member committee of Ministers was picked to sit in judgment regarding the ban of coaches from heading Sports Bodies in Sri Lanka. One wonders what the outcome will be? Will SB support his golaya to or will LK stand firm? Only time will tell.

I do confess

An umpire who stood in the first Cricket Test in Galle, which Sri Lanka won, did confess to a colleague of his over a drink that he did make a major blunder. One wonders what his future will be like. Will it bleak on the international arena?

Clean up

On the subject of coaches holding office as President and Vice- Presidents and on the selection committees, the Minister should not only bar those serving athletics it should be table tennis and basketball too. Please clean up this mess, Mr. Minister.

1st SABA tournament in March

The South Asia Basketball Association was formed when the 1st SAARC Basketball tournament was conducted in Sri Lanka. Now the present officials have confirmed that the 1st tournament for member associations will be held in India from 2nd to 6th March 2001, and have invited a team from Sri Lanka. Will Sri Lanka enter a team is what is asked in the Basketball circle? India, Maldives and Bangladesh have confirmed participation according to a very close friend of the Organizing Secretary.

The reason for not participating

Rover is informed by reliable cager officials that the Manager was appointed at the Exco meeting presided by the present President few months ago. A former President of the SLBF was appointed with alternate a former Secretary of the SLBF, but the minutes does not show of any such appointment. Was this done to leave room for the present Vice-President from the hill country (Who has never missed a foreign tour since he became a office bearer) to go on the tour at the last minute and also is it because the well known Vice-President not being appointed to go with the team as the Coach?

Why should Basketball suffer?

Basketball lovers are keen to know from the lady official from the Ministry of Sports why she is still giving cover for the wrong things done by Sri Lanka Basketball Federation officials? Is it because of the influence from a former Ministry official who is a very close friend of the well known wrong doing Vice-President of the SLBF? Over to you Minister.

Media taken for a ride

The Media unit of the Cricket Board fouled up again, when phoned indicating that a Sports Editor wanted to speak to the Media Manager, a female voice said that he had left for Galle. However when another caller wanted to speak to the Media Manager he came on line within a minute. The fairer sex is involved again. Please put your house in order and treat the media in a better manner please!

Rover scores again

The selection of the two officials first before the team was selected for the Asian and World championships in TT, took a different turn with two other officials being picked to go to India and the same duo as mentioned bearing initials LP, JS is going to Japan with no change in the team.

Plenty of copycats

The AAA judges exam held at Royal College was a big sham! Rover learns the seating procedure was changed and all pals were spotted copying on February 2. Copying was going at a rate in the class rooms . After one and half hours walks in G and U and writes all the answers to the scripts with the assistance of the AAA manual and hands them over to his buddies.

The exam centre was reduced to a mockery, with the duo going away saying, "Machang everything is OK, clear pass for you," with merry laughter. Over to who was the person. instrumental in conducting these exams. Why not hold an inquiry and cancel the exam. Over to you Minister of Sports. These are the people who are ruining sports.

Legendary 'Don' left an indelible mark

By Bernie Wijesekera

Sir Donald Bradman with his exploits on and off the field to be tagged as an all-time great with a Test batting average of 99.96 passed away on Monday February 26, after a brief illness. At the time of his death he was 92 years old.

He lived for two centuries - born in 1908, August 27 and was able to survive upto the millennium at a time when the game's image is being tarnished by match-fixing, lust and greedy.

He never went for material gains nor sold his name for cheap publicity. He played during a bodyline era to curb his run-getting though battered and bruised by Larwood, Bowes and Tate in Australia and was the world's best in the Test arena.

In the process Australia has produced some great cricketers the likes of the Chappell brothers Ian and Greg, Alan Border the Waugh twins - Steve and Mark, Doug Walters, Alan Davidson, Neil Harvey, Sid Barnes, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall, Don Tallon, Shane Warne, McGrath etc., But Don the greatest sportsman Australia had in the 20th century. He was fittingly among the ten all time greats picked for the 20th century.

The Bowral Boy started his humble cricket career in the backyards helped by his two parents. It was hard-grind and he knew what life was all about. He schewed publicity, living all by himself after the death of his wife.

He preferred to live rich rather than die rich. Whatever he got, he gave back to develop the game at grassroots level.

The Don played in a whistle stop match against Sri Lanka in his last 'Ashes Tour' to England in 1948 at the P. Sara Stadium.

He made 20 runs, caught Heyn bowled De Robet De Kretser. The Lankans were led by M. Sathasivam.

Don played in an era when there were no covered pitches, helmets, including precautionary gear, third umpire match referee or the man-of-the-match award, unlike today.

Imagine Sir Don getting 309 not out in one day against England in 1930 at Leeds (Test) frist session 100, second 89 and third 100 on the first day. Finally got out for 334, against an English attack comprising Larwood, Bill Bowes, Maurice Tate and spinner Headley Verity (Left-arm).

Today teams playing Test cricket are struggling to get 250 runs in a day even against a mediocre attack. The Aussie team was captained by Bill Woodful.

This was the time our own F.C. De Saram became the first player from Oxford to get a 100 against Woodful's Aussie team in 1934. Then he scored another triple 100 - 304 in 1934 also at Leeds against England. Runs flowed from his willow like money falling from a millionaire's purse.

The secret behind his success attributes to his ability (glowing tribute) to develop his mind. 'As rain penetrates an ill-thatched house, so lust penetrates an undeveloped mind.'

India's batting prodigy Sachin Tendulkar was privileged to meet him. He paid, a glowing tribute to the maestro. With the limited opportunities he made the runs unlike today's cricketers, who play over 100 Tests.

They may be able to erase some of his feats, but none could match is skills with the willow, a cricketer of Bradman's class is born once in a life time. Records are secondary. He led a simple path to the end.

Everything in this world is temporary. Even at the height of his power, he never misused it. He was the chairman of the ACB, selector and served in various capacities, but never misused his power, but shared the views with others.


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