11th March 2001
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England's Graeme Hick (R) reacts as wicket keeper Alec Stewart (C) celebrates stumping Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara for 95 runs during the third day's play in their second test at the Asgiriya cricket stadium in Kandy - Reuters

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Pressure is on England: Whatmore

KANDY, Sri Lanka, March 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore, left dazed by his side's fightback against England in the second test on Saturday, made his side the slight favourites going into the final day.

Whatmore, speaking after England closed on 91 for four chasing a victory target of 161, said: "It's been an incredible test match, to say the least.

"Yet again, shock horror, it was nothing different from the other days.

"I can't wait for the final day.

However, Whatmore believed his side, who fought back from 98 for six to make 250 in their second innings, had the edge on a pitch favouring the bowlers.

"I'm pretty happy that we're bowling - we have got (Muttiah) Muralitharan, and (Chaminda) Vaas bowling pretty well.

"The pressure is going to be a big test, for everyone."

Banned Azhar in promotion drive

HYDERABAD, India, March 10 (Reuters) - Former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin, banned from the sport for life for alleged match-fixing, has launched a company that will organise events including cricket matches.

Sanath to face Condon inquiry

Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya will be questioned over £330,000 bribe offer, reports Simon Wilde
Officers from Sir Paul Condon' s Anti-Corruption Unit will fly to Sri Lanka to question Sanath Jayasuriya, the Sri Lanka captain, about a £330,000 offer to fix matches made to him by the discredited Indian bookmaker Mukesh Gupta. The Sri Lankan Cricket Board had hoped to keep the meeting secret for fear of overshadowing England's Test series in the country, but The Sunday Times has discovered that the interview is scheduled for April. The huge sum of money involved dwarfs the £60,000 that Gupta paid Hansie Cronje, the disgraced former South Africa captain, to provide information and fix matches four years ago. Gupta told investigators from India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that he approached Jayassuriya - in Dubai in 1996, a few weeks after the player, one of the world's most exciting batting talents, inspired his country to a surprise World Cup triumph. The incident was played down in the CBI's 162-page report because when Jayasuriya was asked, through a third party, to confirm what happened, he denied ever having spoken to Gupta. However, sources in Sri Lanka say Jaya-suriya told several people about the offer at the time — and that he was targeted by bookmakers on other occasions. "Several attempts were made to get to Sanath but none of them did," said one former Sri Lankan Cricket Board official. "One big offer was made to him in Dubai but Sanath told the bookie in plain terms to get lost. Sanath told several people about it. He told me, he told everybody here. Even Gupta admitted he was unsuccessful." Offering a glimpse of the scale of inducements offered by bookmakers operating in the sub-continent, the source added: "Most of these guys (in the Sri Lankan team) have been approached directly or Indirectly by bookies, just seeing if they can catch them in their net." Gupta, who was based in Delhi, claimed to have paid money to a number of international Test stars, including Alec Stewart and Jayasuriya's immediate predecessors as Sri Lanka captain, Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva. All three deny taking money from Gupta. Stewart, Jayasuriya and De Silva are playing in the current Test match in Galle. Jayasuriya is believed to be reluctant to talk to Condon's unit but he will find silence before the ACU is not an option. All international cricketers are required to provide a signed declaration stating what they know about match-fixing, the punishment for not co-operating being unspecified "heavy penalties". When Mark Waugh recently refused to attend a meeting with the ACU, he was threatened with removal from the Australia team and backed down. Desmond Fernando, a Sri Lankan human rights lawyer who is leading his country's internal inquiry into match-fixing, will also interview Jayasuriya.

Kumar Sangakkara,Kumar Dharmasena and Chaminda Vaas head Sri Lanka's fightback...

By Aubrey Kuruppu

Spirited resistance from Sangakkara, Dharmasena and Vaas, and then a double-strike by the last named made certain that England will not have a win served on a platter in the second Test in Asgiriya.

One hundred and sixty one was the target and to begin with it seemed a goner as far as Sri Lanka were concerned. But Vaas lent excitement to the proceedings by sending the openers packing - Thorpe played superbly, excelling with the cut and drive.

After Muralitharan had snared Thorpe, Jayasuriya thirsting for more, brought back Vaas and he soon obliged. Hussain pushed forward at one and Sangakkara threw the ball up in glee - Vaas' figures were excellent.

The odds at the end of day four were very slightly in England's favour. Stewart, White, Muralitharan and Vaas will be the key performers.

Earlier, an innings of complete authority and dominance by Kumar Sangakkara (95 with 13 fours) had brought Sri Lanka back into contention, if only just. The left hander was completely untroubled (and unhurried) by any of the bowlers and he proceeded serenely to 95. Then he suffered a rush of blood with lunch approaching, danced down and swished at Croft. Stewart had an easy stumping. This was the second occasion on which he has been denied a century - although this was due to pushing the self-destruct button.

Dharmasena showed plenty of guts and courage as he batted his way to 54 in 227 minutes. Quiet early on, later he batted with great freedom.

The liaison between the hard-to-dislodge Dharmasena and the elegant Sangakkara produced 93 for the seventh wicket.

Vaas carried on the good work and fought the good fight alongside Dharmasena. The purple patch in his knock came when he hooked Caddick superbly for four and lofted him back over his head for another boundary next ball. Zoysa disappointed, even as he was to do later with the ball.

Scoreboard Sri Lanka first innings 297 (M.Jayawardene 101, R.Arnold 65; A.Caddick 4-55, D.Gough 4-73) England first innings 387 (N.Hussain 109, G.Thorpe 59, A.Stewart 54;, Muralitharan 4-127, Jayasuriya 3-76) Sri Lanka second innings (98 for 6 overnight contd.) K. Sangakkara st Stewart b Croft 95 (Lost patience, came out, swung across line) K. Dharmasena c Hick b Gough 54 (Couldn't get bat out of way of lifting delivery) C. Vaas c Croft b White 36 (Sliced drive into the covers) N. Zoysa c Hick b Gough 0 (Hanging bat out to dry, picked up at 2nd slip) M. Muralitharan not out 6 Extras: (2 byes, 3 leg byes, 11 no balls) 16 Total: (89.1 overs) 250 Fall: 6th wkt 88. 181, 234, 242, 250 Bowling: Gough 22-6-50-4 (NB 3); Caddick 18-5-55-1 (NB4); White 12.1-3-42-2 (NB1); Croft 22-11-40-3; Giles 15-3-58-0 (NB 3) England second innings M. Atherton c Sangakkara b Vaas 11 (Played away from body and edged) M. Trescothick lbw b Vaas 13 (Tried to glance, hit on outside of pad) N. Hussain c Sangakkara b Muralitharan 15 (Pushed forward and nicked) G. Thorpe c Sangakkara b Muralitharan 46 (Cut at one, not all that short and snicked) A. Stewart not out 2 R. Croft not out 1 Extras: (1 leg bye, 2 no balls) 3 Total: (for 4 wkts. in 31 overs) 91 Fall: 24, 25, 86, 89 Bowling: Vaas 11-3-18-3; Zoysa 2-0-16-0; Dharmasena 6-0-19-0; Muralitharan 8-1-28-1 (NB2); Jayasuriya 4-0-9-0.

Flying colonel for Grand Prix

Now more popular as the flying colonel, Ravi Mayadunne has been offered a sponsorhip package by Mobil that will take him to the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang on the 24th and 25th March. He will join racing ace Romani de Silva who is already travelling in Malaysia.

Ravi is a keen member of Team Mobil and is well known for his daring duels with speed merchants at many a Motor Sports Meet.

In making the presentation, Director of McLarens Mobil, Trevor Reckerman stated that Ravi is the perfect role model of a driver who performs in the true spirit - a good example for the young'uns of today. Each year Mobil intends to send two of its outstanding team members for a Grand Prix abroad. We wish Ravi a very enjoyable and interesting visit to the Malaysian GP.

W.P. rugby tournament

The Western Province annual under 24, 25 a side rugby tournament will be held from March 15.

Entries for this championships closed on March 8th, with the Administrative Secretary Western Province Rugby Union. Any player who is under 24 as at January 1st is eligible to participate in this tournament.


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