Lanka 315/5, bad light ends play vs Rest of SA
First Test vs South Africa begins on November 8
Sri Lanka who are preparing for the first Test against South Africa in Johannesburg from November 8 to 12, added a further 89 runs to their score of 226 for 4 against a Rest of South Africa XI before bad weather ended play with the score on 315 for 5 at the Lenasia Stadium, south of Johannesburg yesterday.]

Lankan batsmen in good nick
Johannesburg has been the hub of activity for cricket (Wanderers Park). It's a venue where memorable matches have been played.

Sri Lanka play their first test here next week (Nov.8-12). Lankans have a great following in SA after the islanders reached the Everest winning the World Cup, defeating the mighty Australians in 1996. Even the man in the street in Johannesburg has much admiration for the Lankan cricketers after their historic win in Lahore. Next year's World Cup is in S.Africa and this tour is an ideal barometer for the team to get tuned up.

Johannesburg has been built after the discovery of gold in Witwaterstand in 1886. Since then it has developed into an industrial city. Legendary Nelson Mandela, who fought for justice and equality also worked in the mines.

The Rest of South Africa, four-day match, the final warm-up game before the First Test which will begin on Friday. "Mr. Concentration," Marvan Atapattu is in good nick. Orthodox Bat Mahela Jayawardena is batting with assurance. Kumar Sangakkara too is batting confidently. The middle-order has to show more stability.

With better application and concentration to play a long innings to make the first five day test an exciting contest. Skipper Jayasuriya is confident that the players will rise to the occasion.

Sri Lanka has made a name in the overs game, but must prove themselves that they are second to none in the established game, too. They are determined to work hard, but if the inevitable happens then still they are not found wanting.

The Lankans have done well in their own backyard, but they must prove their mettle away from home, in this two test series here. The bowling will play a decisive role. The young pace bowlers, without much experience in the domestic scene has been drafted in.

But they have to be on target. Spin-wizard Muralitharan is much respected world-wide. But bowlers go in pairs (spinners). Workhorse Chaminda Vass has to do a lot of bowl. The S.A. batsmen are quite at home against fast bowling. They have aplenty in their own cupboard. Watch out for more S.A. tour in these columns.

Only 25 overs and five balls were possible due to rain. Mahela Jayawardena top scored with 76 and Hashan Tillekeratne making an unbeaten 71. After heavy overnight rain left the outfield wet the scheduled start was delayed by two hours. Under overcast conditions, with more rain predicted, Sri Lankans won the toss and decided to bat first.

The match got under way with an eventful over from Garnet Kruger. Atapattu getting off the mark easily turning the ball behind square on the leg side and then Arnold cutting one wide of the slips to third man for a four. Next ball he got one on line, played past it and trapped leg before for four and Sri Lanka 7/1 in the first over. Kumar Sangakkar and Atapattu put on a 77 run partnership matching each other run for run before Sangakkara was sent back for what he thought was a run to extra cover. A direct hit from Garnett Kruger had a scampering Sangakkara well short and run out for 40 and Sri Lanka 84/2.

Atapattu was next to go when driving at Pierre Joubert he edged to Kent at first slip to be caught for 36 and Sri Lanka losing three quick wickets for only 86. Sanath Jayasuriya came to the crease and was soon into his stride, thrashing three beautiful boundaries off a Brent Kops over. Mahela Jayawardene in contrast was prepared to push the ball around for the odd run.

With tea looming, Kruger was brought back to the attack, and he had the two at the crease ducking to some good pace bowling. Jon Kent also bowling back of a length stemmed the flow of runs as tea approached with Jayasuriya on 28, Jayawardene on 12 and Sri Lanka 126/3.

Jayasuriya lost his wicket just after tea. Not getting over a cut from Kent. With Mahela Jayawardene and Hashan Tillakaratne at the crease the runs steadily flowed with Jayawardene going to his 50 in 166 minutes including eight boundaries. Looking very comfortable at the crease they took the score past the two hundred and the partnership approached hundred.

Kruger firing in a bouncer in bad light had the umpires offering the light and stumps was called with Jayawardene on 66 and Tillakaratne on 40, and Sri Lanka 226/4.

CR shoot down Police
Isipathana with late burst clinch schools title
By M. Shamil Amit
The inaugural Inter- Club and Inter-School knock-out rugby tournament for the Premier Champions Trophy came to an end yesterday at the Sugathadasa Stadium with CR and FC overcoming Police by 26 points (one goal, two tries, three penalties) to 18 (one goal, one try, two penalties) in the club final and Isipathana defeating St Peter's by 16 points (two tries, two penalties) to 11 (one try, two penalties) in the Under 19 schools final to clinch the Premier Trophy.

Earlier in the day in the Under 13 schools final Sri Rahula beat Dharmaraja 5-0. Wesley beat Royal 12-0 in the Under 15 final while Ananda beat Isipathana in a close game by 12 points to 11 to win the Under 17 final.

In the Under 19 final between Isipathana and St Peter's the game could have gone either way with St. Peter's taking a slender 6-5 lead at the short whistle giving way to Pathana who came out with a late second half burst to win the match in the end. Thus they proved that they were the kings of of schools rugby having earlier in the season being pushed to second place in the league championship.

This was the first time the two schools met in a game this season and they were engaged in some superlative display of rugby, never giving up though they were being led. The game started with the Peterites drawing first blood through a penalty put over by fly half Dinuka Jayasinghe, three minutes later they increased the lead again through a penalty by Dinuka. The Isipathanians missed two opprtunities of scoring when hooker Sendil Kumar fluffed two easy penalties. The Pathans struck when in the dying stages of this half winger Dinesh Kumara grabbed the ball off a five yard scrummage to score down the right corner flag. After which referee D. Nimal blew the short whistle.

Resuming in the second half the Isipathanians meant business and took over the lead through a try scored by winger Dinesh Kumara with Sendil Kumar's kick at goal going astray. With a ding-dong battle being fought out Isipathana increased the lead when Sendil Kumar at last got his target correct with a penalty. But five minutes later the Peterites replied with a try by skipper and number eight Dilanka Wijesekera to make it 13-11. Two minutes before the final whistle Sendil Kumar sealed the game for the Isipathanians when he put over a penalty with the final score reading 16-11.

In the inter-club final giant killers Police were on their way of repeating the semi final win when they opened scoring in the fifth minute when winger T. D. Herath received a pass from Champika Thushara went over for a try with full Harshana Wijeweera adding the extra points.

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