Ananda in box seat at 74th Battle of Maroons
By Bernie Wijesekera
Ananda skipper Kularatne's gamble in sending arch-rivals Nalanda to take first lease of the pitch paid off when they crawled to 152 for 8 dec. at tea off 67 overs on day one of their 74th 'Battle of Maroons' at Maitland Place yesterday. Ananda in reply hit back strongly to make 125 for one at close.

To focus interest, this year's match is being played on a new formula, to make it more result orientated - ending in listless draws - due to a joint effort by the old boys of both schools. The side batting first has to declare at tea within their allotted 67 overs, stemmed the rot with a dour third wicket stand of 51 runs. Left hander Gangodawila displayed more aggression into the run rate.

Bowlers did a fine job - Jayasuriya

Daminda Wijesuriya reporting from Cape Town
Batting had been Sri Lanka's greatest strength in cricket over the years but after a rare show of good bowling performances in the world cup tournament, Sri Lanka skipper Sanath Jayasuriya admitted that "batting is going to be a worry" in the next few matches. Sri Lankan bowlers excelled well to defend a modest total of 228 against the West Indies on Friday night and virtually threw them out of the World Cup 2003.

The two time world champions surrendered for mere 222 runs at Newlands, cricket ground, Cape Town. The islanders will meet the host nation South Africa tomorrow (Monday) at Durban, which will decide which team will head the Group 'B'. The win against West Indies was a big relief for Jayasuriya and his boys after disappointing performances in Nairobi, where they lost to Kenya for the first time. Yet it was the bowlers who did the job for their captain.

"The bowlers bowled really well even though we dropped few catches. It's good to see them winning matches" Jayasuriya said after their dramatic comeback at Newlands.
"It was not an easy wicket to bat on. The ball was not coming to the bat earlier on. We got 228 and that was a very good total."

"With our bowlers, we thought that we could defend that total" Jayasuriya said.
The captain's confidence was such at his bowlers. However it was after a long time that a Sri Lankan captain was commending his bowlers, rather than the batsmen. In the ICC World Cup 2003, Sri Lankan players won four man of the match awards and three of them went to the bowlers. The 28 year-old left arm seamer Chaminda Vaas, won a gold watch twice as man of the match and the other went to rookie Prabath Nissanka.

Meanwhile Chaminda Vaas had become the leading bowler in the tournament with 16 scalps to his name. Wasim Akram of Pakistan follows him, with 12 wickets. It was a team decision to call Pulasthi Gunaratne to deliver the final over of the match against West Indies and it worked well for them to pull off a narrow win. Chaminda Vaas said that there was no change in the South African wickets But he didn't forget to pay a tribute to his bowling coach in Colombo.

"I went back home and I worked with the bowling coach. My rhythm is coming well in every game and that is why I am bowling well at the moment" Speaking of his chances in the game against South Africa on Monday, Jayasuriya emphasised that his batsmen should score more runs if they bat first. It was another way of expressing his disappointment with the middle order.

"Still we need to get some runs on the board. The middle order is still not in good form. We have a good chance since the bowlers have been bowling well and I think the worry factor is the batting," Jayasuriya said. Sri Lanka has a great chance of becoming the table leaders in Group 'B' if they beat South Africa on Monday

Women to emulate men
By Annesley Ferreira
Sri Lanka women in the not so distant past took the headlines in the Asian Region by more having its first women President and Prime Minister. And now they are on the threshold of hitting bigger headlines by winning the Women's World Cup, down for a decision , this year and early next year.

Under the presidency of Gwen Herath they have sewn up a tidy sponsorship with Singer in their quest of emulating their men who won the World Cup under the Captaincy of Arjuna Ranatunge in 1996. Bata has come forward to sponsor their footwear.

Joe-Pete a stalemate
By M. Shamil Amit
Peterites retain the Rev. Fr. Maurice Legoc Trophy. The 69th Battle of the Saints between St. Joseph's and St. Peter's concluded at the P. Sara Stadium yesterday ended in another stalemate draw with no positive approach being made by either sides to enforce a result. An early declaration by the Petes would have made the match more interesting and the slow batting by them killed the game.

The Joes were given an impossible target of 254 runs to be made in 47 overs and the match was called off with seven overs remaining to be bowled. The Petes had a healthy lead of 77 runs and they should have gone for quick runs and make an early declaration and give challenging target to their opponents but when they declared their innings at tea on 176 for 4 the writing was on the wall of an inevitable draw unless something extraordinary took place. But the Joes too were not willing to lose their wickets and played a better game in the second essay.

Play resumed yesterday morning with the Josephians on 138 for 4 hoping to make a reasonable score. But the Peterites made short work dismissing overnight batsman Shamal Warnakula with only two runs added to his score and then Angelo Mathew got himself run out for 61 and the score read 161 for 6. Two more unnecessary run outs within five runs Ranesh Perera for one and Niroshan John for two sent the Joes reeling to 166 for 8. The next two batsmen Rukshan Perera and Rajeew Weerasinghe did not last long and they were bowled out for 178 facing just 13.3 overs in the morning session.

The Peterites openers Dinesh Panditharatne and Prajeev Jansz gave another good start when they went into bat the second time putting on a 43 runs stand before Prajeev was clean bowled by Sandun Dias for 28. They went to lunch at that score. When play resumed after lunch Dinesh and Hans Fernando put a stand of 31 runs for the second wicket when Dinesh was caught behind the wicket by Tharindu Ariyawansa off the bowling of Rajeew Weerasinghe for 25. First innings centurion Gihan de Silva did not last long being caught by Tharindu again off pacie Angelo for one with the score on 83. Samiddha Gallage joined Hans and a partnership between them realised 60 runs when at 143 Angelo took a catch off his own bowling to dimiss Samiddha for 21.

Trinity force a draw
By Shamseer Jaleel
The Inter-School cricket match between Royal and Trinity ended in a draw at Reid Avenue yesterday. Royal continuing from 234 for 6, declared at a huge score of 307 for 9 with skipper Wijeratne scoring 107.

In reply Trinity, taking lease for the second time, batted almost the entire day to finish at 229 for 9. Trinity skipper Clifford Fernando led from the front with a superb 82 and ever reliable and consistent performer Ishan Ratnayake scored 75.

Trinity - 134 (M. Munaweera 52, C. Punchihewa 30; T. Kottehewa 6 for 42) and 229 for 9 at close (Ishan Ratnayake 75, Clifford Fernando 82; H. Morawake 3 for 43).
Royal - 307 for 7 dec. (R. Wijeratne 107, T. Edirimanne 68; H. Mendis 3 for 75, S. Pathirana 2 for 30)

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