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The Sri Lankan cricket team - world champions last year but thrashed by lowly placed New Zealand in the test series this month - are reported to be in disarray with team spirit at its lowest ebb amidst growing calls for major changes, a highly placed Cricket Board official said.
The official, who did not wish to be identifed, said the breaking- point was Sri Lanka's pathetic performance in the second test, where blunders and arbitrary decisions sent the team plunging to another bad defeat.
He said it was obvious that serious divisions had emerged in the team especially in the last test where it was noted that little consultation was made during vital stages of the match.
It is also alleged that for reasons other than merit Sri Lanka's top strike paceman Chaminda Vaas was heavily underbowled. When the New Zealand last pair was holding on and making vital runs in the second innings it was obvious that Vaas should have been brought on.
But the move was delayed and vital runs were given. As soon as Vaas was brought on, he broke the partnership.
Contributions by senior players on the field in decision-making were rarely seen. Not surprisingly the team performed far below expectations, against a side that was battered by an ailing English team, he pointed out.
Among the obvious errors in judgement were that Sri Lanka went into the second test with three left arm medium pacers when even the host side had only two pacers. With the wicket taking spin from the very first day it was quite obvious that the tour selectors had misread the nature of the wicket, he said.
Marvan Atapattu who was groomed for the No. 3 slot for the tour was asked to carry the towel after his failure in the first test. Instead of giving the talented youngster another chance to restore his confidence. Marvan was dumped again .To compound the errors Hashan Tillekeratne was drafted into the No.3 slot, a position the left hander was never comfortable at, as he had failed on many occasions. Hashan failed again and to make matters worse the middle order which is usually held firmly by Hashan crumbled without much resistance, the official said.
The Sunday Times learns that some senior players were disappointed over the manner Chaminda Vaas was handled during the second test.
After being instrumental in Lanka's previous success in New Zealand and capturing six wickets in the tour opener (including a hat-trick) Vaas was used sparingly and only as a back-up bowler to debutante Nuwan Zoysa. Lanka's spearhead in the recent years, Vaas himself was perplexed at the end of the test, and was left weeping as to why he was underbowled.
The selection of Pramodya Wickremasinghe and Dulip Samaraweera for the tour has also raised questions. Wickremasinghe has failed to live upto expectations but surprisingly gets the nod for every tour. Even with a relatively poor domestic season Dulip Samaraweera found himself in the tour party. Not surprisingly he returned without playing a single test.
Amidst this crisis and controversy, the term of the present cricket selectors is due to expire this month. The Sunday Times learns that at least two of the selectors have indicated they do not wish to continue anymore in the wake of reports that the selectors had come under some undue pressure from powerful elements.
The official said it was his view that if Sri Lanka hoped to do better during the heavy international schedule this year, team work and team spirit must be restored before anything else.
While acknowledging that Ranatunga had done much for Sri Lankan cricket and everyone was grateful to him, the official said it appeared that fresh thinking was needed allround.
Meanwhile Cricket Board Chief Upali Dharmadasa and Vice President Thilanga Sumathipala have flown to Malaysia for an ICC meeting and there is speculation that one or both of them might fly to New Zealand in a bid to sort things out.
Cricket Board Chief Executive Dhammika Ranatunga when contacted by the Sunday Times regarding reports of a major split in the team said that there was no firm base for such reports.
He said he was in regular contact with Arjuna, Manager Duleep Mendis and coach Bruce Yardley and none of them had spoken of any major problems.
Kuala Lumpur - Israel will make an unprecedented sporting appearance here when they compete in the 21-day International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy starting next week. Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar said that the inclusion of Israel, which has no diplomatic ties with predominantly Muslim Malaysia, was a condition for holding the tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
"This was explained to the relevant Malaysian authorities and the MCA sought and obtained official permission for the fielding of the Israeli team", Tunku Imran was quoted as saying by Bernama, the national news agency. Malaysia has no diplomatic ties with Israel but has limited trade relations.
Israel took part in the 1972 Asian Games inTeheran, but was subsequently included in the European zone for international sporting events.
League champions St. Sebastian's College Moratuwa, led by Sri Lanka's Youth captain Nimesh Perera, will be looking to complete a grand double when they go in as firm favourites in this year's Coca-Cola Bottler's Trophy Inter-School knock-out Cricket tournament. This competition is conducted by the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association and is being sponsored by Pure Beverages Co. Ltd.
Eighteen teams from A Division, ten teams from B Div. and four teams from C Div. will make up the list for this year's tournament. The competition will commence with the quarter-final stage from March 26 to 29. The quarter-finals will be on April 1 and the semi-finals will be on April 3 and the final has been fixed for April 6.
AUCKLAND, Saturday (Reuter) - Rain forced the postponement of Saturday's opening one-day cricket international between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at Auckland's Eden Park.
The match will be played on Sunday if the weather is fine. Sustained rain left large puddles on the outfield and umpires Doug Cowie and Brent Bowden, both of Auckland, announced "no play today" 75 minutes after the scheduled start time of 10 a.m. (2200 GMT)
The second game in the three-match series will be played in Christchurch on Tuesday with the third in Wellington on Thursday.
PRETORIA, - Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy claimed his 300th test victim but his side had little else to celebrate at the start of the second day of the third and final cricket test match against South Africa at Centurion Park on Saturday.
Healy took a routine catch to dismiss Gary Kirsten off the bowling of Glenn McGrath but that was Australia's only breakthrough as South Africa cautiously edged their way to 58 for one at lunch. Australia were bowled out for 227 on Friday.
It was Healy's 280th catch — he also has 20 stumpings — in his 88th test and moves him closer to the world record of 355 victims held by compatriot Rod Marsh.
Kirsten's poor run of form continued as he pushed forward in the 15th over to a ball which just held its own against the left hander.
Kirsten scored a century in each innings against India at Calcutta at the start of the season but has failed against Australia. His 16 runs here took his series aggregate to just 76 in five innings.
South Africa's batsmen had been criticised for giving their wickets away with loose shots in the first two tests but opener Adam Bacher showed a more patient approach in taking 50 minutes to get off the mark.
He did so with a sumptuous pull for four off Greg Blewett but then retreated back into his shell and had made just 20 at lunch.
Brian McMillan, promoted up the order to fill South Africa's problem number three position, was struck on the helmet by a Jason Gillespie bouncer but hooked the following ball for four. He had reached 19 at the interval.
Australia have already won the series with victories in the first two tests.
HONG KONG, - Deja vu was the theme on Saturday, the second day of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong, as bemused sportslovers watched what looked suspiciously like a repeat of the previous day's games.
Thanks to the seedings system adopted at the tournament, New Zealand, who trounced Japan on Friday had a second chance at Japan, while Wales met Namibia again. France again faced the United States team, England played Canada once more and Australia met Scotland for the second day in a row.
Off the pitch there was more originality, with the usual assembly of colour and costume that characterises the annual Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, which has been incorporated into the 1997 Rugby World Cup Sevens.
The streaker obliged yet again with an appearance in the afternoon, an unusually stubbly-looking nun paraded the terrace and three Elvis Presley lookalikes strutted in the stand.
Hong Kong's future leader Tung Chee-hwa made a fleeting visit to the tournament in the morning to award medals to junior rugby players.
Tung will step into the shoes of British Governor Chris Patten at midnight on June 30, when the territory reverts to China after more than 150 years of British rule.
TURIN, Italy, Saturday - The world governing body of athletics has said it will not challenge two-year bans handed to athletes from countries whose national laws do not allow more severe sanctions for doping offences.
The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Council said athletes from countries who only permit two-year bans, will be reinstated for competition after that period under the IAAF's "exceptional circumstances" rule.
BANGKOK, Thailand's Rattanpol Sor Vorapin retained his International Boxing Federation (IBF) mini-flyweight title on Saturday when he stopped Colombian challenger Luis Doria in the fourth round of the scheduled 12-round bout.
The record held by Aslam Sattar at the Kotmale Hill Climb of 54.05 seconds will be at stake when the Upcountry Motor Sports Club conducts its Kotmale Speed Hill Climb on Sunday March 30.
The tussle for supremacy will see 75 four wheelers and 25 two wheelers in the fray. Rohan de Silva and Shanaka Ambrose will no doubt go all out to record the fastest timing going by their performances at last week's Karandupona Speed Hill Climb.
The other drivers who will also stake a claim are, Nihal Weerasinghe, Suranjith Premadasa, and his son Aravinda, Bri Ponnambalam, Yoga Perera, Upul Perera, Reyaz Farook, the Kavikara brothers, Pradeep. Praneeth and Gamini, Dhammika Perera, Henry Madanayake, M. G. Piyadasa and Thejasiri Gunatilleka.
Among the riders to excel will be Ruwan and Prabath Peiris, Damien Gunatileka, Jeffrey Buultjens, Duane Gunawardena, Udesh Wedasinghe and Adrian Simon.
In all ten car events will be worked off and five events for bikes.
These championships will be sponsored by Caltex, Mobil, Tharangini Garments, Goldwing and Nico Batteries with the proceeds being given to the Defence Fund while a few disabled soldiers in the area will be presented with gifts.
The driver or rider recording the fastest time of the day will be awarded the General Anuruddha Ratwatte challenge trophy, while awards will be given to fastest car and bike participant too including one for the lady driver.
Other than the organisers, the Upcountry Motor Sports Club, the Army and Mahaweli Authority will be giving a helping hand too.
Entries will close on Thursday March 20 at 292, Galle Road (third Floor) Colombo 4 or at 8/5, Sangaraja Mawatha, Kandy.This year's Radella Hill Climb conducted by the Sri Lanka Association for Racing Drivers and Riders (SLARDAR) will see the Modified and Turbo Cars and Racing bikes as a drawcard.
This event will be held on April 16 during the Nuwara-Eliya Festive season at the Somerset Estate, Radella.
Practices will be held on April 15th for the grid positions.A special feature of this hill climb is that a challenge trophy will be awarded for the fastest car and bike.The entry forms are available at the Park & Shop, 128, High Level Road, Nugegoda and will close on March 26 at 5 p.m. (AF)
There is a strong possibility of one of Australia's greatest women athletes, Cathy Freeman, racing in Sri Lanka.
Freeman is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on a goodwill tour organised by the Australia-Sri Lanka Friendship Association with a view to further cement the bonds of fellowship between the two countries.
Sri Lanka's top sprinters Susanthika Jayasinghe and Damayanthi Darsha will be given a lot of competition when Freeman runs in Sri Lanka.
A musical show has been organised in Australia to collect funds to send Freeman to Sri Lanka. Freeman won a silver at the Atlanta Olympics in the 400 metres and is currently training for the World Championships to be held in Greece in August.
Sri Lankan born leg spinner, Savith Kuruppuarachchi helped his club Esternwick CC beat Carnegie South CC by capturing 5 wickets for 13 runs in their Victorian District inter club under -12 semi-final match played at Packer Park, Melbourne.
Kuruppuarachchi ended with figures of 9 overs, 4 maidens, 13 runs 5 wickets. He has taken 16 wickets for the 1996/97 season.
Scores: Esternwick CC 142 all out in 40 overs. (Will Granger 38 not out, David Liggard 33). Carneigie South CC -106 all out in 38 overs. (Savith Kuruppuarachchi 5 for 13.) (AF)
Barcelona IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch on Friday said he opposed paying athletes to participate at the Olympics and expressed doubts over the effectiveness of pre-competition doping tests, just introduced into cycling.
Samaranch made clear he still believed in the Games' amateur vocation as he decried the IAAF's decision to award event winners and those setting new world records 50,000 dollars a time at last week's world indoor athletics championships in Paris.
"If the athletics world thinks that paying athletes money is a good means of promoting the sport then that is their business," Samaranch commented icily.
But athletes in contrast participate in the Olympics "because it is an honour to take part in the world's most important sporting occasion," he claimed.
On the question of pre-race haemoglobin tests for drug taking, recently introduced by the International Cycling Union (UCI), Samaranch told reporters he believed it was "too early to apply" such a measure.
"The UCI, which is no stranger to the doping problem, deserves our praise for taking this measure, but I hope it does not run into legal problems in applying it", he said.
The tests are designed to deter the use of EPO, or erythropoietin, a drug produced to treat kidney desease and use to increase oxygen-carrying red blood cell levels which improve endurance.They were introduced at the request of riders at the end of January as part of the fight against the use of EPO in the sport.
Sri Pangnananda College (formerly Raddoluwa MV) beat Carey College by an innings, and drew their other matches with President's College Kotte, Sri Rahula Kandy, Maliyadeva Kurunegala and Kalutara MV.
Given below are the results of these matches.
1) vs. Carey College Colombo at the Health Grounds, Colombo 8.Sri Pangnananda College won by innings and 128 runs. <.P>
Carey College: 53 all out (V. Saumya 15, Sanjeewa Arangalla 6 for 12, S.C. Paris 2 for 20) and 139 all out (J. Yohan 26, V. Bandara 23, M.D. Seneviratne 36 not out, K.A. Perera 4 for 30, C. Kulasinghe 2 for 30, S. Ratnapala 2 for 23.)
Sri Pangnananda College: 320 for 7 decl. (D.A. Chamara 32, Sean Mackay 42, S. Arangalla 20, A. Ganwarige 57, K.A. Perera 111 not out, A. Suranga 5 for 94, N. Sivananda 2 for 112).
2) vs. President's College, Kotte at Ananda Sastralaya College Grounds.Match Drawn - No time for Sri Pangnananda to bat.
President's College: 140 all out (H. Perera 26, A. Gunawardena 32, P. Chamara 22, S. Arangalla 3 for 29, S.S. Ratnapala 4 for 36, S. Kulasinghe 2 for 30) and 215 all out (S. Kumara 50, A. Gunawardena 41, C. Jayasanka 56, P. Chamara 23, S. Arangalla 3 for 62, S. Paris 2 for 19, S.S. Ratnapala 3 for 75, C. Kulasinghe 2 for 38)
Sri Pangnananda College: 244 for 8 wkts. decl. (D.A. Chamara 22, Sean Mackay 21, R. Tennekoon 76, K.A. Perera 38, A R. Ganwarige 43, R. Sampath 3 for 62, P. Chamara 3 for 33) and 18 for 1 wkt. in 2 overs (S. Mackay 15).
3). vs. Sri Rahula College, Kandy at Raddoluwa Match Drawn - No time for Sri Pangnananda to bat a second time,
Sri Pangnananda College 332 for 9 wkts. decl. (Isuru Fernando 52, A. Ganwarige 66, S. Arangalla 83, K.A. Perera 33, S. Ratnapala 28, N. Pannila Vithanage 31 not out, N. Dissanayake 3 for 65, C. Wijeratne 2 for 37).
Sri Rahula College: 170 all out (M. Bogahalanda (53) G. Bandara 25, S. Bandara 36, S. Arangalla 2 for 26, S. Paris 3 for 17, N. Pannilavithanage 2 for 36) and 186 all out (G. Piyadigama 22, G. Bandara 97, S. Arangalla 5 for 55, S. Paris 4 for 37).
4) vs. Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala at Kurunegala. - Match Drawn.
Maliyadeva College: 274 for 8 wkts. decl. ( A. Basnayake 108, D. Hunukumbura 28, D. Gunawardena 35, I. Silva 20, S. Kahatapitigama 34 not out, K.A. Perera 3 for 95, S.S. Ratnapala 2 for 55) and 187 for 5 wkts. (S. Malmeewala 30, I. Silva 47, D. Gunawardena 61, K. A. Perera 2 for 39) Sri Pangnananda College: 213 for 9 wkts. decl. (D.A. Chamara 39, Isuru Fernando 25, R. Tennekoon 30, S.S. Ratnapala 50, G. Samarawickreme 2 for 34, C. Piyaratne 3 for 32, S. Malmeewala 2 for 47, G. Dissanayake 2 for 23)
5) vs. Kalutara Vidyalaya at Air Force grounds Katunayake.Match Drawn.
Sri Pangnananda College 143 all out ( A. Ganwarige 58, P. Siyambalagoda 2 for 33, T. Abeyratne 5 for 27, M. Bandara 2 for 19) and 145 for 7 wkts (D. A. Chamara 29, Isuru Fernando 27, K.A. Perera 24 not out, T. Abeyratne 2 for 42, M. Bandara 3 for 21).
Kalutara Vidyalaya: 135 all out ( P.Siyambalagoda 25, J. Chamara 31, T. Hettiarachchi 27 not out, D. A. Marage 5 for 24).
Lanka Cavaliers, the newly formed over-40 cricket team scored their third consecutive win against a strong Invitation X1 in a limited overs game played at the Asgiriya Stadium.
The match was organised by Old Trinitians Sports Club.
Lanka Cavaliers led by Jayantha Seneviratne in the absence of Bandula Warnapura got off to an aggressive start reaching their first 50 in just 4 overs with opener C.P.P. Raj, the former Antonian, scoring a flamboyant 44 runs with a six and 7 fours.
The Cavaliers scored 192 for 3 in their 30 overs supported by Bandula de Silva who scored an entertaining 73 which included 2 sixes and 8 fours, while Dushan Soza scored 33 not out with a six and 2 fours. Jerry Wourtesz had a good double chipping in with 23 runs with 4 fours, and taking 2 wickets for 22 runs.
The Old Trinitians Sports Club Invitation X1 lost their first 2 wickets cheaply for only 10 runs succumbing to the pace of Lantra Fernando. Thereafter wickets fell at regular intervals with Jerry Wourtesz, S. Illangaratnam, K.H. Nandasena and Basil Perera being among the wickets.
They managed only 140 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 30 overs with S. Liyanage (39), R. Gunawardena 25 and G. Bandara unbeaten on 27 offering the only resistance. (AF)
Queens Club bagged five titles in the Inter Club Doubles tennis tournament 1997, by winning the men's division 1 defeating SSC A and veterans men's over 35, 45, 55 and 65 titles too, in the tourney conducted by the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) at its courts at the National Tennis Centre at Greenpath.
In the Veterans over-35 final, Queens C beat SSC F, over 45 - Queens I beat Cosmos Dehiwela, over 55 Queens K beat SSC H and over - 65 Queens L beat Otters M. In the women's final SLTA playing Section beat Queens M.
SSC B beat Queens B to win the division 2 title while SLTA B playing Section beat University A, in the division 3 final, Ananda A beat Negombo A in the division 4 final, NOC A beat SSC D in the division 5 final, Navy beat Panadura RC in the division 6 final and De Mazenod beat Ananda F in the division 7 final. (AF)
The 1997 Milo Inter-Schools rugby matches will get underway on April 19 with the league championships to be completed by June 30, conducted by the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Association.
The A Division under-19, league championships have been divided into three groups: Group A - Isipatana, St. Anthony's Kandy, Dharmaraja, Thurstan, St. Joseph's, Maliyadewa, D. S. Senanayake.
Group B - St. Peter's, Trinity, Lumbini MV, Wesley, Zahira, Science College, Vidyartha. Group C - S. Thomas', Ananda, Kingswood, Royal, Nalanda, Mahanama, St. Anne's, St. Sylvester's.
Under 19, Division 2.
Group A - Sri Sumangala Kandy, St. Aloysius Maliyadeva Model School, Prince of Wales, Ananda Sastralaya, Royal Panadura, St. Anthony's Wattala.
Group B - Richmond, St. Benedict's, St. Thomas' Matale, Sri Rahula, Carey, Mahinda and St. John's Nugegoda.
The top three teams from each group will qualify for the Mini League tournament.(AF)
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