30th August 1998
Arvinda reaches 5000
Sanath, Aravinda set Oval ablaze
Marlon Fernandopulle reporting from England
'I came good when it mattered most' - Sanath
Opener Sanath Jayasuriya smashed a crackerjack double hundred and vice captain Aravinda De Silva a majestic century as Sri Lanaka provided a sparkling exhibition of entertaining strokeplay to reach a commanding 446 for three wickets at the end of the third day of the one off Test against England at the Oval yesterday.
After a pedestrian start in the first two days of the Test, Sri Lanka provided the ignition on the third day with Jayasuriya and De Silva treating the acclaimed England attack with scant respect. Gough, Fraser and Cork had accounted for 59 wickets against the South Africans in the five Tests and had their tails up but they were cut down to size by the powerful hitting of Jayasuriya and the flambouyance of De Silva.
Jayasuriya compensated for a lean tour by his standard to reach his fifth Test century in only 124 balls even before some of the spectators settled down in their seats. He underlined his reputation not only as the most feared batsman in the one-day game but an equally potent force in Tests. Attacking with the conviction born of quick reflexes and a splendid eye, Jayasuriya treated the capacity Oval crowd to some exhilarating cricket rarely seen in Tests on English soil. His square cuts off the back foot and drives off the front foot rocketed to the ropes that left fielders unmoved.
Vice captain De Silva was once again a picture of class. His wristy deflections and classic footwork underlined his growing reputation as on of the best batsmen in the world today. As always De Silva's concentration was intense, technique perfect and timing precise. He reached his half century in 87 balls striking eight boundaries as the Lankans were heading for a commanding first innings total.
The pair flayed the English attack to put on 100 runs in only 119 balls as Alec Stewart was running short of options. The introduction of Salisbury slowed down the proceedings to a certain extent, mainly due to the leg spinner's ability to make the batsmen play shots difficult.
However after Jayasuriya reached his century the opener buckled down to play a more subdued innings. But after giving the England bowlers some relief the left hander once again got into his devastating from sending England on a leather hunt. He reached his second double hundred in Tests, the sixth by a Sri Lankan in 254 balls.
Aravinda de Silva also followed his partner to be more cautions but again only for a short period as the right hander relished the ordinary bowling to unleash his exquisite repertoire of strokes.
England finally saw the back of Jayasuriya when the batsman attempted a pull off a short delivery from Hollioake, only to edge and give Stewart the catch.
Jayasuriya dug in for 346 minutes, faced 327 balls hitting 33 fours and a six for his star studded 213. The left hander received a standing ovation from the Oval crowd and the applause from the England players who breathed a sigh of relief as he walked back the pavilion. Jayasuriya's liaison with De Silva was worth 243 runs and a new Lankan record for the third wicket eclipsing the previous best of 218 held by the same pair against India in 1997.
De Silva continued to put the England attack to the sword and underlined the excellence of the pitch by scoring the fourth century in the match. It was the 17th time he crossed the three figure mark and took him past 5000 runs in Tests.
At the close, De Silva was on 125 and Ranatunga on 50, his 33rd half century as Sri Lanka took full control and were on course for the 19,000 Sterling Pounds offered for the winners of the match.
England's only success in the morning was that of Mahela Jayawardene who attempted to drive a near wide delivery from Fraser and edged to Hollioake at gully who completed a fine catch.
Earlier opener Sanath Jayasuriya (113 n.o. ) and vice captain Aravinda De Silva (47 n.o.) provided a sparkling exhibition of strokeplay as Sri Lanka reached an imposing 192 for two wickets at lunch.
After a slow start in the first two days, Sri Lanka provided the fireworks on the third day with Jayasuriya and De Silva treating England attack with scant respect. Gough, Fraser and Cork had accounted for 59 wickets against the South Africans and were cut down to size by the powerful hitting of Jaysuriya and the flamboyance of De Silva.
Jayasuriya compensated for a lean tour by his standards to reach his fifth Test century in only 124 balls. He smacked 18 boundaries and underlined his reputation not only as the most feared batsmen in the one day game but an equally potent force in Tests as well. Attacking with the conviction born of quick reflexes and a splendid eye, Jayasuriya treated the capacity Oval crowd to some exhilarating cricket rarely seen in Tests on English soil. His square cuts off the back foot and drives off the front foot rocketed to the ropes leaving fielders unmoved.
By Annesley Ferreira
Wonder girl Susanthika Jayasinghe back on the track after emerging triumphant from doping charges will conduct a time trial on her own with her coach within the next few days before deciding whether to compete in the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
The controversial superstar, who was informed last Monday that the five-month suspension on her had been lifted with immediate effect, told The Sunday Times she would announce her decision by Thursday if she felt her timing was good enough to go for a gold at the Commonwealth Games.
The Amateur Athletics Association of Sri Lanka has filed a late entry for Susanthika to compete in the 100 and 200 meter sprints of the 54 Nation Games, beginning in Kuala Lumpur on September 10.
Although the local controlling body is ready to send Susanthika, the athlete herself says she has gone through much pain of mind during the past 10 months and her training schedule has also been disrupted.
Even last week training facilities were denied to her at the Sugathadasa Stadium which has the only international track in Sri Lanka. For these reasons and others, Susanthika feels she must be certain about her fitness in body and mind before she agrees to commit herself to go for a Commonwealth sprint gold which would be Sri Lanka's first gold medal in athletics at these games since the Legendary Duncan White struck gold 48 years ago.
The Warakapola rocket who won seven Asian gold medals before soaring to international fame by winning a silver medal at last year's World Games in Athens, was suspended by the AAA on April 1 after the association claimed two random off-season dope tests conducted on her had proved positive.
Susanthika strongly challenged the findings, claiming her urine samples had been tampered with and not properly tested.
She said the false dope charge was part of a conspiracy to ruin her career, largely because she had accused a VIP at the Sports Ministry of sexually harassing her. On an appeal made by Susanthika, the AAA appointed a committee of experts to review the drug charge. By a majority vote, the committee recently cleared Susanthika of the drugs charge and the local AAA in consultation with the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) announced last Monday the suspension on Susanthika was being lifted immediately.
In the afterglow of her triumph which she said was as good as winning a gold medal, Susanthika said the truth had prevailed and the Gods had proved her innocence . She expressed gratitude to her two lawyers, Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the independent media, especially The Sunday Times for standing by her in her moment of crisis.
AAA Secretary Rohan Amarasinghe clarifying the position said they had sought guidance from the IAAF before lifting the suspension.
In response to the AAA's request for guidance, the IAAF's chief doping officer, F. Dole, has sent a fax outlining the position. He states:
"In essence you have asked me for guidelines as to what the AAA of Sri Lanka should do now in relation to this case. IAAF rules on this subject are very clear. An athlete is suspended under IAAF rules until such time as the hearing determines that an athlete has committed a doping offence or has not.
If the hearing decides that an athlete has committed an offence, he/she is declared ineligible for the relevant period under IAAF rules. If however, a hearing determines a doping offence has not been committed, the suspension ceases and the athlete is automatically re-eligible for competition from the date the relevant tribunal of the National Federation reaches this decision.
Therefore, I think there are no further steps to be taken by the AAA of Sri Lanka at this time other than inform the athlete she is free to compete.
"There is however a further step to be taken in accordance with the IAAF Rule 21.3 (11). If the IAAF itself believes that the hearing panel of the AAA of Sri Lanka has misdirected itself or otherwise reached an erroneous conclusion in Miss. Jayasinghe' case, it may refer the matter for a rehearing to the IAAF's Arbitration Panel.
"Therefore, although I suggest that this is the end of the matter at national level the matter may still be raised by the IAAF at International level if it considers it appropriate.
If the IAAF does decide to refer the matter to the arbitration panel for a decision, the athlete is free to compete pending such a decision. If the IAAF arbitration panel reaches the decision the athlete did commit doping offence, a period of ineligibility may begin from that time."
Susanthika herself expressed fears on Monday that the controversy or the plot against her is not over. She voiced concern that the powerful forces against her might now look for other means to block her in her tracks.
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