a topsy-turvy world
WELL, all it took was the first match _ and now no one can be
quite so certain how the eighth World Cup would turn out. There
was little of that ambiguity in the months preceding last
Sunday's opener. The near-unanimous view was that South Africa
would confront defending champions, Australia, in the March 23
final. That once-popular prediction might well yet become a
fact, but only fools will dare say so at this point of time,
notwithstanding Australia's trouncing of Pakistan.
West Indies' stunning upset of South Africa on the opening night sent
out the statement loud and clear: no team is safe from defeat and the
World Cup is anybody's. Barely 24 hours had elapsed, and Sri Lanka
reconfirmed that message by grounding the high-flying New Zealanders,
who, 72 hours later themselves came off the floor to pummel the West
stuff, really. But it has surely caused bewilderment in the minds of
Jayasuriya's men. The triumph over the Kiwis on Monday had raised
visions of a place in the Super Six Round. But then the Kiwis pull the
rug from under the Windies on Thursday _ and Sri Lanka are no closer
to the next round than they were before the tournament. Had the
Windies won over the Kiwis, as was widely expected, then the outcome
of our match against Hooper's team would have mattered less. But now
it could well decide our destiny.
just how confident would Jayasuriya's men be against the Windies?
The one common factor is that consistency isn't a virtue of
both teams. But where the Windies' confidence may have evaporated, Sri
Lanka's is intact. As at now, each has just one win. It has to be said
the triumph of Jayasuriya's men on Monday isn't quite of the same
magnitude as the Windies' the previous day. After all, defeating the
South Africans on their own patch is quite another thing to overcoming
the Kiwis on neutral ground. But Jayasuriya's men won't see it that
way. In fact, the Kiwis might well have been the South Africans, given
the doubt and frustration brought on by losing 10 of their last 13
one-day internationals, not to speak of the public embarrassment
endured in their quarrel with Board over World Cup payments.
little doubt that defeat at the hands of the Kiwis would've as good as
ended our campaign. Let's presume the outcome had been different
Monday, or more precisely that umpire Mallender agreed with the Kiwis
that Jayasuriya, long before he got into flow, had nicked a catch
behind. In such a situation, it is hard to imagine the Sri Lankans
battling back into reckoning by inflicting defeat on the West Indies
or South Africa. Jayasuriya's men are famed for many things, but
gallantry in adversity is not one of them _ the records show that one
loss sets off a chain of defeats. Against that background, the
compulsion for Sri Lanka to win over the Kiwis was a great deal more
compelling than it was for the Windies.
this, I admit, is hypothesis rendered irrelevant by consequences that
turned out to be opposite of the presumed. But there's no better way
of illustrating the sheer relief Jayasuriya's men brought themselves
by winning Monday.
is now reason for greater optimism. But it is still early days to be
even thinking of a possible repeat of 1996, irresistible though it
might be. And it will be wise to rethink with calmer heads the win
over New Zealand. The Kiwis were a good team to overcome, but not
quite as formidable as made out to be. Why they were feared was due as
much to their remarkable run of successes against India as our own
failures in South Africa and Australia. But frankly, the Kiwis
superiority over the Indians is a touch exaggerated _ so heavily were
the conditions doctored to favour them. Away from their green grass of
home, the Kiwis are less threatening. Their win on Thursday was more a
consequence of the Windies' arrogant bravado than their own
men might have had an atrocious three months in the veldts and
outback, but as far as preparations for the World Cup go, it was the
ideal. As well, it's worth remembering that Sri Lanka has, as a habit,
defeated the Kiwis over the past few years, including the 5/1 swamping
in the 2000-01 season in New Zealand and wins in the triangular,
including India, in Colombo in the 2001-02 season. So, too much
shouldn't be read into Monday's win.
men also won the one-day series convincingly, 3/0, over the West
Indies last year. But the confidence from that success will count for
less when they meet the West Indies on February 28 in Cape Town.
Undoubtedly the Windies will provide a sterner test than the Kiwis
did, especially as they have to recoup Thursday's loss.
course, one-day cricket is dependent much on what happens on the day.
Yet, it is fair to say that the West Indies' batting appears to have
greater depth than Sri Lanka's, albeit the Thursday's self inflicted
capitulation. It is becoming increasingly clear that batsmen will be
more influential than bowlers, as proved by Lara, Jayasuriya and
all scored big 100s, as did Kiwi Styris. Four centuries in the opening
three days is eloquent evidence that the pitches' riches are reserved
for the batsmen.
a competitive total here would be around 270-280; some 20-30 runs more
than most other places.
Sri Lankan batsmen, however, have done little to inspire faith that
they can consistently run up the sort of competitive totals required
in South Africa. They managed 272/7 and though a winning total, it was
not quite what was promised after the priceless 170-run stand between
Jayasuriya and Tillekeratne. A total of 300-plus was realistic after
Jayasuriya was second out at 193 in the 35th over. But
disappointingly, it was again shown that Sri Lanka is a dead duck
unless Jayasuriya delivers the big scores. It is commendable that the
skipper can shoulder such burdens and yet fulfill expectation.
Correspondingly, it is a sorry reflection on the rest, bar
Tillekeratne of course, on Monday and Atapattu most other times.
the blame that his many critics have laid at his door, linking his
failures to the team's defeats, has been horribly unfair.
of the nice guy he is, Jayasuriya wouldn't so much as even say he's
disappointed with his failed batsman on Monday _ Aravinda de Silva,
Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara and Russel Arnold, collectively
worth just 38 runs.
the skipper says: '' We want at least two batsmen to get big scores.
On this occasion it was Hashan and I, others of course chipped in not
with big score. But you have to accept that.''
is misplaced benevolence - the truth is, most of the batting
specialists are falling short of their jobs more frequently than is
excusable. It happened in South Africa in November, in Australia in
December and January. The hope was that the experience would've left
them wiser and would come good in the World Cup. Apparently not. Of
course, failure isn't a deliberate thing, but a reminder that
indispensability is a word not found in the sport's dictionary won't
do any harm _ throw in Jehan Mubarak and Avishka Gunawardena into the
race for places in the middle order. With encounters against
Bangladesh, Kenya, Canada lined up next, a few experimental changes
isn't such a big gamble. As well, the tour management can well keep
some key players under wraps for the games against the minion teams.
Muralitheran, Vaas and even Jayasuriya can alternate the off-day and
so rest body and mind for the more serious battles, against the
Windies on Feb. 28 and South Africa, March 3.
triumph over New Zealand was a significant step forward but the
guarantee of being one of the Super Six teams can come only through a
win over either the Windies or South Africa. And New Zealand losing
out to the host nation _ and minions don't slay giants. One way or the
other, should Jayasuriya's men be among the Super Six that's when the
mountain begins. They take on the best three from Group A _ Australia
for sure and any two from England/India/Pakistan/less likely Zimbabwe.
The journey has only begun.
Senadhira reporting from S. Africa
a boxer is too overconfident, he drops his guard, inviting his
opponent to knock him out if possible. But the underdog in this battle
too is determined to come into the limelight by defeating the supposed
to be, renowned boxer. There are many an occasion that it has become a
reality. Even Mohamed Ali (Cassius Clay) being too over confident,
lost to Leon Spinks as a result of being over confident. By adopting
this policy, many top class boxers have kissed the canvas before the
reference could have counted. Tom, Dick and Harry. The punch that
flows the favourite is called 'The Sucker Punch.'
theory does not apply to boxing only. In any kind of sport, day to day
life I am (or we), the supreme, hardly works.
opening game of the Cricket World Cup 2003 now in progress in South
Africa, between the West Indies and the host, proved this factor. The
South African media on the eve of the curtain raiser, under a banner
heading predicted that the eighth World Cup sans doubt will be a two
sided affair. South Africa and Australia will enter the final and the
so called 'God,' in the international cricket arena, South Africa,
definitely will have the 'World in their Pocket.' They have now become
the "Sucker" who received that unexpected 'Punch' and if
they lose one more game, the proteas definitely will be knocked out in
the first round itself. New Zealand, after their successful ODI series
with India too was certain that Sri Lanka with a poor record in the
recently concluded tours of South Africa and Australia will be easy
meat for them. But the Lions roared again to prove that they are yet
capable of clinching the Cricket World Cup for a second time. Under
the headline 'Make the Corpses Walk' I, predicted that the Lankan
skipper, Sanath Jayasuriya is the only person who could resurrect the
dead Sri Lankan outfit. It happened last Monday in Bloemfontein when
the Lankans scored a convincing victory against New Zealand.
Naturally, the Lankan cricketers morale will be quite high after their
performance in their first battle. The drubbing they received from the
media, in regard to their fanatic obsession for a 'Few More Dollars'
certainly has done a world of good. They are now down to earth. The
Lankan coach, Dav Whatmore in a discussion with The Sunday Leader
after their triumph in the first encounter, said, that the boys were
really nervous before their clash with Kiwis, especially after the
harassing they received from the press in regard to their demand of
the percentage from the World Cup income. But Dav is confident now. He
is sure that the Lankans will first secure a berth in the semi final
and anything can happen thereafter. The South African wickets are much
slower than one expected them to be. The reason for this transition is
the bad weather conditions experienced in every part of South Africa,
by the results of the matches played so far in the Cricket World Cup
2003, the signs are on the wall that the favourites are open to that
'Sucker Punch.' The odds in regard to the colour of the skin are now
in favour of the blacks. Australia certainly will miss the services of
their trump card, Shane Warne, who was dispatched to his 'Green Grass
of Home,' after being detected positive for using a banned drug called
was a pleasure to see the experienced Hashan Tillek- eratne playing a
major role in the Sri Lankans' win with New Zealand. It's high time
that the Lankan middle order batsmen exhibit their skills to support
their skipper. Cricket is a funny game, one should not expect
Jayasuriya to give life to the rest regularly. If the rest give him
the support, the World Cup 2003, without question, will be in the
Lankans' pocket again.
Lanka with their win over Bangladesh on Friday had the consolation of
leading standings in Group B, obtaining full points from the two
the stakes in Group B were made wide open when the New Zealanders had
the better of pre match favourites West Indies.
Friday Lankan seamer Chaminda Vaas continued his knock to be a part of
the new feats in international limited over cricket by claiming an
unprecedented hattrick in the very first over of the Bangladeshi
innings and went on to grab another wicket in the same over.
- SLMCC McFoil Challenge
quiet surroundings of Pannala are shortly to burst into the roar of
revving engines and wheels spinning as the CMSC - SLMCC McFoil
Challenge 2003 kicks off at the Pannala international circuit.
event is scheduled for 22 and 23 February, with practices being held
on Saturday, and racing on Sunday. The event is organized jointly by
two of the oldest motoring clubs - the Ceylon Motor Sports Club and
the Sri Lanka Motor Cycle
Club. McFoil, the new name in motor racing continues their support for
the sport with the sponsorship of this event. A total of 07 races have
been planned, covering motor cars. (Group A M&S and Formula Ford
1600) and motor cycles. According to the organizers over 80 motor car
entries have been handed in to the club, with about 35 motor cycles
also competing for top honours.
McFoil Challenge takes place over three rounds, all to be held at Sri
Lanka's only purpose built racing track at Pannala. Three motor car
events, and two motor cycle events will count to wards the
championship. The championship events for motor cars are Standard,
Group Ford event. For motorcycles, the racing 125 cc and racing 250 cc
events will? towards the championship.
cream of Sri Lanka's motor racing fraternity are all in the running,
as also some newcomers to the fast growing sport. The racing is
scheduled to start at 9am on both days, and the nature of the
track is such that fans should pencil these dates of 22 and 23
February into their diaries as this event promises to be a spectacular
the big names in racing have already sent in their entries, such as
Romani de Silva in the Formula Ford which has attracted 13 entries,
Rohan de Silva who is having some problems of late with his Formula
car should provide stiff opposition not forgetting the super brat
Dejan de Zoysa who gave us an excellent display of driving at
Katukurunda. Others who should thrill the crowds are Dinesh
Deheragoda who has shown consistency in the Super car event.
Aravinda Premadasa is hard at work trying to sort out his Subaru and
should give Dinesh a hard fight.
motor cycle events will be hotly
contested between Damien Goonetilleke Feroze Omar, Maduranga
Caldera and a host of other riders.
Citizens bridge tourney
Sri Lanka Association of senior Citizens will conduct it's annual All
- Island Senior Citizens Bridge Tournament on Sunday, 2 March at the
G.O.H.Colombo, commencing at 2 p.m. Only players over the age of 50
will be eligible to compete
in the tournament.
other games such as Rummy, 304,
Scrabble, Mahjong and Tombola will also be played, so as to provide
entertainment for a
wider circle of participants.
priced at Rs. 400/- could be purchased from Mrs. Nimal Gunasekara,
12/1, Plam Grove, Colombo 03.
: 573311, or Mrs Indrani Atulorale, 102/1 Dharmapala Mw. Colombo 7.
Phone : 696993
football fraternity of the country, will appeal to Manilal Fernando
to withdraw his resignation and come back to the poor man's
game of football. Today without Manilal there won't be football.
Fernendo is the man who has done the best for the game, of football,
in the country, and today a certain section of the media
attacks him - the people who have done nothing for sports.
to our poor memory, many may have forgotten the glorious moments of
Sri Lanka football under Manilal.
news, of Manilal's resignation from football has put most of the
football and administrations on the mat. Most of them will assemble
today at the Football House and if Manilal does not
come back most them will get out of football.
in our country, there is a set people who
only know to talk bad, they don't allow anyone to do a good job
of work. Our country has gone to the dogs due to cut throatism and
undercutting. The day this stops, then one can see results.
Fernando is one of the
most respected persons in the football scene not only in Sri Lanka but
also in the entire world where football is played. He is the first man
to become the AFC Vice President from Sri Lanka, and due to his clean
work he was appointed as the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the
AFC and a committee member of the FIFA.
was only after Manilal came in, the game got off to its best. During
his tenure in office, he has done his best and has spent lavishly.
Without him the game of football will be no where.
one talks about football, it is Manilal who gave the flip up for the
sport and today due to Manilal's effort the game, the player and the
administration feel good. In addition he has given a big helping hand
to many leagues, clubs and schools. There are some leagues and clubs
that are totally dependent on him to stay in the game. Today champion
clubs in FFSL tournarnents gets fabulous cash awards.
all the necessary facilities, the Baddegana football training centre
& sports complex work is on the way.
there is nothing called a favourite club or league, for whoever who
promotes football is a friend and be will give whatever possible
support to uplift the game.
are a few people who failed to do a good job, keep on attacking this
gentleman who does something for the sport. Why don't the EXCO of the
FFSL get- together and fight for this great man? After Manilal took
over only the coaches, referees, players and administrators got a
break in AFC and FIFA.
all representatives of leagues will meet and appeal to Manilal to come
back to the sport, They are also hoping to write to the prime minister
on this matter.
all football lovers, when the history of football is recorded, the
name of Manilal Fernando will stand alongside as the greatest
administrator this country has seen, although his style of leadership
is different from the rest.
the king maker of football, come back. There won't be football without
Peters College making a strong challenge for league title honours took
control by close of play on day one at Bambalapitiya in their
encounter against St. Anthonys College, Katugastota.
Anthonys: 96 all out.
Wijetunge 6 for 49, N.De. S. Wijeratne 4 for 32).
Peters: 224 for 7 wickets at close.
Randika 49 n.o., G.De Silva 37, S. Gallage 30, T.De Silva 2 for 72).
on a run spree
Sebastians College went on a run spree at Moratuwa on Friday against
St. Sylvesters College who were in trouble by close of play losing
three quick wickets.
St. Sebastians 335 for 5 wickets Dec.
Perera 101 n.o., N. Silva 67, T. Peiris 65, S. Cooray 40).
Sylesters: 32 for 3 wickets at close.
Abeydheera 2 for 3).
College laid a strong foorting to notch an outright victory over
Wesley College by close of play on Friday at Reid Avenue. Royal have
already obtained first innings points.
Wesley 121 all out.
Maharoof 66, K. Seneviratne 20, T. KOttahewa 5 for 39, P. Jayaprakash
4 for 25).
142 for 3 wickets at close.
Seneviratne 51, V. Arunprakash 35, R. Wijeratne 21, F. Maharoof 2 for
game at Ananda Mawatha
Ananda - St. Benedict's game ended in a no-decision on Friday due to
interruption of play by rain. Skipper Jeremy Saverimuttupillai shone
for the Benedictines with an all round performance.
St. Benedict's 83/4 o/n 192 all out.
Saverimuttupillai 72, L. Jayampathy 29).
145 for 7 at close.
Botheju 58, J. Saverimuttupillai 3 for 43).
warms up for Tiger with classic display
Australia (Reuters) - Ernie Els ignored thoughts of a long-awaited
showdown later this month with Tiger Woods after moving four strokes
clear of the field at the halfway mark of the Johnnie Walker Classic
continued his domination of the tournament, adding a seven-under-par
65 to Thursday's opening 64 on the Lake Karrinyup course in Perth.
South African, chasing his fourth win in five starts this year, carded
an eagle and six birdies and for a second day running played the
inward half of the Western Australia course in a seven-under-par 29.
is only returning to action this week in the Buick Invitational on the
U.S. tour after end-of-season knee surgery while Els has set the golf
world alight with his string of wins which followed victory in his
last event of 2002, the Sun City Challenge.
began his round on Friday at eight under par and three strokes behind
England's Greg Owen and Australian Robert Allenby, who had completed
their rounds after starting in the morning half of the draw.
was in trouble at the par-five third hole taking the only bogey of his
round when he put his second shot into a water hazard.
birdied the seventh hole to move back to eight under par before an
astonishing five holes when he birdied four holes in succession from
the 11th and then capped the streak by sinking a 24-foot eagle putt at
the par-five 15th.
remarkable birdie at the final hole from 33 feet capped a memorable
day for the world number two.
- Ryde Gold Medallist
awards were made to following sportsmen of Trinity College at their
annual prize giving held on Friday at the school hall.
Maddumapatabendi, the rugger captain for the year 2003 received the
Ruggerite of the Year 2002 and also received the highest award at
Trinity College - the 'Ryde Gold Medal.'
Gamage received the best cricketers award, R.L. Joseph, the best
hockey player, and S. Halangoda, the best swimmer.
joins 6000 club
internationals (including 14/02/2003)
- 182, I - 180, no - 22, Runs - 6039 HS - 132*
- 38.22, SR - 67.12, 100 - 8, 50 - 45, Ct - 50
drops legal threat against Aussies
wicketkeeper Rashid Latif withdrew a threat to sue the Australia team
on Thursday after they had accused him of making a racist remark.
was cleared of the charge after Australia's 82-run win over Pakistan
in their World Cup Group A match on Tuesday.
referee Clive Lloyd said there had not been sufficient evidence to
prove the allegation.
reports on Wednesday said Latif, who was accused of making a remark to
wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, was considering legal action.
the player told Reuters on Thursday: "I have had second thoughts
about the whole affair and decided not to pursue this matter.
have cooled down. I was unhappy about being accused but this could
harm the game and the World Cup, and I have always had good relations
Pakistan team manager Shaharyar Khan had said: "For the Pakistan
Cricket Board and the Pakistan cricket management, the matter is
are satisfied with the match referee's decision. If Rashid Latif was
to pursue legal action, he will do it in a personal capacity."
Junior O.B.U. of Thurstan
College will be organizing a unity block at the 40th cricket encounter
between Thurstan and Isisipathana. This will be held on February 22 at
the S.S.C. Grounds from 9.30 a.m. onwards.
Music, DJ s, A kiddies corner with wonder clown, BBQ, beer garden,
food stalls, raffle draws, best
flag competition and many more fun-filled events are planned
throughout the day.
past students of Thurstan and Isipathana along with their families and
well - wishers are welcome.