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17th November,  2006  Volume 13, Issue  23

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    

Sports

samat on sunday

It needs more than a trio to win

Sangakkara and Mahela during their record breaking world record stand against South Africa here

THERE'S cause for despair over the calamity that befell Sri Lanka in the Christchurch Test last weekend. In frigid home conditions, New Zealand , admittedly, are twice as strong as they would be in any other part of the world, a fact all Test countries without exception have been painfully made aware of.

The first Test is especially difficult, with the visitors yet in the throes of acclimatising to near Antarctic conditions. Jayewardene's team had just one four-day game prior to the opening Test. So, frankly, the Christchurch defeat was half-expected. But to have conceded it in a shade over half the prescribed duration of a Test match gives the loss quite another perspective. Such swift dispose normally speaks of a mismatch so enormous that the future of the series is as good as rendered redundant. After all, it's only logical to question the capability of a team to endure the full five days when barely a week ago it managed to survive only about half that time.

But rationality is as frequent a visitor to cricket as irrationality is - and which one of them visits the second Test in Wellington is unknown at the time of this writing. The obvious indication, however, is that the prospects of Sri Lanka achieving parity in the series looks remote.

A closer examination though, of the Christchurch defeat suggests the Sri Lankan cause might not be as forlorn as it seems. Jayewardene's men as recent as last July were in somewhat a similar situation. They lost the second Test by six wickets to give England 1/0 lead, but then gloriously turned things round to square the three-Test series and go on to make a clean sweep of the five ODI's. as well. So, they'll believe in their mental fortitude and strive to repeat the deeds of last July again.

The point to make here is, one defeat is not likely to wipe away the confidence acquired from the successes in England and the succeeding 2/0 whitewash of the South Africans. So, the team's morale won't be impaired in the way the defeat in two-and-half-days might suggest.

If you can forget the briefness of the Christchurch Test, then it is not wrong to say that it was a closely run thing. The Kiwis of course were destined to win, given a less than modest target of 119 runs. Yet it was anything but a stroll to the finish-line. In fact, there was a moment when New Zealand chances were in doubt as they stumbled to 68/4 - and Muralidaran threatening. In the end though, 119 was indefensible. But to have claimed six wickets in what was always going to be an exercise in futility was commendable- and provided proof that this outfit is not the sort that will show the white flag when the world seems to be collapsing around them.

Kumar Sangakkara was the face of Sri Lankan fortitude. His 100 not out in a total of 170 was eloquent evidence of his bravery. Staggering as his statistical contribution is, it only tells half the story. With just Malinga and Muralidaran to bat with on the third morning, how Sangakkara manoeuvred his overnight 68 to a century was the product of more than brilliant batsmanship. The manner in which those 32 runs were bridged is best described by his own words, in a one-to-one interview with the industrious cricket writer, Rex Clementine of the Island: "Batting with the tail is challenging, and strategically, you've got to work out a lot of things. Murali and Lasitha did a good job in giving me the strike.. It's definitely one of my better hundreds. It was special because the side was in trouble and I had to bat with the tail."

The only sad part of that heroic century was Muraliadran's impatience to congratulate Sangakkara, thereby, bizarrely running himself out - and so kicking up quite a storm. New Zealand, of course, maintain the run out was not in breach of the law and Sri Lanka will say it's not cricket to run out a batsman behind his back, as it were. Sangakkara words to Clementine on the issue put Sri Lanka's view point rather eloquently and convincingly: "As Sri Lankans we take a lot of pride in playing the game in the right spirit. We've been told and taught these values from our school days."

However, it has to be said, whether Muralidaran's run out was right or wrong, it would've made no difference to the outcome of the match. But then that run out was the third of the innings, an extravagance that's bound to have a profound influence on a low scoring match such as this. The two before Muralidaran's were far more fatal. Sanath Jayasuriya and Prasanna Jayewardene, promised far more than the 10 and 11 they had made, respectively, before they were cruelly cut down.

There's more to rue over these two run outs as an additional 50-60 runs would've considerably enhanced Sri Lanka's victory prospects; defending 119, though, was a lost cause. To blame the three run outs for the failure to obtain a decent lead, however, is to hide the failure of the specialists. Admittedly the conditions weren't ideal for batting, but if one can make a century, then obviously conditions alone can't be the reason for the failure of others. Sure, Shane Bond is quite a handful to cope with, but he's not unplayable, as Sangakkara showed. If, as the centurion again proved, you were prepared to dig heels and battle it out, there were runs to harvest. That sort of gumption wasn't there in the rest.

The inclusion of the inexperienced, Kapugedera, Chamara Silva and Prasanna Jayewardena at 5, 6 and 7 didn't help either. It's all well and good to give experience to the newcomers, but whether that should be done in New Zealand is debatable. Commonsense says you'd require your seasoned hands to cope with seaming pitches in bitterly cold conditions - not fringe players. Instead, the tour selectors left out Dilshan, a batsman of 39 Tests and four centuries, and included three batsmen collectively with 13 Tests, including a debutante, Chamara Silva. That Dilshan's experience might've served better is a justifiable conclusion.

Be that as it may, the inability to surpass 200 in either of the innings is inexcusable, and the sole reason for the swift demise. Mercifully though, the old firm of Muralidaran and Vaas salvaged some dignity: loss by four wickets is far better than defeat by an innings, which looked a prospect when the Kiwis were 100/2 replying to Sri Lanka 's first innings of 154. The experienced duo brought about a change in the fortunes, and had the batsmen, bar Sangakkara, not failed a second time, Jayewardene's men might have gone to Wellington one up. Instead, the job is now to try and level the series - a job that requires more than the efforts of Sangakkara, Muralidaran and Vaas alone.


SLC files action against Ceylinco Insurance

Sri Lanka Cricket has filed action bearing No. HC (Civil) 289 / 2006(1) in the High Court of the Western Province (Commercial High Court) against Ceylinco Insurance Company Limited for a sum of US $ 11,947,940/-.

According to the Plaint filed in the above action a sum of US $ 11,947,940/- had been receivable from Taj Television Limited to Sri Lanka Cricket through the sale of television rights, sponsorship rights, and ground advertising rights in relation to the tri-nation limited over tournament that was scheduled to be held between 14th August 2006 and 29th August 2006 among the Indian, South African and the Sri Lankan cricket teams. Sri Lanka Cricket had obtained a Sports Cancellation & Abandonment Insurance Policy from Ceylinco Insurance Company Limited against the loss of revenue that may result from the cancellation and abandonment of the said limited over tournament due to riot & strike, civil commotion & terrorism.

On 14th August 2006 less than two hours prior to the commencement of the first match of the said limited over tournament a bomb had been exploded by the L.T.T.E at Ananda Coomara-swamy Mawatha, (Green Path) Colombo 3 causing the death of 4 army personal and 4 civilians and damaging over 13 vehicles. Pursuant thereto the South African team had declined to take part in the said limited over tournament and departed from Sri Lanka on 16th August 2006 causing the said limited over tournament to be cancelled and abandoned.


Ceylinco Insurance surprised with Cricket Board action

Colombo: Ceylinco Insurance reacted with profound surprise to two news articles, carried on two leading daily newspapers on 13/12/2006, indicating that Sri Lanka Cricket is suing Ceylinco Insurance for approximately USS 12 million, with regard to the abandonment of a limited over cricket tournament which was to have been played during the 14th and 29th of August 2006, involving the Indian, South African and Sri Lankan cricket teams.

The articles further indicated that action had been filed with the High Court of the Western Province (Commercial High Court) seeking compensation to the tune of USS 11,947,940/-, which had been receivable from Taj Television Ltd. to Sri Lanka Cricket through the sale of television rights, sponsorship rights and ground advertising rights in relation to the tri-nation, limited over cricket series.

Ceylinco Insurance, in a press release issued on 14/12/2006, confirmed that the said policy was obtained from them, but added that they were profoundly surprised to discover the impending legal action through the media. Ceylinco Insurance went on to confirm that Sri Lanka Cricket had indeed lodged a claim with them, after the South African team had left Sri Lanka. They further went on to state that compensation could not be paid, as the policy conditions reaffirmed it in terms,by stating its validity only if the playing schedule would be necessarily cancelled, abandoned, postponed, interrupted or relocated, in whole or in part, as a sole and direct result of any act of or threat of terrorism (whether actual or perceived) and a government law, order of defense or a specific order of police stating that conditions are unsuitable for play in the country.

The terms mentioned above, did not include the conditions, under which the said tri-nations tournament was abandoned.

Ceylinco Insurance reiterated that the decision not to pay compensation had been conveyed to Sri Lanka Cricket at a high level meeting involving the representatives of both parties, Sri Lanka Cricket and Ceylinco Insurance Company Limited.

Ceylinco Insurance wishes to further state that before issuing cover, all policy conditions presented to Sri Lanka Cricket were scrutinised by Sri Lanka Cricket Board of Management; of whose body is, among many others, two insuranceprofessionals. During discussions/negotiations withSri Lanka Cricket, Ceylinco Insurance has also advised Sri Lanka Cricket to obtain insurance cover against bad weather for the series as meteorological prediction during the period of the tournament that was not in favour for cricket which information was available to anybody who is interested. This request was not complied with reasons best known to them.

The cricket loving public will recall that the first match of the tournament between Sri Lanka and South Africa which was scheduled for 14th July was called off by the umpires due to bad weather and was rescheduledfor the reserve day 15thJuly,which was also abandoned due to the same reason. A similar fate fell on the second match between Sri Lanka and India which was scheduled for 16th July. Also it is a known fact that the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket, Duleep Men-disissued a statement condemning the act of the South African team that the reasons for withdrawalfrom the tournament is not due to terrorism but due to other factors for which wide publicity was given in the local and international press.

Ceylinco Insurance added further that the policy had been issued with 100% reinsurance support from the London reinsurance market keeping in line with their prudent practice when underwriting similar risks.

They further pointed out cancellation of the tournament due to one party withdrawing arbitrarilydid not give rise to a valid claim under the said policy issued to Sri Lanka Cricket and as thus the company is not liable to meet the said claim in terms of the policy.

However, Ceylinco Insurance went on to say that they were unable to disclose further details at this juncture, as now, the matter has apparently been referred to the courts.

Ceylinco Insurance added that their organisation had settled non-life claims amounting to Rs.4.2 billion in 2005, while settling claims to the tune of Rs.4 billion in the first ten months of 2006.


Milo Junior Open golf c'ship

MILO is now the main sponsor of junior golf in Sri Lanka. This year the Sri Lanka Milo Junior Open will be the 5th successive year of sponsorship.

The Sri Lanka junior golfers are extremely fortunate to have a vibrant junior programme in place with much support from the Sri Lanka Golf Union and the individual clubs. Our juniors now participate regularly in the All India Junior, and other junior events in the region. The SLGU sent two juniors this year to participate in the World Junior Championship in Scotland. Avinesh Naresh Kumar did particularly well to keep the Sri Lanka flag flying at St. Andrews, the home of golf.

MILO has been the most consistent supporter towards junior golf and we look forward to their continued support in the future so that they could contribute towards producing world class golfers who would one day compete internationally and bring fame to Sri Lanka.

Ian Pieris of cricketing fame observing the talent of our junior golfers, came up with a sponsorship programme which was named the Sri Lanka Junior Championship in the late 1980s sponsored by Richard Pieris & Co. Out of this generous gesture we now have a core of talented golfers forming the national pool. The junior golfers are fortunate to have the services of a professional coach namely, Daniel Glenn to develop their technique in their formative years.

It is noteworthy to mention that two of our professional golfers Anura Rohana who participates in the Asian circuit and Lalith Kumara who participates in the Indian circuit and a prominent amateur Tissa Chandradasa are former Sri Lankan junior champions who have won National Amateur titles overseas. Mithun Perera, son of Nandasena Perera who brought fame to Sri Lanka is another beneficiary of the Sri Lanka junior championship who is an emerging noteworthy golfer. The Sri Lanka Golf Union is confident that with the support of generous corporate companies such as MILO, junior golfers will be provided the opportunities they may otherwise not have, to improve their skills and reach world standards.

This year two of our promising junior golfers will be participating in the All India Junior Championship held in Bangalore from the 26th to 29th December 2006. They will be participating in the MILO Junior Championship just prior to their departure and provide the MILO Sri Lanka Junior Championship greater competition and thereby make this an interesting golfing event in the 2005 calendar.

The Sri Lanka Golf Union has introduced an under 9 years division to spot promising golf swings with the intention of inviting these young golfers to the junior clinic conducted by David Glenn.

We take this opportunity of thanking MILO and the Sri Lanka Golf Union is confident of their continued support.

Format of play - group age, championship division 15-17, silver division 10-14, bronze division 9 years and under. Please note the prize distribution will be on Wednesday 20th Dec. at 1.00 pm.


Poor show by the Lankans

Susanthika the silver and the bronze medalist at the XVth Asian Games celebrating the triumph (a bronze medal) of Lanka's 4x400 metres relay team

Hishan Welmilla reporting from Doha

Sri Lankan contingent to 15th Asian Games, the largest ever to send to an international event in overseas, retuned to the island with only two bonze medals and a silver.

There were many things cropped up with those results when thinking about the future of Sri Lankan sports.

In the last Asian Games held in Bussan South Korea, Sri Lanka took two golds one silver and three bronze medals. In the 15-year-old history of the Asian Games, Sri Lanka has recorded only 10 gold, 9 silver and 21 bronze medals before Jaysinghe won silver and bronze this time. Highest number of gold medals (3) was recorded in 1998 at the 14th Asian games in Kuala Lumpur.

Sri Lanka fielded their athletes in 24 games but athletics is the only event which was able to bring some sort of a relief. Where are we heading? That question might have arisen within the sports loving public of Sri Lanka.

Now it is usual practice to bring certain issues after an unsuccessful event by the athletes and officials blaming one another. Athletes accuse officials for not giving enough facilities while officials blame athletes for poor performances.

Even though the officials of the respective sports associations should take the responsibility in their athlete's poor performances a finger has been pointed out to the National Olympic Committee.

The Sri Lanka Olympic Committee President answered this question and said that  Sri Lankan Sports Associations should take necessary actions to overcome this medal drought if they are to take part in the international events of this nature.

"People think NOC is a medal producing factory, its not so. We only make assist respective sports associations to send their selected athletes to respective events where Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and International Olympic Council (IOC) are organising. It's up to authorities of the respective association to train their athletes to international standard" said Fernando.

At a ceremony organised by the Sri Lankans in Doha to felicitate Susanthika Jayasinghe and other four athletes who won the bronze medal in men's 4x400 relay, Fernando pointed out the need of a focused plan.

"It is right time to adopt a correct and appropriate policies to groom up the Sri Lankan sportsmen and women. We have to have an highly influential high level of authority which stand above all sports governing bodies to take bold and fair decisions in order to get better results in any sports in Sri Lanka" said Fernando.

He also promised that with after a discussion with President Mahinda Rajapaksha , he will make every step to establish such authority.

"We have to find talent from our villages and select 30 athletes who will have the skills and capabilities of improving themselves to a higher level. Giving everything they need and put them in to a proper track with a knowledge of ever changing technicalities" NOC Chief stressed.

But question will be how soon it will establish. We have experienced lot of sayings of this nature after every international event. We urgently request NOC Chief to take every step towards it and no doubt that any one who want to see the betterment of the Sri Lankan sports would join in hand with his efforts.

It is a pathetic situation in our country as the respective associations have resources to achieve the best results. Firstly it is right time to get rid of the old bunch of coaches who lack in modern technology and techniques and the officials who don't have the backborne to do the right thing.

During recent years it is hard to find any international event, which ended without any incident as far as discipline is concerned among the athletes. In this years Asian Games also the act of Olympic Bronze medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe's indecent action in the women's 4x100m event may have prevented another medal opportunity for Sri Lanka. Athletics national coach Lakshman de Alwis slammed officials for tolerating indiscipline among athletes and said their actions had cost Sri Lanka a certain bronze medal in the women's 4X100 metres relay.

Further De Alwis said that team captain Susanthika Jayasinghe was instrumental in changing the team and blamed athletics manager Derwin Perera for cowing down to the whims and fancies of athletes. De Alwis accused that Jayasinghe had wanted Priyadarshani out of the race due to a personal grudge.

Those issues should be answered in open form. Discipline should be the number one priority and it was useless however good an athlete is if he or she is not disciplined.

The performances of Sri Lankans in these year's games are far away from expectations. Few athletes were able to improve their standards and most of them even could not live up to their own level of performances. It is the responsibility  of the relevant authorities to look back and analize what went wrong and rectify them sooner to avoid any disappointments in the future.


 Sirasa premier league cricket

NCC 165 for 1

Openers Kanchana Gunawardena and Ishan Muthaliph completed half  centuries to put NCC on course to a big first innings lead over Saracens SC on  the opening day of their SLC Premier League inter club cricket tournament  match worked off at Maitland Place on Friday. 

Scores: Saracens SC: 121 (N. Abeyratne 39, G. Joseph 25 n.o, T. Kottahewa 3  for 23, U. Chandana 2 for 17, K. Kulasekera 2 for 18, C. Komasaru 2 for 22)

NCC:165 for 1 (K. Gunawardena 76 n.o, I. Muthaliph 81)

Colts CC 335 for 8

Two fine half centuries from Harsha Vithana (87) and Dhanuka  Pathirana (71 n.o) helped Colts CC reach an impressive 335 for 8 in their first innings on the opening day of their SLC Premier League inter club  cricket tournament match against Chilaw Marians SC played at Havelock Park  on Friday.

Scores: Colts CC: 335 for 8 (H. Vithana 87, S. Kalawitigoda 37, D. Pathirana  71 n.o, J. Kulatunga 29, R. Perera 27, S. Serasinghe 32, R.Pushpakumara 26 n.o, D. Hettiarachchi 4 for 97, H. Fernando 2 for 87) v Chilaw Marians  SC 

Vidanapathirana 4 for 29

Chaminda Vidanapathirana snapped up four wickets to help SSC dismiss Ragama CC for 198 runs in their first innings on the opening day of  their SLC Premier League inter club cricket tournament match played at  Katunayake on Friday. 

Scores: Ragama CC: 198 (I. de Saram 70, D. Perera 54, D. Ranatunga 39, C. Vidanapathirana 4 for 29, C. Sumathipala 3 for 39)

SSC: 73 for 2 (H. Fernando 23 n.o, D. Indika 23 n.o) 

Moors reach 239

Two fighting half centuries from Rashan Peiris (56) and Anil Rideegammanagedera (55) helped Moors SC reach 239 runs in their first innings on the opening day of their SLC Premier League inter club  cricket tournament match against Sebastianites SC played at Braybrooke Place on Friday.  

Scores: Moors SC: 239 (R. Peiris 56, R. Silva 41, A. Rideegammanagedera 55,  H. Boteju 42, D. Fernando 2 for 30, C. Buddhika 3 for 27, H. Silva 2 for  42, A. Asanka 2 for 44)

Sebastianites SC: 52 for 2    

Bloomfield 115 for 6

Panadura SC after being bowled out for 135 runs hit back strongly to reduce Bloomfield to 115 for 6 in their first innings on the opening  day of their SLC Premier League inter club cricket tournament match played at  Reid Avenue on Friday.

Scores: Panadura SC: 135 (C. Mapatuna 35, A. Perera 22, M. Ranasinghe 3 for  21, U. Wijesiriwardena 2 for 30, T.Lakshitha 2 for 56)

Bloomfield: 115 for 6 (T.Kandamby 35 n.o, S. Dissanayake 27 n.o, S.Pradeep 3 for 36, K. Gangodawila 2 for 33)    

Nuwan Perera 4 for 5

Off spinner Nuwan Perera returned splendid figures of four wickets  for five runs to help CCC bundle out Baduraliya CC for just 87 runs in  their first innings on the opening day of their SLC Premier League inter club cricket tournament match worked off at Maitland Crescent on Friday.   

Scores: Baduraliya CC: 87 (S. Silva 4 for 31, N. Perera 4 for 5)

CCC: 116 for 6 (T. Mendis 25 n.o, M. Surappulige 2 for 27, P.  Liyanage 2 for 21, L. Dias 2 for 19)    

Pushpakumara 4 for 46

Malinda Pushpakumara captured four wickets for 46 runs as Singha SC Ambalangoda restricted Sri Lanka Army SC to 170 runs in their first  innings on the opening day of their SLC Premier League inter club cricket tournament match worked off at the Uyanwatte Stadium in Matara  on Friday.

Scores: Army SC: 170 (S. Sanjeewa 23, M. Soysa 28, A. Mendis 23, M.  Pushpakumara 4 for 46, N. Liyanage 3 for 56, G. Lankatilleke 2 for 43)

Singha SC: 47 for 2 (N. Ratnayake 2 for 35)

Porage unfortunate to miss ton

Mevan Porage missed out a century by two runs as Sri Lanka Air Force  SC piled up 336 for 9 in their first innings on the opening day of their  SLC Premier League inter club cricket tournament match against Kurunegala  YCC played at Rifle Green on Friday.

Scores: Air Force SC: 336 for 9 (M. Porage 98, S. Madanayake 33, O. Lasantha  48, D. Wanasinghe 55 n.o, D. de Silva 42, C. Tissera 3 for 53, R.  Subasinghe 2 for 57, U. Erandhika 2 for 59) v Kurunegala YCC


Manori Jayakoddy wins 2006 Keangnam golf tournament

Manori Jayakoddy of Hyundai lanka playing excellent golf with score of 39 points was the winner at the 2006 Keangnam golf tournament which concluded recently at the Royal Colombo golf club. Runner up was H.R.Bang and versatile, Yvonne Abeyrathne won the 2nd runner up prize.

The tournament attracted many lady players.

At the prize giving chairman of Keangnam stated that he was very happy that a Sri Lankan who is working for a Korean company won this tournament as on most occasions the Korean ladies are the winners.

Radha the captain of RCGC ladies section was extremely happy when the chairman confirmed their continued sponsorship. At the lavish prize giving and dinner, several senior members participated.

At the evening entertainment fun games organised by Yvonne brought a lot of thrilled and amusement with winner been Ajantha captain of RCGC who was dressed as magic flower by his team of ladies.

Vice captain Ron was also present and participated enthusiastically.


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