Chasm between promise and
T.M.K Samat in Australia
MAHELA Jayewardene isn’t the
sort of leader who’ll go back on his words. So, you
won’t hear him confessing regret over the tall claims he
made about a month ago that the time was right for Sri
Lanka to sock Australia in their own backyard, something
no country has managed to do since the Viv Richards-led
West Indies did against Alan Border’s men back in
1992-93. The Sri Lankan leader’s promise, as you know,
didn’t get anywhere near fruition.
Jayewardene explained the
shortfall in his prognosis was due not so much to a lack
of talent in his personnel as their failures to perform
at the level of their capabilities. "We had more to
offer than this," was how he described it.
Jayewardene, a personification
of decency, is not one who’d even whisper anything
disparaging about his men. But on this occasion he’s
overstretching his generosity a tad too far. After all,
the essence of the game is about one team asserting its
strength over the other; one striving to blunt the
other, technically and mentally — to put it another way,
compelling the opposition into the sort of predicament
Jayewardene complains about.
The Aussies succeeded
overwhelmingly in reducing us to that level of
ineptness, as their triumphs in both of the Tests show,
the first by an innings and 40 runs and the other, by 96
runs. Those sorts of margins suggest we would have had
to be twice as better than we actually were — let’s be
frank here: a team performs only as well as the
opposition allows it.
And Australia didn’t allow Sri
Lanka to perform any better than it did. That is the
hard, unalterable fact, and any one trying to give a
rose tint to that is, well, a good candidate for the
best salesperson title.
This is not to ridicule the
captain’s bullishness, which, admittedly, is a virtue in
modern sport given that teams won’t give up on any trick
that might win a psychological point or two before the
battle. It has to be said though, Jayewardene wasn’t
trying to play Muhammad Ali, as his pre-tour claim
wasn’t exactly an empty boast intended to destabilise
the world champions. Rather, he had some solid reasons
to believe that his team could beard the lion in his own
The last time Sri Lanka was in
Australia, in 2004, it had done exceptionally well to
draw one of the two Tests. Since then the Sri Lankans
had achieved quite some remarkable feats, winning Tests
in England and New Zealand and in-between routing the
formidable South Africans, 2/0, in Colombo. That plus
some commendable achievements in the shorter game — a
5/0 swamping of England and the second-best finish at
the World Cup —all lent some credibility to
It didn’t take long, though,
before his claim began to ring hollow. Their three-day
warm up against Queensland, the only State level
opposition encountered, was conceded by four wickets —
despite the home team omitting two of their three
Australian Test caps. What, then, could we have to offer
against the full might of Australia? Pretty much
nothing, though one man rather bravely dared to row
against the tide. Sangakkara’s epic 192 was stuff of
what dreams are made of. But to overhaul world cricket’s
biggest victory target, of 507 runs, you need more than
one man’s brilliance; you need one or two more century
makers. In the event, there was only just another
half-centurion — and three zeros, two of them first-ball
But then, the inconsistency of
our batting specialists in Australia shouldn’t surprise
anyone. It is a malady that has been around for quite
some time, the ODI series versus England being the most
recent. Only once did the Sri Lankan batting surpass
250, a continuous failure that led to the loss of that
Test cricket, of course, is
different. Yet, that the series produced just two
centuries and four half centuries from the Sri Lankan
camp, as against the Australians’ five hundreds and
seven half centuries speak of the unbridgeable chasm
between the two countries.
So, the bottom line is that Sri
Lanka cricket is yet some distance away from being able
to mount a serious challenge on the world champions. The
recent mass retirements of their established stars,
Warne, McGrath, Langer and Martyn had raised hopes that
this time around the battles might run closer. That was
not to be, and the Australians have reason to believe
that they’ve made a smooth transition, though the
strength of their new-look team is likely to face a
sterner test against India next month.
By the time the next Test tour
to Australia comes around, it is fairly certain that the
likes of Vaas, Muralitharan and Jayasuriya would be in
retirement; Atapattu already has bid farewell of Sri
Lanka cricket. So, uncertain times lie ahead, and
there’s much to do to ensure a secure future.
Jayewardene has already pointed out the need for a
domestic tournament worthy of a Test-playing country.
The present club-based competition is anything but a
viable feeder to the national side. "The climb up from
our premier domestic competition to the national side is
too steep," said Jayewardene.
The skipper isn’t the first to
point out this deficiency in our domestic competitions.
The obviousness of that deficiency has long been a
talking point. There are practical, economic as well as
historical difficulties why our domestic cricket remains
representative of clubs, mostly Colombo-based, and not
country, as it is in all other Test-playing countries.
Successive administrations have offered the convenient
excuse that because of the lack of employment
opportunities, the migration of the better outstation
talents to Colombo is inevitable — and so, Sri Lanka
cricket has had to live with an archaic and unhelpful
But it is no secret that the
system lends itself to politics, with the club votes
that decide cricket’s administrators notoriously up for
sale to the highest bidders. That was then. Now Sri
Lanka cricket has become a pawn in the chess board of
national politics, with the government empowered to
choose men of its liking as the game’s administrators –
through appointments to the interim committee. That
really is an old story. Suffice to say that the last
interim committee didn’t have a single past cricketer –
instead it included close pals of the then Sport
Minister as well as the minister’s brother-in-law.
That’s how bad the system has got.
So, while Jayewardene speaks of
changes that ought to be made so that Australia can be
challenged more seriously in the future, it will all be
water down a duck’s back if nothing is done about the
corrupt system that chooses the game’s administrators.
It’s not that the cricketing fraternity doesn’t have
capable administrators– e.g. S. Skandakumar, Vijay
Malalasekera, M. Tissera, Sidath Wettimuny, Kushil
Gunasekera, Ashantha de Mel, all members of past interim
committees that performed admirably during the game’s
If the likes of those mentioned
above aren’t going to be the game’s decision-makers,
then, Jayewardene might as well be talking his ideas of
how to sock the Aussies to, well, the Greeks.
The Victoria Golf and Country
Resort will again be the host venue of the Donald Steel
Trophy. To be played over 36 holes on December 9
(Saturday) and 10 (Sunday), and February 10, 2008 this
stableford format competition is the 10th edition of the
The Donald Steel Trophy will be
awarded to the gentlemen player recording the best
stableford score over the two rounds. The net winner
will receive the Ebert Pot and the Pam Fernando Trophy
will be awarded to the best lady golfer’s gross score
over the 36 holes. The net Ladies event is the Victoria
The name behind the tournament
is Donald Steel. He presented the Donald Steel Trophy to
Victoria Golf and Country Resort (the Victoria Golf
Club) and inaugurated the first Donald Steel Trophy in
Steel is one of the best golf
course architects that the British Isles has produced —
right up there with Dr. Alaistair MacKenzie and Harry
Colt et al. MacKenzie was the designer along with
the great amateur golfer, Bobby Jones of Augusta
National, home of The Masters Tournament. Steel will be
regarded as a major influence on golf course design just
like MacKenzie and Colt, as his ability to blend a
course to the landscape enhances, rather than ruins the
landscape the golf course sits upon. Victoria Golf
Course is the perfect example of this skill.
Steel forged the Victoria Golf
Course as a part of Mark Bostock’s dream and legacy, out
of the landscape with minimum soil movement and minimum
damage to the ecology, and is the only golf course
architect to have advised all the clubs or courses on
which the Open Championship has been played. He is the
only architect to have given significant advice for 70
years at the Home of Golf and provided the Master Plan
for the modern St. Andrews.
Steel was the only writer and
architect to play in the Open Championship as an amateur
during his youth. He continues his influence and
guidance of the game in the UK and beyond — he was
President, British Association of Golf Course Architects
from 1986 to 1989, President, Association of Golf
Writers from 1993 to 1998 and President, English Golf
Union 2006. He was the first ever golf writer for the
Daily Telegraph in London from 1961 until 1990 and
has written 10 books on golf — all a fascinating read
and highly recommended.
Victoria Golf and Country
Resort is justifiably proud of the golf course he
created on the peninsula of land next to the Victoria
Lake. Donald Steel’s words describe Victoria with
obvious fondness: "Some golf courses have a splendid
undulating terrain over which the holes are routed. Some
have a scenic backdrop of hills and lakes which excite
the senses. The Victoria Golf course is blessed with
The current holder of the
Donald Steel Trophy is Sujeewa Lankathilake. Sujee- wa
was in a golden streak of form in February 2007 and is
bound to be high on the list of potential winners for
the 2008 Trophy. Other very likely contenders are Iain
Tait, Nimal Wettimuny and young charger Chamil Wickrama-
The other gentlemen’s trophy on
offer is also linked to Donald Steel — the Ebert Pot,
presented by one of Donald Steel’s closest collaborators
on the Victoria project, Martin Ebert. This remarkable
Englishman was a major influence and driving force
behind the golf course design and ongoing upkeep, and is
a regular player in the Donald Steel Trophy event, and
winner of the event on three occasions. The 2007 Ebert
Pot Champion was Andrew Udeshi. The possible winner of
the "pot" is extensive as the player’s handicaps become
involved so that anyone in the field could win.
The Pam Fernando Trophy is
named after Sri Lanka’s greatest ever lady-golfer and is
an open contest amongst the best Sri Lanka can muster.
It is a perfect taster for the Queen Sirikit Cup later
in March 2008. Suven Selvaratnam who won the 2007 Pam
Fernando Cup is bound to defend her title in 2008. The
Victoria Bowl — a magnificent piece of Waterford Crystal
will be open to all as the net ladies event. Odds are
that this will go to one of four Victoria residents —
Pauline Morley, Indira Tibblin, Sonia Boyle or Linda
Harris. There is bound to be a big challenge from
overseas as well.
Entry fees are set at Rs.2000
for members and Rs.2500 for non members, US$100 for
overseas members and US$200 for overseas players (non
members). This includes three rounds of golf, welcome
cocktail, tournament shirt, cap and goodie bag.
Accommodation specials during
the Donald Steel Trophy can be booked by calling +94 (0)
777 844 166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Further email
enquiries or details can be obtained from the General
Manager on email@example.com.
For more information or
clarification, contactDhanushika Medagoda — Marketing
Assistant,Victoria Golf and Country Resort, Rajawella,
on firstname.lastname@example.org (+94 (0) 777 840 894).
Royalists do a hat-trick
The Colombo 7 lads proved that
they are superior in the game of water-polo when they
won the Dr. R.L. Hayman Trophy for the 3rd consecutive
year at the Sugathadasa Swimming pool in the presence of
a packed crowd. Royal College, having won the first leg
with a considerable lead — 8-3, did not have it easy
with the Thomians who went down displaying the Thomian
grit and ended the second leg 8 all.
However the Royalists won the
trophy with the final aggregate of 16 goals to 11 scored
by the Thomians. Incidentally this score of 16 scored by
the Royalists is a record in the 16 encounters played so
far.The atmosphere was electrifying when the match
started at 6.p.m. under lights. Supporters from both
schools were awaiting the much looked forward to event
in the water sports calendar to begin. The chief guest
Attorney General, C.R. de Silva, PC was escorted by the
Royal College junior band along with the Guest of Honour,
Rizan Nazeer, secretary, Royal College OBU, The Warden,
St. Thomas’ College, Dr. David Ponniah and the
Principal, Royal College, Upali Gunasekera. The match
commenced on time to the cheers of supporters of both
schools and the Thomians drew first blood scoring a goal
but the Royalists managed to end the first quarter 3-2.
The second quarter totally belonged to the Royalists and
ended with 3 goals to a solitary goal by the Thomians.
At this juncture the total tally with the first leg
score read 14 goals to 5. But in the 3rd quarter the
Thomians came back strong showing their Thomian grit and
won 4-nil. The fourth quarter was so tense with the
Royalists determined to get back in the game and
theymanaged to score 2 goals against 1 goal scored by
the Thomians to make the 2nd leg a tie. In the final
analysis based on the aggregate score Royal won the Dr.
R.L. Hayman Trophy for the 3rd consecutive year.
by Hafiz Marikar
The two newly elected
Presidents of the 0ld Boys Associations of St.
Sylvester’s College and Vidyartha College — Malcom
Perera and L.B. Aluwihare, the Mayor of Kandy, are all
out to make the Golden Jubilee 50th
Sylvestrian-Vidyartha big match known as the "Battle of
Babes" is set to be a colourful one with many surprises.
Malcolm Pereira, a top class
cricket coach and administrator who had a chat with this
writer said that he hopes to meet the President,
Vidyartha OBA, L.B. Aluwihare who was one time Vidyartha
wicketkeeper/batsman, to discuss the arrangements for
the Golden Jubilee encounter.
Malcolm Perera, Coaching
Manager, Sri Lanka Cricket, took over the presidency of
the Sylvestrian Old Boys Association recently and his
committee is making arrangements to make this 50th
cricket encounter the best in the series.
They have plans to invite all
past cricketers, captains and coaches for this match.
A Sylvestrian’s Family Night
and a Sylvestrian Walk (on the day before the big match)
are also on the agenda.
Malcolm Perera said that St.
Sylvester’s now in its 67th year has produced top
students in sports and the academia.
He plans to assist his alma
mater to develop sports and in several areas that need
to be developed.
happenings at a glance
Malik and Yousuf inspire
A CENTURY partnership for the
fourth wicket between Skipper Shoaib Malik and Mohammad
Yousuf spurred Pakistan to a 31 run win in the final of
the Indian Oil Cup ODI series to reduce the lead to a
consolation 3-2 in the final 5th ODI played at the Sawai
Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
Scores: Pakistan 306 for 6
wickets in 50 overs. India: 275 all out in 49.5 overs
Defending champions NCC lose
Rideegam Mana Gedera hit a top
score of 88 runs while Rangana Herath took four wickets
as moors SC defeated the defending champions NCC by 116
runs in the Premier League Tier’ A’ limited over match
played at Braybrooke Place .All rounder Hashantha
Fernando smashed an unbeaten 117 helped Chilaw Marians
SC beat SSC also in a same tournament match played at
Scores: Moors SC 259 for 7
wickets in 50 overs, NCC 143 all out in 34.5 overs, SSC
218 all out in 49.3 overs, Chilaw Marians SC 219 for 8
wickets in 48.3 overs.
Basilica College Ragama wins
FIFTIETH SCHOOLS six-a –side tournament conducted by the
Old Wesleyites Sports Club and sponsored by Ceylon Cold
Stores Ltd. saw new comers Basilica College Ragama
emerge winners beating all fancied teams to clinch the
Lemonade trophy. They defeated Nalanda College by 16
runs in the final played at Campbell Place.
Scores: Basilica College Ragama
97 for 3 in five overs , Nalanda College: 81 for 1
wicket in 5 overs.
Steyn bowls South Africa to an
innings win over New Zealand within 3 days
Dale Steyn second ten wicket
South Africa crushed new
Zealand by an innings and 59 runs on the third day of
the 2nd Test played at the Centurion.
Scores: New Zealand 1st
Innings: 188 all out and 2nd Innings 136 all out, South
Africa 1st Innings: 383 all out.
Seylan Bank clinch Mercantile
Rugby 7’s crown
Star-Studded formidable Seylan
Bank team clinched the Mercantile Rugby 7’s crown for
the second consecutive year beating John Keells by 34
points to 10 in the cup final played at Longden Place
Federer seals Masters Title
World number one Roger Federer
claimed his fourth Masters title defeating David Ferrer
of Spain in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in just one hour
and 38 minutes.
Royal retains Dr R.L.Hayman
A late rally by S.Thomas
’College enabled them to hold Royal College to an eight
all draw in the second leg of the Dr R.L.Hayman Water
Polo fixture concluded at the Sugathadasa swimming
Atapattu’s comments have come
in for condemnation
Marvan Atapattu’s outburst of
calling the selectors a set of ‘ Muppets’ headed by a
Chief selector a ’Joker’ has come in for condemnation by
Sri Lankans living in different states in Australia.
Dilshan steals the limelight
TILEKERATNE Dilshan’s blazing
run of success with the bat for his club Bloomfield was
the highlight of the Premier League inter club limited
overs cricket tournament which got off to sensational
start with several leading clubs having had to face
unexpected defeats. At present Bloomfield were leading
Tier ‘A" with 15 points after the third round matches.
Mathew Sinclair to join New
VETERAN opening batsman Mathew
Sinclair has been called into the New Zealand cricket
team for the up coming limited overs series against
South Africa as a replacement for injured Craig Cumming.
Namal clinches triple crown
SRI LANKA’S former Women’s
national champion Namal Gunasekera of Lake House Sports
Club bagged a triple crown at the open Veterans Table
Tennis Championships held at the S.Thomas’ indoor
stadium Mount Lavinia.
Youth Rugby Asiad begins on
SRI LANKA will take part in the
under 20 Asian Rugby Championships which will be worked
off in Brunei from December 14 to the 20. Sri Lanka will
play in Division one along with Hong Kong,
Korea,Malaysia,Thailand,Singapore and Guam while Chinese
Taipei,Philippines,Arabian Gulf, Brunei and India will
vie for honours in Division two.
Dr. Maiya appointed as Chairman
FORMER Sri Lankan rugby player,
Chief National selector and Union President Dr. Maiya
Gunasekera has been appointed the new Chairman of the
National Sports Council which will comprise of 15
Boxing National commence
THE National Boxing
Championship conducted by the ABA will get underway at
the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. This four day event will
conclude on November 23.
Sangakkara robbed of history as
RUDI KOERTZEN one of the most
senior umpires in the elite panel of World cricket,
brought justice in the game to zero level making a mess
of the end of the second and final Test which gave
Australia a 93 run win mover Sri Lanka at the Bellerive
Oval in Hobart. He made a dubious umpiring decision to
give Kumar Sangakkara caught behind when the ball was
never near his bat. As Sangakkara left dejected,
dismissed at 192 walked away Koetzen’s integrity and
Posting’s gamesmanship came into inevitable questioning.
Scores: Australia 1st Innings
542 for 5 declared and 2nd Innings 210 for 2 wickets
declared Sri Lanka 1st Innings 246 all out 2nd Innings
410 all out.
Umpire apologises to Sangakkara
THE umpire from the elite panel
of umpires of the ICC Rudy Koertzen has apologised to
Sangakkara after mistakenly giving him out on the final
day of the side’s second Test defeat against Australia.
THE Celebrated cricketer former
skipper made his expected retirement from Test cricket
after the completion of the second Test in Hobart, and
is listed to be in channel Nine as a commentator during
the triangular series which involves India, Sri Lanka
and Australia for the Commonwealth bank sponsored tri
series in late January.He was given an emotional send
off by the team mates. Atapattu thanked everyone except
the "Muppets" in his retirement note.
Tharanga makes England toil
UPULTharanga struck form with a
timely unbeaten 92 as he made the England bowlers toil
after skipper T.M.Dilshan opted to take first lease of
the wicket after winning the toss at the CCC grounds.
Scores: Board President’s XI
1st Innings 218 for 3 wickets at close.
Rohana and Tilakaratne enter
ANILRohana of Carlton BC and
B.R.Tillakaratne of BRC booked their berths to fight in
the finals of All Island Lanka Plate Billiard
Championship to be held at the Billiards headquarters
table in Reid Avenue.
Army and Slimline
THE four day boxing
championship which began at the Sugathadasa indoor
Stadium saw the main contenders defending champions Army
and Slim line SC dominate the proceedings.
Dubai to host ‘world’s richest
THE European PGA tour announced
that the Gulf Emirates of Dubai will host a lucrative 10
million dollars (6.8 million euros) season-ending event
from November 2009.
Brazil to rebound in World cup
BRAZIL is looking to return to
peak form when it hosts Uruguay in a World cup
qualifier, which is an important fixture for both teams.
Cook and Collingwood
THE ENGLISH team in their first
warm up match had good batting practice when they made
315 for the loss 6 wickets on the final day against the
Sri Lanka Board President’s XI played at the CCC
grounds. Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood made half
Scores: Sri Lanka Board
President’s XII 1st Innings 500 for 5 wickets declared.
England XI 315 for 6 wickets at close.
Compiled by SuniThenabadu