Island Cricket

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sri Lankan Lions Roar in Bankstown

A crowd in excess of 3500 Bankstown and Sydney cricket fans were treated to a rare feast of cricket talent when the Sri Lanka national side played the Bankstown Grade side in a charity match at Bankstown Memorial Oval on Sunday 27th January 2008.

Painted faces, flags, spicy curries and brilliant sunshine combined in a memorable sporting and community day for the City of Bankstown as part of its Australia Day weekend celebrations. While the cricket was of the highest standard the day was also about having fun and many thousands of dollars were raised in aid of the Foundation of Goodness and Hope charity which is supported by many leading Sri Lankan cricketers. During the lunch break Alston Koch, well known Sri Lankan entertainer now living in Melbourne, launched his music CD titled “Murali” a tribute song to the world’s leading wicket taker which is currently Number 1 on the South Asia Top 40 while hundreds of fans danced the ‘Baila’ a traditional Sri Lankan dance on the ground during the lunch interval.

On the cricket side of things the visitors were led by Mahela Jayawardene who won the toss and elected to bat first on a magnificent wicket prepared by curator Warwick Starr. Despite some lively pace bowling from Bankstown duo Aaron Bird and Scott Thompson the Sri Lankan openers Upal Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuryia got Sri Lanka away to a half century opening stand before Brett Van Deinsen had Tharanga well caught by Pat Darwen for 22. Jayasuryia continued to attack the bowling before he was bowled by Van Deinsen for 48. Solid performances in the middle order by Chamara Silva (58 no) Kumar Sangakkara (35) and the hard hitting Jayawardene (28) saw the tourists reach 9 – 274 off their 50 overs. All the Bankstown bowlers toiled relentlessly in the searing heat with Van Deinsen the pick with 2-18, while veteran spin bowler David Freedman thrilled the crowd when he dismissed Sangakkara who is currently the number one rated batsman in the world, with a beautifully disguised wrong-un.

The Bankstown run chase got away badly when superstar Chaminda Vaas angled a lightning delivery through Dean Magee’s defence before the locals had troubled the scorers! Solid innings from Scott Thompson (36) and Corey Richards at the top of the order put the locals back into the match but the loss of Van Deinsen and Skipper Danny Waugh for ducks left the locals well behind the pace. Fighting knocks of 19 from Pat Darwen, 31 from Aaron Bird and a hard hitting 40 from Darren Ettridge entertained the large crowd but the Bulldogs eventually succumbed to be all out for a respectable 207.

Following the match Mahela Jayawardene addressed the crowd with master of ceremonies (former Bankstown and Australian player) Len Pascoe and he congratulated the Bankstown Grade Cricket Club, Bankstown Sports Club and Bankstown City Council for taking the initiative to stage the match. Jayawardene said “the playing facilities were outstanding and only surpassed by the hospitality shown by the local volunteers. This match was very competitive and really helped us prepare for the Prime Minister’s XI match in Canberra on Wednesday”.

Bankstown Captain Daniel Waugh thanked the Sri Lankans for agreeing to play the match at a local venue and he was also enthusiastic in his praise of the facilities. Waugh told the crowd said “this is our home ground and we love it, but I’ve never seen it look better than today.” Waugh also praised the Club’s management and hard working volunteers who he said “proved they are just the best in the business!”

The Bankstown Club management also paid tribute to Bankstown Sports Club for providing staff and catering, Bankstown City Council for preparing the facilities to world class standard and Harry Solomons and Stephanie Coory from Kingsgrove Sports who did and enormous amount of behind the scenes work to engage the Sri Lankan community in the event.

Courtesy David Clifton, Bankstown District Cricket Club.


1 Comments:

Hilal said...

A big thank you to David Clifton of Bankstown District Cricket Club for sending in this press release and photographs.

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