Island Cricket

Monday, April 28, 2008

International men of mystery

Cricinfo: Watching Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis bowl is like trying to hold a conversation with a naturally quiet person in a noisy pub. What was that again, Ajantha? Didn't quite catch that - can you repeat it? Sorry pal, I thought you said something else. Hey, can we go outside? Can't hear myself think in here.

Mendis's run-up is plain to the point of innocence, but his fingers are all subtlety, inscrutably resistant to sharing their secrets. The batsman is left groping, searching for cues and clues. Eh? Come again? What was that? Can you give me that once more? And finally: what happened?

His mixture of legbreaks, offbreaks, doosras, googlies and topspinners is a perplexity for statisticians too. Cricinfo is calling him "right-arm slow-medium" at the moment, but cricketers translate "right-arm slow-medium" as "bowls in the nets if he's lucky". If he plays county cricket, Playfair will have to consider a designation like ROBLB or RSM@#&%?!

Others have already settled on the designation "mystery spinner", the epithet conferred almost 60 years ago on the Australian Jack Iverson. Mendis and he certainly seem to share prodigiously strong middle fingers. The ball settled into Iverson's grip like a marble for the squirting. Mendis, likewise, looks simply to caress the ball as he propels it, barely involving the palm of his hand at all, and holding one particular variation as delicately as an entomological specimen. Both bowlers possess the cardinal virtue of accuracy, and a liking for long spells.

Where they differ seems to be in variety and spin. Iverson spun his stock ball, a googly, massively, but his variations considerably less: batsmen finally figured on playing him as an offbreak bowler, albeit one who looked like he was bowling legbreaks. Mendis doesn't spin any of his options enormously; it is the combination of them, and the difficulty distinguishing one from the other, that makes him a handful.

There is always excitement when a bowler like Mendis appears. Batsmen scratch their heads. Captains and coaches confabulate. Cricket's telephone exchange buzzes.

The original "mystery ball", and still perhaps the most delicious, is the googly itself, the offbreak delivered by the legbreak action conceived on his family billiards table before being hazarded on the sward at Lord's by BJT Bosanquet - and thus sometimes known as the "bosie", and also the "wrong 'un". It's somehow fitting that such a double agent of a delivery should have multiple aliases.

At first the googly posed more preposterous difficulties than its progenitor: the first to take a first-class wicket bounced four times. But it soon swept the world: the South African XI of a century ago included no fewer than four specialist purveyors, and the Australian team of 1910-11 featured perhaps the best exponent of all. Certainly it was the view of Johnnie Moyes, who saw all its antipodean advocates, Arthur Mailey, Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O'Reilly included, that no Australian mastered the googly more thoroughly than "Ranji" Hordern.

[Hordern] was without doubt an amazing bowler. He took a long run, brought his arm right over, was a length as well as a spin bowler, and of medium pace. He didn't seem to be flighting the ball, yet did so, as the batsman discovered when he tried to move down the pitch to him. That wasn't easy as Hordern was slightly faster through the air, but the temptation was there, as I found to my cost in Victor Trumper's benefit game, only to hear Sammy Carter say, "Got you, son"... Sometimes you could see the tip of the little finger sticking up skyward like a periscope of a submarine, but only if you were concentrating on it. If you did see it, you recognised the approaching "bosie".

The first googly in Australia bowled Victor Trumper; a googly was also the last ball to defeat Donald Bradman in a Test match. Simply by existing, it had an effect on cricket's ecosystem. "If this sort of bowling becomes general I'm packing my bags," threatened Archie MacLaren, before deciding he could live with it. It even enjoyed an oriental translation into the "chinaman".

No other delivery, in fact, has had quite the same impact on cricket, and by never really being improved on, it also caused cricket to revert to being a batsman's game. In an incisive 1950 critique of Bradman's impact on cricket, the Birmingham Post's cricket correspondent WE Hall observed.

In due course we shall come to see Bradman as an inevitable part of the evolution of the game. From Grace's integration of forward and back-play the art of batting advanced until, in [Jack] Hobbs, a technique was perfected to master the "new" bowling, as it has been called. It was the last of the qualitative changes in cricket, a fact realised by one writer who said that the game needed a new type of ball to do what the "googly" once did. But there has been no new type of ball, and the only development left to batsmen between the wars was the quantitative one which followed, as surely as mass production followed the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Of course, mystery bowling is classically an individual pursuit, the result of lone experiment and lateral thought. Iverson is the archetype, his bowling having originated in a lifetime of nervous finger flicking with a table tennis ball; likewise were Iverson's protégé Johnny Gleeson, double-dealing Sonny Ramadhin, and whizz-banging Bhagwat Chandrasekhar self-taught cricketers.

Ramadhin and Chandra made the most of their bowling's hidden depths. Delivering a stock ball that spun from the off, both buttoned their sleeves at the wrist, as though to deflect the curious glare. Ramadhin bowled his offbreak with the middle finger down rather than across the seam, to sometimes startling effect. Ken Archer described playing with Ramadhin for a Commonwealth XI in September 1954 at seaside Hastings, when the bowler discovered that his quicker one seamed away with an ounce of extra effort; he could hardly bowl for his delighted laughter. Chandra's right arm was so withered from childhood polio that he could hardly hold a cup of tea to his lips. But with it he bowled googlies and legbreaks that seemed to set his whole body whirring like a child's spinning top. And like no other bowler, he haunted Viv Richards.

Read more.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

[Video] Kumar Sangakkara, Bret Lee & Shane Watson singing "Tell Me Why"

Click the Title above if no video is visible

The party started at around 1.00 am. This is the list of all the players who attended....
Yuvraj Singh, Sreesanth, Darren Lehman, Kaif, Shane Warne, Shane Watson, Sangakkara, Munaf Patel, Aamir Sohail, both Pathans.

The video you are seeing is Brett Lee after 5 hours of starting an impromptu concert. All the guys were so good when taking pictures of them.
- Courtesy pasla27 +/- Expand Post

Friday, April 25, 2008

Asoka de Silva in Emirates Elite Panel

The Island: The International Cricket Council on Wednesday announced that Asoka de Silva of and Australian Steve Davis had been promoted to the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, with the pool of top officials expanding from 10 to 12.

The two umpires, who have been serving on the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires, have been elevated to the Elite Panel by the ICC Umpires Selection Panel made up of David Richardson, ICC’s General Manager – Cricket, Emirates Elite Panel ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, ex-England player, coach and former first-class umpire David Lloyd and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, the former India captain and international umpire.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

[Video] Aravinda De Silva 112 | Kent Vs Lancs | 1995

Cricinfo: Lancashire deserved their success, which earned the club and the players #35,000, a gold trophy and, every bit as important, the satisfaction and relief of winning. For those outside the Du- chy, however, it was de Silva`s oriental genius - coming from east of the Medway he is presumably a man of Kent - which made the day memorable.

Bold, quick-footed and hitting the ball immensely hard for so small a man on his way to 112 off 95 balls, only the third hundred in the July final, he upstaged even Mike Atherton and John Crawley, whose innings earlier in the day had set the standard of quality.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Murali: One day cricket will fade

Foxsports: Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan believes one-day cricket is in danger of being eclipsed by the Twenty20 format of the game.

The veteran bowler is in India participating in the inaugural Indian Premier League as the bowling spearhead for the Chennai Super Kings.
He claims the short length of Twenty20 and IPL games will increase the sport's popularity.

"This is going to be the future of cricket," Muralitharan told the News.

"I think Test cricket will stay. All players and cricketers love to play Test cricket but one-day cricket will fade a bit.

"I think because of the IPL and Twenty20 more people will watch cricket. It is the 21st century and people do not have the time to watch five-day and one-day matches."

Muralitharan, the world record holder for most Test wickets, says he is well adapted to the multicultural nature of his IPL team.

The Kings beat Kings Eleven Punjab in Mohali at the weekend and Muralitharan posted figures of one for 33.

"When I play for Lancashire I play with many cricketers," he said. "I have learnt how to cope with these things in the dressing room. It is a happy dressing room with youngsters."

The spinner also expects further battles with Kumar Sangakkara, his Sri Lanka team-mate who was his prized wicket on Saturday.

"It was not easy to bowl to him as he knows what I do," Muralitharan added. "Still, I have to bowl and he has to hit the ball.

"I think in this battle I won. It may be in future that he might win."

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ICC ODI Rankings | Muralitharan drops out of top 10

Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan has slipped out of the top 10 bowlers in the ICC rankings for the first time in over a decade.

Muralitharan, who skipped the series which the West Indies won 2-0, has now slipped below Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi who occupies 10th position. Muralitharan, who leads the rankings for Test bowlers, was last out of the top 10 ODI bowlers in July 1997. The iconic spinner will now have a wait for a couple of months before attempting a return when the Asia Cup gets underway in Pakistan on 24 June.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Malinga advised rest for four more weeks

Cricinfo: Sri Lanka could be without fast bowler Lasith Malinga for quite awhile after the second MRI tests taken on his injured right knee five days ago showed hardly any improvement. Malinga, according to physios, was asked to rest his injured knee for four weeks, or until May 10, before another assessment will be made.

Malinga first complained of pain on his knee on February 22 during the CB Series in Australia. It was diagnosed as a swollen bone on his knee. Since that time Malinga has been under constant treatment and missed out on Sri Lanka's recent tour of the Caribbean and the ongoing Indian Premier League, where he was brought by the Mumbai Indians for US$350,000.

Sri Lanka Cricket physios are keeping their fingers crossed on Malinga's recovery. He is expected to have his first bowl in the nets by the first week of June and be ready to make a comeback in time for the Asia Cup, which starts on June 24 in Pakistan. This will be followed by a full series of three Tests and five ODIs against India at home and the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan.

Since breaking into the international scene four years ago this is the first serious injury Malinga, 24, has suffered. He has 91 wickets from 28 Tests and 79 wickets from 53 ODIs.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

[Video] Chamara Silva 67 Vs West Indies | 1st ODI, Trinidad 2008

Silva loves the Queens park oval in Trinidad in 5 innings at the Queens park Oval Silva averages 78.33. +/- Expand Post

Inter-Provincial Twenty-20 | Schoolboys humiliate Basnahira South

The Island: A Schools Invitation XI, led by SL U-19 player Dinesh Chandimal, recorded an unexpected win against seasoned Basnahira South on the opening day of the main domestic Twenty-20 tournament, the Inter- Provincial Twenty-20, at Colts grounds on Thursday.

The schoolboys’ opponents fielded a team comprising four national players, Dilruwan Perera, Malinda Warnapura, Hasantha Fernando and Hemantha Wickramaratne, alongside SL’s premier cricket stalwarts Nandika Ranjith, Anushka Polonnowita, Nimesh Perera and Chanaka Komasaru.

Schools Invitation XI bt Basnahira South by 13 runs at BRC Grounds:


Schools Invitation XI 152 for 7 wkts in 20 ovs (Tharinda Fernando 55 (45 balls, 4x5, 6x1), Dinesh Chandimal 29, Angelo Perera 32; Dilruwan Perera 2-22, C. Komasaru 2-29)

Basnahira South 139 all out in 19 ovs (Nimesh Perera 25, A. Polonnowita 54 (27 b, 4x5, 6x3); Vinodh Perera 3-29, Chathura Peiris 2-14, Imesh Udayanga 2-20)

Wayamba bt Basnahira North by 5 wkts at Colts CC Grounds:


Basnahira North 158 for 9 wkts in 20 ovs (Gayan Wijekoon 33, Thilina Kandamby 33, Shanuka Dissanayake 33; Chanaka Welegedara 2-21, Shalika Karunanayake 2-40, Himesh Silva 2-2)

Wayamba 160 for 5 wkts in 19.1 ovs (Damitha Hunukumbura 87 (54 b, 4x14, 6x1), Sameera de Zoysa 26, G. Wijekoon 2-25)

Ruhuna bt Kandurata by 1 run (on D/L Method) at Colts CC Grounds:


Kandurata 172 for 8 wkts in 20 ovs (Jeewan Mendis 47, Chinthaka Jayasinghe 46; Sujeewa de Silva 4-32)

Ruhuna 57 for 3 wkts in 6 ovs (Chaminda Vidanapathirana 2-22).

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Light at the end of the transit tunnel | Kumar Sangakkara

There is no doubt that Sri Lanka's recent one-day form is a source of concern. We have grown accustomed during the past decade to being a competitive international team, but since the World Cup last year the winning habit has proved frustratingly elusive with 12 defeats in 20 results.

However, any concern must be tinged with a clear understanding that we are a team in transition - Writes Kumar Sangakkara for Cricinfo Magazine.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

[Video] The New Murali? | Ajantha Mendis

Mendis in full flight, All his variations and dismissals narrated by Colin Croft for Sky Sports. +/- Expand Post

[Video] Sri Lanka Vs West Indies | 3rd ODI, 1st Session H/L

April 15, 2008

West Indies v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, St Lucia

Sri Lanka 257 for 8 (Udawatte 73, Dilshan 64) v West Indies 81 for 2 - match abandoned

Match package
Bulletin - Match abandoned after heavy rain
Gallery - Washout curtails West Indies chase

Preview package
Preview - West Indies target whitewash
News - Sammy excited by St Lucia match

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Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene drops English county spell

LONDON, April 16 (Reuters: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene will not be able to play for Derbyshire as planned because of changes to other playing commitments, the English county side said on their Web site (

The batsman had been scheduled to play from late April to mid-July but the move of the Asia Cup to June and changes to India's tour of Sri Lanka meant there was too little time to make a shortened contract worthwhile, the club said.

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Murali, the team-man, to the fore | IPL

The Sunday Island (LK): In a gesture that captured the essence of Muttiah Muralitharan’s spirit, the legendary spinner sprinted to the ground with bottles of mineral water for his teammates.

Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker he might be, but Muralitharan did not mind being the 12th man, at least for the moment. Muralitharan, the team-man, came to the fore on a hot, sweltering Monday at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

The occasion was the practice game for the Chennai Super Kings, the squad being split into two groups. And Muralitharan was the cynosure.

Soon, the Sri Lankan off-spin wizard began his stretching routine. Not much later, he was into the ground again, bringing with him more sunshine and extraordinary skills.

"He adds so much to the side. He is probably the best spinner in the world," said Australian batsman Michael Hussey.

Muralitharan said, "It is a good side. I feel at home here. Let’s wait for the matches to begin."

Former India captain and brand ambassador of the Chennai Super Kings, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, said, "Despite his achievements, Muralitharan is such a humble person. He is simple and very approachable."

Good cricketing brain

Srikkanth was seen having a lengthy conversation with Muralitharan in the pavilion. "We were discussing the various combinations in the IPL, their strengths and weaknesses. He has an excellent cricketing brain. His inputs off the field, in terms of strategy, will be very valuable too. I am happy that the son-in-law of Chennai is playing for Chennai," he said.

The practice match produced some entertaining cricket. The big and strong Jacob Oram sent the ball soaring over the stands. Parthiv Patel played some cracking strokes at the top of the order. Young paceman Manpreet Singh Goni generated some speed and extracted bounce. Of course, there was Muralitharan.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Be positive even in defeat | Kumar Sangakkara

As sportsmen you have to be positive, even in defeat. And this week we have been able to reflect back on the 1-1 series draw with West Indies and pick-out a few silver linings. However, sadly, those silver linings cannot erase the frustration of having shared a series we should have definitely won.

In my book this Sri Lanka team should have won 2-0 against West Indies. They have some quality players but as an overall group we should have been stronger. And having taken a 1-0 lead we should definitely have closed out the series. Unfortunately, in Trinidad, the basic truth is that we were outplayed.

Mid-way through that Test I believed we would win. Indeed, on the final day I also thought we would defend the 253-target and win. However, we lost our grip on the game during a crucial third morning, losing too many wickets against the new ball in our second innings.

Personally, I was extremely disappointed. First, I was involved in a run out - a criminal offence in such a tight game. Second, surprised by some extra bounce, I guided the simplest of catches in the gully. It was a poor stroke and with hindsight I was guilty of not taking greater time and care over constructing my innings.

Mahela's dismissal was also crucial. He was the victim of an unplayable delivery in the first innings, but he was still our form man in the second dig. We desperately needed him to spend some time in the middle. His second unfortunate dismissal, an inside edge onto the stumps this time, was a serious blow.

We started the second innings with a plan to bat four to five sessions. We realized the new ball would be a danger period. But we also knew that batting should become much easier afterwards. However, by the time it got easier half the side were back in the hutch. We lost too many wickets too quickly.

We still had a chance to clinch the game, though, thanks to Thilan Samaraweera's superb hundred, one of the best innings I have seen. He came into the second innings under huge personal pressure on what was a comeback tour. To bat like he did with us in such disarray was a huge show of character and hunger. To win, however, we needed to be faultless in the field. We were far from that. With the new ball, despite a couple of early wickets, we were guilty of giving Ramnaresh Sarwan too many scoring opportunities, helping him establish himself at the crease. We also missed a couple of half chances.

All credit to Sarwan, once started he batted beautifully. He stayed positive throughout, albeit helped by our ill-discipline, and his shot selection was excellent. He was troubled by Vaasy - the shining light of the series for us - who alone amongst the quick bowlers was able to maintain a tight line and length, and by Murali throughout, but he also played them skilfully and hung on in there.

It's not the first time that Sarwan has played well against us. During two home tours he has been a major thorn in our sides. I think this reflects the fact that his game is ideally suited to the kind of conditions we've played each other. His game was learned on the slow, turning surfaces of Guyana, similar conditions to what we Sri Lankans are used to.

The key to handling Sarwan is to tie him down, bowl one side of the wicket and make him search for runs. He is patient but he likes to see the ball disappear to the boundary. Vaasy exploited this expertly in the first Test. But in Trinidad the bowling unit could not create the same level of control.

"Some people were surprised by Sarwan and Chanderpaul's survival against Murali for so long on a fourth day pitch. I don't think you can read too much into that.

They both looked to be struggling against him to me, and they were helped by the docility of the pitch. If anything, Murali was forced to try perhaps a little too hard because the support at the forthcoming was not consistent."
As I have said, despite the loss, there were crumbs of comfort with some fine individual performances. Malinda Warnapura looked the part in Guyana and for a while in Trinidad. Michael Vandort batted sensibly and resolutely. Thilan produced a gem of an innings and generally showed how gutsy he is. Dilshan and Chamara batted beautifully together. Thilan Thushara can look back on a great first Test. As a team, I think we can be encouraged by those individual performances. I think we have a decent team structure now in Test cricket and we are gelling more and more. Both the openers and the middle order seem to be developing and there are bowlers emerging to support the injured trio we had to leave at home.

Straight after the Test, after one day's rest to reflect back on the game, we quickly had to switch gear and focus for the ODI series. This is a completely different challenge with a new team and game plan. After two losing ODI tours against England and in the CB Series in Australia, this is a chance to start rebuilding. We have some new faces and I hope some of them can make an impression this week.
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[Video] What makes Murali so great

Courtesy CricketCrowd

Lance Gibbs on Murali Magic..

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Murali's redemption, and our arrogance

A brilliant piece by Amit Varma for Cricinfo.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

9.40pm IST - What the chuck!

I received a number of interesting mails after my first post on this topic, about the rather convincing documentary Muttiah Muralitharan has made to prove his innocence, the nature of the optical illusion that his action creates, the unrelenting attitudes of both his supporters and his opponents, and the possible solutions to the whole issue of chucking. A lot of people agreed that Murali has done enough to be spared the trauma of repeated accusations; but a number of others raised objections that were reasonable and well argued.

Martin Brown, Arvind Sampath, Martin Bride and Chris Higginbottom all felt that bowling with a brace - and, thus, a legitimate action - for a documentary does not prove anything, because it does not mean that his action will remain in a match situation. Bride wrote, "If there was an inadvertent straightening that resulted from forces on his bowling arm the brace would prevent that from happening. Then, when he bowled without the brace, the same degree of straightening would occur."

Well, the documentary did prove one thing to me, that I had doubted earlier: that there is an optical illusion caused by Murali's bowling action. If he appeared to be straightening his arm with the brace on, when he obviously could not have done so, then the mere visual evidence alone, during a match, is not enough to convict him. It is not enough to exonerate him either, but we do presume a man innocent until proven guilty, and the fact that he appears to chuck is no case for the offence.

Another objection, raised by Vivek Shenoy and Prasanna Ganesan, is that he may have bowled his usual repertoire of deliveries cleanly during the tests, but he could still be chucking the odd ball during matches. Prasanna writes that the process of judging a bowler's action has "a fundamental flaw. It assumes that either a bowling action is flawed or it is not, and does not admit the possibility that a bowler can chuck the occasional ball without chucking all the time."

That's absolutely true - of any bowler. The effort balls of fast bowlers and the doosras of offspinners are often considered suspect, and this is a problem that the ICC will have to address at some point of time. Prasanna says, "In an ideal world, we would run an instantaneous test on every ball that is bowled to check whether it is a chuck or not. Technology to enable that seems far away. But the least we can hope for is to identify whether a ball is chucked or not from video footage of a match." I'm not sure if that is possible yet, given that a camera essentially throws up a two-dimensional picture that is often flawed, as in Murali's case, but I'm sure that if a bowler's action is covered from every angle, one can come to a judgement while accounting for optical illusions. In any case, that argument holds true for any bowler, so why should Murali be regarded with special suspicion?

The popular belief that Murali chucks is due to the optical illusion his action creates, but Arvind and Martin (Bride) also point out that his action for the doosra was, after all, found to be illegal recently, as per the current guidelines which define five degrees as the acceptable limit of flexion for spinners. The University of Western Australia, which came to this conclusion (and corrected his flex from 14 degrees to ten), also recommended that the ICC review their guidelines for chucking as they were flawed. If one accepts their authority for one observation, then why ignore the other one?

As the ICC recently admitted, some degree of elbow straightening has been detected in 99% of bowlers, including the likes of Courtney Walsh and Glenn McGrath. By the letter of the law as it has stood for over a century, thus, most bowlers are chuckers. In the light of this, the law clearly needs to be amended, and the ICC has tried to do just that, with its recommended guidelines of what degree of flexion is permissable. These guidelines, as Mukul Kesavan explains in the excellent piece that I linked to in my last post, are arbitary, and should be modified so that they are "uniform and enforcable".

The big question here is: what degree of flexion is acceptable? As Dave Richardson said, "Even a solid metal bar if rotated fast enough will display a degree of movement." Do we put the limit at the extent that is caused by these physical laws of movement and resistance? The opinion of the biomechanical experts, like the ones who made the recommendations of revisiting these guidelines, is critical here, and until the ICC delivers its judgement on this matter, and its rationale for that judgement, I'll remain an agnostic on whether 14 degrees is too much or not.

(Note that if you accept the report of the biomechanical experts that shows the flexion of the doosra to have been 14 degrees, you should also accept previous reports which have cleared Murali's offspinner and topspinner, and accept that the 500 or so wickets he took before he started employing the doosra are legitimate. Let's not be selective in our acceptance of the evidence here; that would be the confirmation bias at work.)

Among the others who wrote to me was Rajakumar, who said: "While the entire cricketing world was focussed on Murali's action, many of the fast bowlers have merrily chucked their way to glory and profit." Hmmm. Well, I have heard from reliable sources that a fast bowler whose name has been taken quite often in this context was found by the biomechanical dudes to have a flexion of forty degrees. This information isn't in the public domain yet, perhaps for political reasons, but clearly, something needs to be done about it. Whatever happens in that case, though, Murali deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Will he get it from the Australian prime minister? Theena writes to me: "I am going to sit back and wait for John Howard to amaze us with his cricket acumen if asked to comment on Murali's action. I wonder if he would say - 'Yes. They proved it on TV with that brace thing.'"

Now, wouldn't that be fun?

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SLC looking for manufacturers of Cricket equipment

Manufacturers of high quality Cricket Equipment who are willing to supply directly to Sri Lanka Cricket, equipment with SLC logo / brand are invited to send a detailed list of equipment you are able to supply and the relevant contact details i.e. Address, E-mail, Telephone / Fax Nos. and Name of Contact Person to the following E-mail Address.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

[Video] Nuwan Kulasekera Vs West Indies | 2nd ODI Trinidad 2008

Fantastic bowling by Nuwan to rip through the Windies top order.

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[Video] Sri Lanka Vs West Indies | 2nd ODI | Brief H/L

CBC News wrap up..

Brief Highlights and match wrap up, 2nd ODI Port of Spain Trinidad 2008.

WI v SL 2nd ODI scorecard

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chanderpaul and Samuels seal series for West Indies

Cricinfo: Shivnarine Chanderpaul came to West Indies' rescue for the second time in three days, cracking an unbeaten 52 to guide his side to a seven-wicket win in Trindad and, in doing so, they take the series.

It may not have matched Thursday for drama, but West Indies can be proud of dominating Sri Lanka for most of the day. Their bowlers, led by the increasingly mature Jerome Taylor, tied Sri Lanka in knots while the batsmen for once coped with the jolt of losing three early wickets. They cantered home in the end, but two hours beforehand the match was heading for a soggy conclusion as the clouds evacuated a torrent of rain on the Queen's Park Oval. Such is the superb drainage at the ground that play was able to resume, though cricket's favourite double act, Duckworth and Lewis, revised West Indies' total to a rather generous 125 from 25 overs.

Predictably, they did their best to make a meal of it. Nuwan Kulasekara exposed Dwayne Bravo's gaping gate, cutting one back to bowl him, and Chris Gayle wellied the same bowler straight to mid-on to leave them tottering on 15 for 2. Kulasekara wasn't finished: he trapped Ramnaresh Sarwan in front for 1, and West Indies still needed 107 from 113 balls.

Enter Chanderpaul. After his nail-biting last-ball six in the first one-dayer, today's scenario was far less worrisome and he casually calmed West Indies' nerves, nudging and nurdling singles before exploding when the loose balls presented themselves. Kaushalya Weeraratne thought he had him caught behind for five but it was turned down, prompting Chanderpaul into a furious onslaught. A premeditated pull through midwicket was followed by a sweetly pinged six over deep midwicket, and he made it a triplet of boundaries with a third pulled four in the same region. He and West Indies were in no mood to kowtow to Sri Lanka's medium pacers.

Meanwhile, Samuels was at his belligerent best, bashing Chaminda Vaas for consecutive fours; hoiking Kapugedera for six over midwicket, then another at long-on. West Indies were racing towards their target, and Samuels made sure of it with another huge six off Sri Lanka's mystery spinner, Ajantha Mendis, who tonight was rather more earthly than his deliciously mercurial display in the first ODI. Samuels' slap for six over long-off hit the top tier of the stand, simultaneously burying Sri Lanka's spirits. Chanderpaul notched his fifty from 40 balls; Samuels' took 48 and West Indies galloped home with 27 balls to spare.

For all Chanderpaul and Samuels' ease in reaching their target, they have their bowlers to thank for restricting Sri Lanka so well. Taylor led the attack brilliantly, ably supported by Daren Powell, the pair tying Sri Lanka in knots. Taylor took 1 for 6 in his opening spell, rarely straying from the off stump and troubling both Upul Tharanga and Mahela Udawatte. Udawatte, who fell for nought on debut two days ago, broke his international duck with a neat tuck off his hips through midwicket. There is a consensus of opinion that Udawatte is a dead ringer - stylistically at any rate - for Sanath Jayasuriya, and when he crashed Fidel Edwards for four over point, the similarities were clear. After clouting another four in the same over, he fell to a superb slower-ball from Taylor, trying to launch him over point.

Then followed a steady partnership of 40 between Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara, before the first of two rain showers interrupted proceedings. Afterwards, Sri Lanka's approach smacked of desperation and they lost 3 for 7 in 13 balls, with Gayle removing Sangakkara and Chamara Silva. It was a position from which they couldn't recover, though the second rain break didn't give them chance to make amends.

Chanderpaul won the first ODI almost single handedly, and again he has thwarted Sri Lanka with another matchwinning knock. What price experience? It is a question which might be haunting Mahela Jayawardene and his new young side.

Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Kumar Sangakkara | This is Cricket

Kumar's official website to be launched soon! Launch date to be announced.. stay tuned.. +/- Expand Post

[Video] The Mystery Spinner | Ajantha Mendis 4/50 Vs Basnahira N. | 2008

Basnahira North v Wayamba

Murali mark II?


April 11, 2008

Tougher days surely lie ahead, but Ajantha Mendis appears to be a spin bowler with a bright future based on the evidence of his one-day international debut for Sri Lanka against West Indies in Trinidad. He bowled impressively to collect 3 for 39 as Sri Lanka narrowly failed to win the opening match of the series.

It brought to mind Muttiah Muralitharan when he first stepped onto the international scene with his freakish bowling action. Mendis trapped Gayle lbw with a delivery that went straight on, bamboozled Darren Sammy with a flipper that totally squared him up and skidded through to hit the top of off-stump, before holding his nerve after Jerome Taylor clubbed him for six, tossing the next ball up having caught on the long-on boundary.

Even Ramnaresh Sarwan appeared clueless at times to what Mendis was delivering, and at one stage, after being deceived by the flight and the turn of a delivery, the West Indies vice-captain looked quizzically at the young spinner with an expression that seemed to suggest he didn't have a clue.

Dwayne Bravo, who won the Man-of-the-Match ward, agreed that it was difficult to pick Mendis.

"To be honest, when we saw his stats - after 19 first-class matches, he had 111 wickets at an average of 14.54 - we knew he had to be bowling something good," he said.

"Sarwan had problems picking him, and from the time we saw this, most of the batters retreated to the dressing room, and had a close look at his hand on the TV monitor.

"I actually went and had a look at his hand on the computer, and it was still really difficult to pick him, but I found that once you are prepared to watch the ball closely, it is half the job done.

He is a very good bowler, and we will have to go back to drawing board to try to come up with a way to score off his bowling freely."

The Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss felt it was an promising effort from Mendis, and he too, believes he could have a long career in the game. "I could tell you about his variations if I knew what they were, and even a lot of our guys struggle to know what he is doing with the ball," Bayliss said.

"The poise that he had in the first ODI - not just what he was bowling - to be able to keep a lid on things under pressure in one-day cricket is a very good sign. This has been the exceptional thing from my point of view. To be able to maintain his composure and do what he normally does was brilliant."

Bayliss agreed that ODIs were not the best place to experiment, and many coaches may have dissuaded Mendis from doing things his own way, but he said he was prepared to Mendis continue with his natural game.

"We just told him to go out there and do whatever he has done in the past," he said. "But it's how young players handle the pressure of international cricket that's critical, and he handled it very well.

"From my point of view, the higher up the ladder you go in this game, it's more of a mental thing. It's how you cope with pressure, and if something is working for him at one level, it's no reason why it cannot work at the next."

Bayliss says the comparisons with Muralitharan will be inevitable, but for now he is just pleased to have young slow bowlers of the quality of Mendis and legspinner Malinga Bandara at his disposal.

"Who knows, one day on one of those typical pitches in south Asia, we will pick all three," he said. For the purists, this would be a delicious prospect.

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Army Cricket’s Golden Era

Finally, Sri Lanka Army SC has got a reason to walk with their heads held high in the cricket field – one of their ilk has made it to the national team.

Right arm medium paceman (some identify him as a spinner) Ajantha Mendis has just taken wing to join Sri Lanka ODI squad in the West Indies, and his inclusion in the national squad is a major achievement for his club, Army SC. Agrees Major General V.R. Silva, Chairman Army Cricket.

“We are naturally happy and proud,” says Major General Silva. “Mendis has done really well to earn his place in the national squad. It also is a remarkable achievement for Sri Lanka Army. This marks the first occasion since 1970 that a soldier played for the national team.” In 1970 Brigadier (Retd) H.I.K. Fernando represented Ceylon against an English team captained by Tony Lewis.

Mendis, who bowls a mixture of googlies, offbreaks, top-spinners, flippers and legbreaks, has turned in an outstanding performance in this year’s Premier League tournament with a record haul of 68 wickets; that surely must have offered him a fast track to the top. Add to that his show in the Inter-Provincial tourney where he won the admiration of Sri Lanka Captain Mahela Jayawardene. However, Mendis is not the sole reason for Army’s jubilation this season. His feats have come on top of a superlative show by his team. Army SC has emerged Tier ‘B’ Premier League champions.

“We won nine matches this season,” contends Major General Silva. “Eight of those were outright victories and the only first innings win came as rain intervened. I think it must be a record.” Right throughout, Army SC captained by Lance Corporal Navantha Ratnayake, remained ‘invincible’ and their proud chairman thinks Army cricket has entered its ‘Golden Era’.

“It was during 2002/03 season that we started playing cricket seriously,” amiable General recalls. “Within five years we have come on top of our segment in the premier domestic tournament. We have also produced a national player – it bodes well for Army.

“All credit should go to these cricketers. They practise hard and always do their best.”

Army cricket has had its fair share of struggles as well. At first the soldiers didn’t have a proper ground to do their practices and play their home matches. They had to play on burrowed grounds in Colombo. “First we used the ground that belonged to Artillery Regiment in Panagoda. It was not a proper cricket venue,” the General remembers. “Finally we managed to develop this ground (also situated inside the Panagoda cantonment) into a proper cricket venue. We were helped by Sri Lanka Cricket in developing it.” Now, they practise and play their home matches at Muthukumaru ground (named after the first Sri Lankan Army chief after independence, Anton Muthukumaru).

The Army SC clinched the Sara Trophy in 2005/06 and got promoted to the Premier League. In 2006/07 they ended up Tier ‘B’ runners-up in the limited overs tournament. They also produced the best batsmen in their segment in the premier tournaments – Indika Karunaratne (limited overs) and Manjula Soyza (Premier). This season they lost their limited overs semi-final to BRC on a toss of a coin after rain played havoc.

In their march to the top Army SC has been helped by two coaches, Saman Hewawitharana and Neil Rajapakshe.

“One thing I should mention about this team is that most of the players are soldiers,” General Silva points out. “They have a lot of potential and there’s not doubt about their fighting spirit. In one match they were bowled out for 57 runs and then conceded a first innings lead of over 120 runs. Finally they fought back to win the match.”

Rajapakshe has joined Army SC for this season and he was overjoyed seeing his players’ perfect run in the league. “With our victory we should be promoted to Tier ‘A’,” Rajapakshe points out. “But from what I gather Sri Lanka Cricket is planning to overhaul the Premier structure. I don’t know where we’ll end up.”

Army SC’s performance in the Premier League tournament:

Beat Saracens SC by an innings and 41 runs at BRC ground (Jan. 18, 19, 20 2008) - Army 393; Saracens 188, 164

Beat BRC by 10 wickets at Army ground, Panagoda (Jan. 25, 26, 27) – BRC 232 and 202; Army 347 and 91 for no loss.

Beat Lankan CC by 3 wickets at Panagoda (Feb. 1, 2, 3) – Lankan CC 164 and 283; Army 206 and 243 for 7.

Beat Sebastianites C&AC by 8 wickets at St. Sebastian’s College ground (Feb. 15, 16, 17) – Sebastianites 162 and 165; Army 198 and 130 for 2.

Beat Singha SC by 43 runs at Panagoda (Feb. 22, 23, 24) – Army 57 and 255; Singha SC 177 and 92.

Beat Air Force by 4 wickets at Air Force ground (Feb. 29, Mar. 1, 2) – Air Force 209 and 92; Army 156 and 146 for 6.

Beat Police by 6 wickets at Panagoda (Mar. 7, 8, 9) – Police 103 and 111; Army 156 and 61 for 4.

Vs Panadura SC at Panadura Esplanade (Mar. 14, 15, 16) Match drawn (Army on first inngs) – Panadura SC 197; Army 218.

Courtesy Lakbima

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The Mendis factor: Sri Lanka's new spin-king looks the heir to Murali's cricket throne

The 23-year-old army recruit was brought to the West Indies as a filler for Muttiah Muralitharan. One mesmerising spell of 10 overs in his ODI debut was enough to persuade Sportingo's Mark Rivlin that Ajantha Mendis is going to be a massive success.

Having been married for nearly 20 years, and therefore not having much to excite me in the evenings, I put my feet up with a cool beer and settled down to the last 30 overs of the West Indies chasing 236 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka.

And my testosterone levels were revived at the sight of what could be the future of international spin bowling.

When Ajantha Mendis was thrown the ball by Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene I thought to myself, 'Ah, here's the gofer the tourists have brought along to replace Muttiah Muralitharan'.

My words were not just eaten, they were devoured by a truly mesmerising spell of spin bowling which was translated into fabulous figures of 3-39 in 10 overs. Any bowler in the world - Murali included - would be proud of these figures but, considering this was Mendis' debut in international cricket, they are astounding.

The 23-year-old, we were told, plays his cricket for the Sri Lankan army. I suggest he's going to make a right officers' mess of hundreds of international batsmen's stumps in years to come.

This guy is the real deal. We were told he is a finger spinner, and he certainly is. But he's also a whole lot more. He has the lot - wrist spin, doosra, leg-break, off-break and, in the case of Darren Sammy, stump break. The nearest comparison I could make would be legendary Aussie Jack Iverson, the so-called "mystery spinner" whose action and grip caused havoc in the '40s and '50s.

What I liked most about Mendis was his cheeky confidence. He knew he had the Windies top order under his spell and he strutted around like a new kid on the block that no one was going to mess with. This is the mark of a young player who has the potential to become massive.

All this is great for cricket. It will not be long before a legend in the shape of Murali finds himself in the commentary box, and his successor is ready for action. What a treat for the fans.

The game itself was one of those once-in-a-decade classics with Shivnarine Chanderpaul hitting a near-impossible 10 off two balls to win the game for the Windies (I wouldn't have minded a spread bet on that outcome). Chaminda Vaas, with more than 300 ODIs under his belt, couldn't tie Chanderpaul down for two balls.

Jayawardene will learn from this. In future run chases he should throw the ball to his junior spin doctor who, on Thursday's performance, will have his team-mates in stitches.

Roll on Saturday for the next instalment.

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[Video] Ajantha Mendis | The Mystery Spinner on debut

Although classified as a right-arm, slow-medium bowler, Ajantha Mendis is a spinner who bowls a mixture of googlies, offbreaks, top-spinners, flippers and legbreaks.

Batsmen have been confounded by the variety of deliveries he has up his sleeve and are at a loss to figure out what his stock delivery is.

Mendis was a prolific wicket-taker for Sri Lanka Army in the 2007-08 season and had taken 46 wickets at an average of 10.56 and strike-rate of 31 from six matches. His performances did not go unnoticed for Mendis was called up to the Sri Lanka squad for the tour of West Indies in April 2008 - Cricinfo Staff March 2008.

Cricinfo player profile

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

The new Murali?

To steal shamelessly from Jon Landau, the man entrusted with selling a scraggy wannabe Bob Dylan by the name of Bruce Springsteen to the planet in 1975, I have just seen the future of spin bowling – and his name is Ajantha Mendis. Writes Rob Steen for Rob's Lobs on Cricinfo.

Until now, given the recent stumbles of Danish Kaneria and the apparent failure of several young Australian twirlers to live up to their billing, detecting the seeds of a new generation of spinners worthy of following the holy trinity of Warne, Murali and Kumble has been a troubling and deflating quest. Whisper it softly, but on the evidence of his international debut in Port-of-Spain today, however chastening his team’s astonishing defeat may have been, this wide-eyed 23-year-old member of the Sri Lankan army could well emerge as the leader of the new pack.

Friends in Colombo had warned me that something special was on the horizon, trumpeting Mendis as the owner of the freakiest fingers since Jack Iverson. They weren’t exaggerating by much. Googlies, leggies, offies and flippers all eased effortlessly from that precociously adaptable right hand, facilitated by three distinct modes of release – barely discernible to the devoted couch potato and leaving the batsmen groping and clueless.

The ball that bamboozled and lbw-ed Chris Gayle, just as the West Indies captain was threatening to turn a tricky chase into a jaunt, was a worthy calling card. The one that curved in and straightened to take off stump was utterly wasted on Darren Sammy. No less impressive was the way Mendis held his nerve after Jerome Taylor clouted him for six, tossing the next ball up in similar fashion and reaping the reward of an outfield catch.

With the game reeling groggily as the implications of the IPL set traditionalists against innovators, old world against new, Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s improbable sixes off the fifth and last balls of the final over in Trinidad were a profoundly welcome shot in the arm, a reminder that sport is more about drama and improbability than dollars and nonsense. The advent of Mendis could be that and much, much more.

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[Video] West Indies v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Trinidad '08 | 2nd Session H/L

West Indies 236 for 9 (Chanderpaul 62*, Gayle 52, Mendis 3-39) beat Sri Lanka 235 for 7 (Kapugedera 95, Silva 67, Bravo 4-32) by one wicket
Scorecard and commentary

Match package

Bulletin - Chanderpaul clinches final-ball thriller
Gallery Archive - Going, going ... gone

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[Video] West Indies v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Trinidad '08 | 1st Session H/L

West Indies 236 for 9 (Chanderpaul 62*, Gayle 52, Mendis 3-39) beat Sri Lanka 235 for 7 (Kapugedera 95, Silva 67, Bravo 4-32) by one wicket

Match package

Bulletin - Chanderpaul clinches final-ball thriller
Gallery Archive - Going, going ... gone

Courtesy Cricinfo

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[Video] Chamara Kapugedera 95 VS West Indies | 1st ODI '08

1st ODI Sri Lanka Vs West Indies 10 APR 08

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

[Video] Thilan Thushara Mirando 47(27) Vs Ruhuna | 8 January 2008

Click the Title above if no video is visible

Thilan Thushara displays his skill as a hard hitting batsman.

Sri Lanka Cricket Inter-Provincial Limited Over Tournament, Kandurata v Ruhuna.
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[Video] Murali Magic | The Doosra | Craig McMillan

Murali sets Craig McMillan up for a beauty..

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[Video] Chamara Kapugedera 63(65) Vs Ruhuna 8 January 2008


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Lankans make sweeping changes for ODIs

CricketNext: Sri Lanka will use the three-match one-day international series against West Indies which opens here on Thursday to kick-start their preparations for the 2011 World Cup.

Sri Lanka have made sweeping changes to the squad which drew the preceding two-Test series 1-1 with their hosts, and seven new players have been included to boost their stocks.

"There are a lot of youngsters, and what we are trying to do is develop a team for the next World Cup," Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said.

"We are going to try a few guys, some exciting youngsters. We want to be competitive against West Indies and see where we are in terms of our preparation for the World Cup.

"It's going to be a very good series because West Indies are a very good one-day unit as well."

Joining the squad for the ODI series are openers Upul Tharanga and Chamara Kapugedera, batsmen Ajantha Mendis, Mahela Udawatte, and Jehan Mubarak, all-rounder Kaushalya Weeraratne, and leg-spinner Malinga Bandara.

They have replaced Michael Vandort, Malinda Warnapura, Thilan Samaraweera, Prasanna Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ishara Amerasinge, and Chanaka Welegedara.

"Test cricket and ODI cricket are totally different, and you need to totally focus yourself on the ODIs differently," Jayawardene said.

"We've got new guys coming into the set-up. Our challenge is to try and blend quickly as possible, get them going and play some good cricket. We're looking forward to it."

Sri Lanka will jointly host the 2011 World Cup with India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and Jayawardene disclosed that his side is again setting itself the goal of reaching the Final as they did in the 2007 version in the Caribbean where they lost to three-time defending champions Australia.

"Cricket is going to go on, and players will come and go," he said. "We just need to make sure we have the right combinations going.

"It is just two-and-a-half years away from the World Cup. We need to make sure we get the personnel right and give opportunities.

"If you are going to bring youngsters in, those guys need to play at least 40 or 50 ODIs before the World Cup."

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Jayasuriya hoping to impress in IPL

Rediff: Former Sri Lanka opener Sanath Jayasuriya, currently out of the country's limited-overs' side, is eager to make a mark for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, staring April 18, and stake claim for a berth in the national team.

"I am looking forward to playing in the tournament and helping Mumbai Indians win the title. It will be a great thing in my career to open with Sachin (Tendulkar), the best player in the world. I am really happy to open with him," said Jayasuriya, in a teleconference from Sri Lanka.

"I met up with him in Hobart during the one-day series in Australia and discussed the IPL. I always love to play for my country, but this is different, with all teams having a mixture of players from various countries. I will give my best for Mumbai," said the former Sri Lanka captain.

Saying the Mumbai squad is strong, he pointed out that apart from himself and Tendulkar, the team has retired South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock, Dilhara Fernando and young Indian batsman Robin Uthappa.

"We have quite a few good players in Pollock, Uthappa, Loots Bosman (of South Africa). It's going to be exciting, as we would be playing against other Sri Lankan players, like Kumar (Sangakkara), Mahela (Jayawardene), (Lasith) Malinga and (Muthiah) Murali(tharan)," he said.

Jayasuriya, dropped from Sri Lanka's one-day team playing in the West Indies, maintained that he is fit and working hard for the IPL.

"I am young too. I am very fit and working hard. I want to perform with bat and ball," said the 38-year-old marauder from Matara, in Sri Lanka.

"It (Twenty20) may be a young man's game but I have worked hard. I will try and make sure Mumbai wins (the title)," said Jayasuriya, who played a crucial role in his country winning the 1996 World Cup.

The veteran batsman did not favour a blanket ban on sledging as being demanded by the Indian cricket board, but wants umpires to take a more active role to keep it in check.

"We are all humans and you can't stop the chatter [between rival players] completely. You have to handle it carefully and the umpires are there [for this purpose]," said the scorer of nearly 7,000 Test runs.

Jayasuriya, whose record of 411 ODIs has since been overtaken by Tendulkar, was disappointed that Sri Lanka could not clinch the recent Test series in the West Indies.

"We played pretty well in Guyana but could not win the series, losing the second Test in Trinidad. Four early wickets cost us dear and this is an area we need to look into," he felt.

The injury-prone Fernando, expected to open the Mumbai Indians attack with Pollock, said it is great to play with Tendulkar and the other top players.

"It's great to play with Sachin and other international players. I have almost recovered fully [from injury]. I can do a lot for Mumbai," he said.

Six youngsters of the team, including a few Ranji Trophy players, said they would gain a lot of experience playing alongside or against leading international players.

Mumbai Ranji players Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Nair, Maharashtra's Yogesh Takawale, Baroda's Rajesh Pawar, Dhawal Kulkarni and Aniket Chavan said they would benefit immensely from the tournament.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

[PIC] Lasith Malinga at Mcdonalds

The 'Slinga' grabbing a bite at Mcdonalds, Sri Lanka. Images courtesy Sri Lanka_friends @ yahoo groups.

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[Video] Mahela Udawatte 55 v Basnahira South | Sri Lanka Domestic Cricket

Watch the video here: Mahela Udawatte Video

Wayamba v Basnahira South at Colombo (RPS) - Dec 29, 2007
Wayamba won by 127 runs
Wayamba 253/9 (50 ov); Basnahira South 126 (28.1 ov)

Courtesy Cricinfo

A prolific run-getter for Ananda College, Mahela Udawatte's talents as a top-order batsman were not immediately recognised when he was overlooked for the Sri Lankan Under-19 team in 2003 despite scoring more than 1000 runs for his school that season. He got his break after he joined Chilaw Marians SC straight after school. Promoted to open the batting - he had batted at No. 3 at school - he reeled off three hundreds in five matches in the 2004-05 U-23 tournament, and was rewarded with a place in the Development Squad. He soon made it into the A team for the tour to England in 2007 after top-scoring for his club in the Premier final against SSC in 2005-06, making 60 out of a total of 202 against an attack which included Dilhara Fernando and Nuwan Zoysa. A powerful and attacking batsman who likes to take on the quick bowlers, Udawatte is seen as a future prospect for the Sri Lanka one-day side, perhaps as a replacement for Sanath Jayasuriya. Rated highly by experts in Sri Lanka, including Mahela Jayawardene, Udawatte earned a call-up to the national squad for the tour of West Indies in 2008. Writes
Sa'adi Thawfeeq for cricinfo. +/- Expand Post

[Videos] Sarwan guides windies home | SL VS WI DAY 4 H/L 2008

Courtesy Cricketcrowd

Click the Title above if no video is visible

Sri Lanka Vs WI | 2nd Test Day 4 | Queens park Oval, Trinidad | 6TH APR 2008 +/- Expand Post

[Video] Sri Lanka Vs West Indies | 2nd Test | Presentation ceremony

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Queens park Oval | Trinidad & Tobago | 6TH APR 2008 +/- Expand Post

Victorious Windies deny Sri Lanka Test sweep

AFP: PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (AFP) — Sri Lanka failed in their bid to win a Test series in the Caribbean for the first time when Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul led the West Indies to a six-wicket victory in the second and final Test on Sunday.

Sarwan hit 102, his 10th Test century, while Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 86, as West Indies, chasing 253, reached their target a little over an hour after tea, when Devon Smith hit a delivery from Muttiah Muralitharan through cover for four to a cacophony of noise from the 8,000 crowd at the Queen's Park Oval.

The result meant that the two-Test series ended 1-1 after Sri Lanka won the opening Test by 121 runs in Guyana.

West Indies avoided being swept in a home Test series of any length for the first time in their eight decades of Test involvement.

For three and a quarter hours, Sri Lanka toiled to dislodge either Sarwan or Chanderpaul, but they failed until West Indies were will within sight of victory with 23 runs left to get.

Prior to this innings, Sarwan had scores of 80, 72, and 57 in the series, and he was a relieved man when he hit Muralitharan to deep fine leg for the last of his 15 boundaries to reach his hundred.

Unfortunately, he was not able to carry West Indies all the way to victory, and Muralitharan finally broke through, when the home team vice-captain, moving down the pitch, inside-edged a delivery into his pad and was caught at second slip.

But there was no letting up at the other end as Chanderpaul, who had been a shadow of himself throughout the series with scores of 23, 3, and 18, suddenly blossomed.

He too, looked satisfied, after reaching 50, when he guided Thilan Thushara to wide third man for a single.

Sri Lanka started the day knowing that history was on their side since West Indies had been successful in only one of their last five run chases at this venue, and that was a decade ago, when they pursued 282 to beat England.

When the visitors captured three wickets - two to Chaminda Vaas - to hold the early advantage before rain prompted an early lunch with the home team on 93 for three, they would have been optimistic.

The hardworking Thilan Thushara produced the breakthrough when West Indies captain Chris Gayle recklessly slashed at a delivery of no great merit and was caught at backward point for 10.

Next over, Vaas struck, when he had Chattergoon lbw for 11 playing forward and across a well-pitched delivery moving back from outside the off-stump to leave West Indies 24 for two.

But Sri Lanka's progress was slowed, when the embattled Marlon Samuels joined Sarwan at the wicket and they settled the nerves with a stand of 49 for the third wicket.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene brought back Vaas for a second spell from the Queen's Park Cricket Club pavilion end and he broke the partnership.

Vaas tempted Samuels with a juicy half-volley outside the off-stump which the batsman drove loosely and was caught low down at cover for 11.

After lunch, Sri Lanka's bowlers failed to make a breakthrough as Sarwan and Chanderpaul knuckled down to carry West Indies to 194 for three when rain prompted an earlier than scheduled tea.

Jayawardene could not find an appropriate combination to put a lid on the West Indies scoring, and this allowed Chanderpaul the freedom to come through a shaky early period to reach his 50.

The two sides now contest a three-match ODI series.

The first two games are here on Thursday and Saturday. The series ends on April 15 with a day/night fixture in St. Lucia.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

[Video] Sri Lanka Vs West Indies | 2nd Test, Day 3 | Evening Session | Trinidad '08

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Queens park oval | 5th APR 2008 +/- Expand Post

Saturday, April 5, 2008

All Sri Lankan team at ICL

Sunday Times LK: There are moves to field an all Sri Lankan team for the next round of ICL series which is scheduled to be held in November. According to reliable sources four local outstanding fringe players (all are allrounders) have already signed on.

Besides the four players the ICL scouts are on the lookout for a further four to five players which will make up the final thirteen. There is yet room for a wicket-keeper, two batsmen, a left arm spinner and an off spinner.Former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu will be the team’s coach cum captain while Saman Jayantha, Russell Arnold and Upul Chandana are already there.

The other countries who will have all national teams are -- India, Pakistan and South Africa

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[Video] Sri Lanka Vs WI | 2nd Test, Day 3 | Post Lunch Session

Post lunch session | 05 APR 2008

Click here to download via Rapid share. File size 11.6MB +/- Expand Post

[Video] Sri Lanka VS WI | 2nd Test, Day3 Morning Session

Queenspark Oval | Port of Spain Trinidad | 05 APR 2008

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[Video] Sri Lanka Vs West Indies | 2nd Test, 2nd Innings WI - FOW

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West Indies 2nd Innings fall of wickets | Murali's 63rd - 5 wicket haul.

Rapidshare download (unedited)12.3MB


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[Video] Sri Lanka Vs West Indies | 2nd Test, Day 1 | Trinidad 2008

Courtesy Cricket Crowd

Click the Title above if no video is visible

Day 1 Highlights | Queens park Oval

1st day
Bulletin - Dilshan wrests initiative for Sri Lanka
Gallery - Dilshan and Silva spark recovery
Quotes - Collymore provides right advice for Edwards

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

[Video] Sri Lanka Vs West Indies | 2nd Test, Day 1 | Morning Session

Morning Session Queens Park Oval 3RD APR 2008 +/- Expand Post

Lankans make one change, Silva in for Jayawardena

The Sri Lankans will make one change in their team to face the West Indies in the Second Test beginning at the Queen's Park Oval tomorrow. Prasanna Jayawardena who has still not recovered from a hamstring strain, will make way for Chamara Silva with Kumar Sangakkara taking on the gloveman's job. Writes Elmo Rodrigopulle for the Ceylon Daily News.

"Jayawardena has still not fully recovered and this being a crucial Test match we do not want to take a chance and have Jayawardena breaking down again. So we decided to bring back Silva", said tour selector Jayantha Seneviratne.

One thing the Lankans must do well is to guard against complacency. The West Indies who are smarting after their first Test defeat in Guyana by 121 runs are sure to come back hard at the Sri Lankans.

If the Lankans continue to play the way they did in Guyana, then there is no reason why they should not triumph in this Test too and become the first team to win a series in the Caribbean. Mahela Jayawardena and his team, put pressure on the home team from the first ball and never let them wriggle out of that situation.

They must go for the jagular from the first ball here too and not let go till the final ball is bowled and the Test won.

Winning of the toss will be of vital importance. Jayawardeana called correctly in Guyana and if that luck continues, then he will be in a position to dictate terms to the Windies. The wicket at Queen's Park Oval has a history of favouring spin bowlers, after the early help for the quicks. So with Muttiah Muralitheran and Rangana Herath, two of the best spinners in the game, winning of the toss would be advantageous. Chaminda Vaas will always trouble the Windies batsman.

Once again the Lankans would be looking for a sound start from the openers Michael Vandort and Malinda Warnapura. Both batted with confidence to blunt he pace of Darren Powell and Jerome Taylor and post a good stand. Warnapura made his maiden Test ton and Vandort a patient 52.

One drop Kumar Sangakkara made a well compiled 50, but failed to turn that into a big score which he is capable of. Skipper Mahela Jayawardena played one of his best innings in making his 22nd hundred in Test cricket. With the wicket not favouring stroke play, Jayawardena waited patiently like a vulture for the loose ball to execute for runs. His knock was a study in concentration and an example to his team mates.

Then when it came to leading, he did it from the front and in fact showed his opposite number Christopher Gayle how.

Runs are also expected from Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva and Chaminda Vaas. Samaraweera missed out in the first innings but came good in the second. Silva has not been in the good batting form that he is renowned for. But is known to come good on the big occasion. Vaas in addition to his excellent bowling, came good with the bat which helped him to win the man of the match award.

The Lankans must continue the good work on the field. Muralitheran as usual will continue to tease and lure the Windies batsmen to their destruction. Another destructive spell is expected from Vaas' new ball partner Thilina Thusara Mirando.

Windies in disarray

As for the West Indies they are at the moment in disarray. This problem was caused with the refusal of skipper Gayle to open batting in the second innings. This negative attitude began to rub off on his team mates which led to their ultimate defeat. How Gayle will go in this Test will be interesting to watch and a move that could ultimately decide the result of this Test.

A call went out for spectators to boycott this Test if home town hero Amit Jaggernauth is not included in the Test. In a Carib Beer game against Barbados which ended a few days back, Jaggernauth played himself into contention and rammed it down the selectors throat with a match bag of 10 wickets with his vicious off spinners. it would be inexplicable if he misses out again.

The batsmen to impress in the Guyana Test were Dwaynne Bravo and Ronnie Sarwan, while the other batsmen failed to get going. Sarwan especially batted excellently in both innings and is expected to carry on the good form.

A failure was the ever reliable Shiv Chanderpaul. The left hander has the ability to make big scores. That he failed was a setback to the Windies. He is too good to keep failing and is expected to come good this time round. As for the bowling they will again be relying on medium pacer Jerome Taylor with support coming from Darren Powell, Suleiman Benn and Amit Jaggernauth if he plays.

One thing the Windies must improve in is their fielding, both ground and more importantly the catching. They probably have forgotten the adage that catches win matches.

A Test match with no quarter asked or given is on the cards and if the teams play the way we know they can, then a blockbuster is on the cards.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Series win - tops our shopping list | Chaminda Vaas

What a week it has been for Sri Lankan cricket! Our first test victory on West Indian soil was the climax of five days of intense and often tense cricket, where we held our nerve to prove our superiority. And this achievement was made all the more memorable for me as I was able to contribute with both bat and ball. The wicket at the Providence Stadium in Guyana-rebuilt for last year’s World Cup but of an unknown quantity in terms of test cricket-was an absolute feather-bed and we knew bowlers were in for a hard time on this track. Writes Chaminda Vaas in his weekly column for The Sunday Times.

The batsmen continued the form they showed in the practice game. The opening partnership between Vandort and Warnapura set the pace. Warnapura especially batted extremely well for his century showing his determination to cement his place as an opener in the test squad. Mahela’s innings of 136 which followed was a captain’s knock and I was happy to contribute too with a fifty. I have been working a lot on my batting of late and I wanted to put my head down and play a long innings. A 126-run partnership with Mahela at the other end was just perfect to set us up for a declaration.

The Windies, when they batted failed to show the kind of application required on this track, losing wickets at regular intervals. For us, newcomer Thilan Thushara was impressive and seems to be a promising prospect to emerge from our current crop of up and coming fast bowlers. Sri Lanka has unearthed several pacemen in the recent past: Lasith Malinga, Farveez Maharoof, Chanaka Welagedera, Nuwan Kulasekera and Ishara Amerasinghe to name a few. Some have come through school cricket and some have been ‘discovered’ in the domestic competition but this trend is more than welcome.

Our bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake had a hand in moulding them, fine tuning their skills. Now though, it is up to them to live up to expectations. It is no easy task as pacemen has to train hard and maintain peak fitness, if they want to perform at the highest levels for any length of time. When the West Indies ended day three at 269 for nine there was a lot of talk about the game being tantalisingly poised with the Windies needing another eight runs to make Sri Lanka bat again. The reality though, was quite different.

We had already decided to bat a second time because, bowling on that batting friendly track with just four bowlers to share the workload is back-breaking business and we couldn’t have done that all over again at an optimal level. Our thinking was to bat again, go for quick runs, put up a target of 400 runs or more and leave the Windies four sessions-about 120 overs- to chase a target, giving us sufficient time to bowl them out. In the end, we declared at 240 for seven, setting them a target of 437 runs-which was a bonus.

At the end of day four the Windies were 96 for one in 23 overs and there was some speculation in the media that they would have a go at the target. In our dressing room though, we were not unduly worried. The ball was new and we knew that when it became older, the runs would dry up. Our strategy was to ensure this would happen which is why we persisted with Murali and Herath before lunch on the last day. Rangana in fact was the unsung hero of the game-he kept one end tied down superbly with the first 19 overs of the day costing only 32 runs. That ensured that a run chase by the Windies was simply not on and then it was up to us to get the initial breakthrough and then pick up the remaining wickets.

Much has been made about Windies skipper Gayle’s decision to bat down the order because of my success against him where I have dismissed him seven times in six tests, five of them for ducks. It is somewhat similar to the success I have had against New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming in one-dayers.

Gayle has been criticized in the Windies for that decision but I see nothing wrong with it. Dwayne Bravo was uncomfortable facing Murali early on, and Gayle was not happy encountering me first up, so they swapped places. Bravo scored 83 and Gayle was unbeaten 51, so the Windies skipper should be commended, not condemned!

After the Windies middle order batting failed to live up to expectations, their tail offered strong resistance with Gayle holding one end up admirably. The ball was old and hard and reversing, so we delayed taking the new ball. In fact, I wanted to continue with the older ball but after some time, Mahela decided otherwise and in the end, it was the new ball that did the trick. That decision showed Mahela’s maturity as a captain-it is so easy to play under a skipper who is not only knowledgeable about the game but is also willing to take a bold decision.

Murali’s stunning roll-over catch to dismiss Powell was a fitting end to the game, embodying the determination and skill we brought to the game. Despite our margin of victory it was a close call-the Windies only had to bat a few more overs and about fifteen minutes to save the game.

I was more than happy to pick up five for 61 and the man of the match award. I was part of Sri Lanka’s first test win overseas at Napier against New Zealand in 1995 and took 10 for 90 in that game and was named man of the match there. To repeat that kind of performance after thirteen years is a great experience.

We have now arrived in Trinidad for the second test which begins on Thursday. Our practice game has been called off because of a suitable venue was not available, but the boys are enjoying a well deserved rest. We began training again only yesterday. We haven’t had a look at the wicket in Trinidad yet, but it is expected to be a slow track as well that favours spin. On the down side, stumper Prasanna Jayewardene is down with a grade one hamstring injury and in all probability will not play the test.

Kumar will be back behind the stumps but that also allows us the luxury of playing an extra batsman or bowler, depending on the state of the wicket. Being one up in a two test series, we know we cannot lose the series from here. But we also know the Windies will be licking their wounds and will not like the prospect of being beaten in their own backyard. They will do their utmost to level the series and we cannot be complacent. But right now, we seem to be on top of our game and a series victory in the Windies is at the top of our shopping list.
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[Video] Sri Lanka Vs West Indies | 1st Test | Digicel Extra Cover Cricket Show

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Lance Gibbs and Richie Richardson discuss the 1st Test match in Guyana on the Digicel Extra Cover Cricket show. +/- Expand Post