Trevine Rodrigo

Wounded Lions Defy 

the Odds to Take Test Series

By Trevine Rodrigo in Melbourne

The pride of the Lion was aroused and stirred into action as Sri Lanka rose from adversity to thrash South Africa in the Test series and then went down 2-3 in the one-dayers to re-establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in world cricket once more.

After months of turmoil since touring the Caribbean in a controversy ridden tour, the Lankans without banned skipper Dinesh Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and Manager Asanka Gurusinha showed that there is pride and fight in the wounded Lions finding new direction and success despite the setbacks.

Few rated them a chance against the Proteas after their limited success in the West Indies where they gained plenty of publicity for the wrong reasons after ball tampering allegations against Chandimal and later dissent shown by team management which resulted in the ICC successfully charging and convicting them for bringing the game into disrepute.

But time and time again the Sri Lankans have proved that when the chips are down they have that uncanny inner strength to pick themselves off the mat and produce the unthinkable. And they did this in a manner that bamboozled the visitors and had them in a spin literally and otherwise.

For a team in transition and seeking consistency among their young charges, Sri Lanka appear on track to climb back to the upper echelons of the game only if the continue to persist with some of the players who have shown genuine potential to be superstars of the future. Only continued exposure and patience can achieve that.

South Africa for their part can blame themselves for their lack of preparation and planning in what to expect on slow turning sub-continental tracks. Their faith in their potent pace attack may have been justified to an extent as previously, a beaten Australia found out. But spin would ultimately rule in venues such as Galle which has a long history of successes and would always be the deciding factor. Australian superstar Shane Warne would readily testify to this.

While Chandimal cooled his heels on the sidelines, Sri Lanka were able to unearth an astute leader in Suranga Lakmal, who is beginning to reveal himself as a quality seamer as well. Lakmal showed exemplary decision making that saw the Islanders sweep aside South Africa’s feeble efforts with the bat as the Sri Lanka spinners wrought havoc to complete a memorable 2-0 victory in the Test series.

Dilruwan Perera bagged 10 wickets and veteran Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal grabbed three each to be the tormentors of the South African rout in the first Test in Galle condemning them to their lowest total, 73, since gaining re-admission to Test cricket.

It was almost comical to see established players of spin such as Hashim Amla, skipper Faf du Plessis and Quintin de Kock completely all at sea against the guiles of the Sri Lanka spinners as they floundered along with the rest of the team with almost no answer. Opener De Bruyn showed a degree of composure to be the only Proteas centurion in a losing cause in the second Test.

This was followed by a five-wicket haul by Dhananjaya De Silva and four by Dilruwan Perera in the first innings followed by a six -wicket romp by Herath which completed the Proteas whitewash at the SSC ground in Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s success was by no stretch of the imagination brought about solely by their spinners as their batsmen apart from Dimuth Karunaratne struggled for consistency. His 158 not out in the first innings followed by a useful 60 in the second was the key to their victory in Galle. He then made 85 in the Colombo Test to be named player- of- the -match twice and then player-of-the-series.

Dhananjaya De Silva, Angelo Matthews, Dhanushka Gunatilleke and Dilruwn Perera contributed in lesser fashion exposing Sri Lanka’s lack of consistency with the bat which will undoubtedly be the focus of coach Hathurusinghe on his return. Notable failures were Kusal Mendis and Roshen De Silva failed to deliver scores of note.

Angelo Matthews was brought back to skipper the Lankans in the one-dayers in the absence of Chandimal but found no success as the smarting Proteas bounced back to take a series winning 3-0 lead before conceding the final two dead rubbers to the Lankans.

All in all, it was pleasing signs for Sri Lanka as they grind their way back as a respected force once more. Time and consistency will be the key as they forge ahead.


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Sri Lanka cricket in recovery of sorts, but at what price?

Chandika Hathurusinghe and Dinesh Chandimal confer after ball tampering charges.


Trevine_RodrigoSri Lanka beat the odds, survived the cheating allegations against Skipper Dinesh Chandimal and courageously squared the Test series against the West Indies but at a cost.

A country admired for their outstanding sportsmanship on the field over the years previous, they now share a tarnished reputation with some of the other countries who have come unstuck with their innovative methods at gaining unfair advantage over the opposition through cheating.

Oddly enough their current series against touring South Africa led by Faf Du Plessis sees two countries whose Skippers have brought the game into disrepute pitted against each other although the Lankans are waiting with bated breath hoping for Chandimal to get off with a reprimand for what seemed a blatant act of cheating at St. Lucia in the West Indies. And this seems highly unlikely judging by the glaring evidence provided.

Under the direction of new coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, the Lankans appear to be rebuilding at a slow but positive rate. But the incidents in the Caribbean has not been encouraging if desperate measures are found to be the direction given to the team by their mentors to win matches.

A proper inquiry and stiff disciplinary action against Chandimal is envisaged by the governing body of the sport in the Island if they aim to set a good example to the future generation who need to be drilled that there is pride associated with donning the national cap.

What also needs to be established is how much the coaching staff and management knew about Chandimal’s actions and if any of them also had a hand in it.

Sri Lanka much like some of the top nations have built their game around exemplary sportsmanship within the framework of the rules unlike the Aussies who play it hard and sometimes get carried away with their intimidatory tactics.

Following Australia’s fall from grace in South Africa, where Skipper Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were sprung for ball tampering and quite rightly dealt with harshly by Cricket Australia to stamp out the embarrassing menace threatening the game, it was reprehensible that Chandimal even contemplated such a foolish course knowing full well the repercussions that go with it if found guilty.

Now they face the dilemma of fronting up to a strong South Africa without a captain , head coach and manager, all found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute through their actions of threatening to walk out of a match in dissent of the umpires decision to charge them of ball tampering.

Only Hathurusinghe’s astute guidance before the ban can save them from being embarrassed at home by the Proteas.



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Sandra Jackson exits the world stage at an outpouring of grief and reflection –

Thousands of grief-stricken friends, family and fans braved a chilly Melbourne winter morning to bid farewell to much loved musical personality Sandra Jackson as she was laid to rest after a brief illness which snatched her away unexpectedly.


The popular frontline singer of ‘Replay 6’ and ‘No Limit’ succumbed to Pulmonary Fibrosis of the lungs and Cardio Vascular complications in the prime of her singing career leaving behind a distraught family and thousands of friends and fans who have marveled at her fantastic vocal ability over the past few decades.


The Catholic Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Endeavour Hills was filled to capacity and even poured out into the surrounds of the church as mourners thronged the funeral service to pay their last respects to a singer whose caring nature endeared her to many as was witnessed at the service, at the Springvale cemetery and the wake at the Grand on Princes.


The well attended and emotional service was well coordinated by Sandra’s family with tearful tributes from daughters, Tatum, Candice and granddaughter Mischa the highlights.


Tributes also poured in from far and wide as fellow musicians, media personalities and friends who have heard Sandra Jackson perform showed unreserved emotion at her passing.


The much-loved singer who commanded the stage and owned it with pride wherever she performed, was popular for her choice of music which was mainly Rock, Pop, Reggae and a special love for Country, and loved to interact with her fans whenever she belted out her favourites. She was renowned for her explosive Tina Turner imitations especially her favourite rendition of ‘Simply the best’ which was unmatched.


 Her distinctive vocals were always a head turner as was witnessed a few months ago when legendary singer Frank Ifield and former Australian TV presenter Donnie Sutherland interrupted their conversation to take in her performance at the Grand on Cathies which was launching Alston Koch’s movie ‘According to Matthew’.


Always a lover of the limelight, Sandra Jackson left this world with a suddenness that attracted thousands of people from all walks of life who had interacted with her at some time, to bid her farewell.


A wake at the Grand on Princes which threw in a lavish dinner and refreshments was packed beyond capacity as the 380- seated capacity venue spilled out to every nook and corner with many well wishers having to stand and watch the proceedings.


The wide screen at the Grand payed back some of Sandra Jackson’s special moments in her musical journey which included duets with such legendary personalities as Desmond De Silva. There were recorded messages from music greats such as, Dalreen Suby, Mignonne Fernando, Donald Pieries from Mirage, Melantha Perera, Benjy Ranabahu, Noeline Honter, veteran Island newspaper Journalist in Sri Lanka, Ivan Alvis, and a few others followed by live singing tributes to a dearly departed member of the musical fraternity in Melbourne by Derrick J, Andrea Marr, Arnie and daughter Paris Griffs,  Sonali Lindsay and Cherrie Charmari, Allison Jayasinha, Ben Nathanielsz, Shehara Rodrigo and Sandra’s backup bands Replay 6 and No limit.  


 The world has lost a shining star and the outer galaxy has gained one. Sandra was a great and much-loved wife to the love of her life, Esric, daughters Candice and Tatum, their spouses Toufic and Richard and grandkids Mischa, Cruz, Makai, and Brooklyn.


The stage will never be the same without Sandra Jackson leading the way with ‘Replay 6’ and ‘No Limit’. But it was her wish that no one should grieve at her passing. “Celebrate, have fun and let the music go on”, was her parting words to her loved ones.










Trevine Rodrigo

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Sandra Jackson plucked away in her prime –

Trevine_RodrigoPlucked away in the prime of her life through a cruel twist of fate, the power packed voice of Sandra Jackson will resonate no more.
Lead singer of Melbourne’s top band Replay 6 and leader of the band for many decades, Sandra Jackson left this world suddenly after a short battle with lung issues later compounded by the discovery of blockages to her arteries which left the medical staff at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne with no recourse to save her life.

Her sudden passing has sent shockwaves through the music industry in Australia, Sri Lanka and throughout the world of musicians who knew of her fantastic talent and endeared her for it and her ever availability to nurture and promote aspiring artistes.

The overwhelming response of shock and grief expressed at her passing on social media is enough testament to the massive following, love and respect she has generated over the years among music lovers in Australia and many other parts of the world.

The warmth and caring nature she personified is universally acknowledged by the thousands of friends and fans that had the pleasure of getting to know her.

Sandra and husband Esric have been in the forefront of the Melbourne music scene for many decades since migrating to Australia from Sri Lanka where their careers in music began.

Since beginning her career as a singer with a band named the Pioneers in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sandra’s exceptional talent and explosive vocals soon had music fans clamoring to watch her perform everywhere the band played in Sri Lanka until she took wing to Australia in 1975. She wed Esric Jackson in 1976 and their partnership in love and their mutual passion for music soon saw them establish themselves in several bands for the past four decades and more gathering thousands of fans along the way.

Mixing their love for music with family life and raising two beautiful daughters was a challenging period for the singing Jackson’s but they carefully negotiated the challenge with great aplomb.

Sandra and Esric have matched it with the best in the music industry during their long stint rubbing shoulders with such wonderful world artistes as Smokey, Dr. Hook, The Village People, Marsha Hines, Ricky May, Jade Hurley and Allison Durban to name a few, most recently sharing the stage with legendary Frank Ifield at Alston Koch’s launch of the movie “According to Matthew”.

Although a star in her own right, Sandra has always acknowledged that she was blessed to share the stage with some of Sri Lanka’s legends of music such as Desmond Kelly, Desmond De Silva, Conrad De Silva, Cliff Foenander, Kamahl, Malcolm De Kauwe, Dalreen Suby, Mignonne Fernando, Noeline Honter, Alston Koch, Arthur Speldewinde and Arden Forster to name a few. Such was her humble disposition.

Esric and Sandra and the band Replay 6 have been featured at some of the best venues in Melbourne, Sydney and even travelled to Sri Lanka for a New Year’s gig in 2012 where they performed at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo alongside Mirage. Their popularity and versatility has seen them perform at most school dances from Sri Lanka and a wide spectrum of other events throughout the years.

What set Sandra Jackson as a standout from the rest was her uncanny ability to perform many genres of music from Rock, to Pop, Raggae, Country and she even gave the Bailas a go. She was indeed the consummate and complete entertainer. Replay 6 will never be the same without both of their well-known frontline singers who have complemented each other over such a long period of time.

Dubbed Sri Lanka’s answer to legendary Tina Turner whose hits she reeled off to near perfection, her rendition of “Simply the best” was so authentic that she was often compared to the great American wonder.

Among the plethora of achievements as a singer/ entertainer was the numerous CD’s she and Esric have recorded and sold with the proceeds mostly going to a worthy charity. They will surely be treasured memories of a fantastic performer taken too soon.

She leaves behind Esric and two devastated daughters Candice, hubby Toufic and Tatum and her husband Richard, and four grandkids she doted on, Mischa, Cruz, Makai and Brooklyn who are in shock at her sudden demise. Incidentally, both Candice and Tatum take after their parents possessing superbly talented voices.

May the stage that she commanded with pride and strode on so majestically lay lightly on her.

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Chandimal, brain fade or just brain dead? Captain, Coach and Manager face charges – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

Trevine_RodrigoDinesh Chandimal must surely go down in the annals of Cricket history as the dumbest man ever to be chosen to lead his country after being exposed as a blatant cheat in the second Test against the West Indies at St. Lucia.

The Sri Lankan Skipper must lay claim to be plainly stupid or illiterate if he was not aware of the repercussions coming out of South Africa to three Australians just a couple of months ago for deliberately deciding to change the course of a game by tampering with the ball.

With cameras trained on every player for some time now due to the various methods chosen by players to gain an unfair advantage over the opposition, Chandimal must have had a brain fade if he thought he could get away with his actions, compounding his
situation further by denying any wrong doing and then contesting the charges against him despite damming video evidence which clearly showed his actions to be against the spirit of the game.

The ICC for its part must act without fear or favour and increase his penalty if his appeal fails in its bid to deter any others who think they should be let off on pure fabrication or any other excuse for leniency.

Chandimal is not the sole culprit for his actions as a look further should implicate the coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and his Manager or High Performance representative Asanka Gurusinha who are ultimately responsible for bringing the game into disrepute.

Subsequent to the ball tampering incident ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson charged Chandimal, Hathurusinghe and Manager Gurusinha a level 3 offence relating to “Conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”. They face suspension for two to four Tests depending on the outcome of an ICC initiated hearing under Judicial Commissioner Michael Beloff QC in July.

Meanwhile Chandimal’s appeal against any wrongdoing was thrown out at a hearing under Beloff and the suspension of one Test will be upheld which means he will be packed off and banished home for the remainder of the series.
Bad enough the struggling Sri Lankans are in transition stage as they battle to re-establish themselves in the top bracket of world Cricket, but the desperate measures they have opted to take to fast track their progress if definitely not in the best interests of the sport.

From a Sri Lankan Cricket administration perspective, it is hoped that they will act decisively with harsh punishment meted out to all involved and administer an outcome similar to what Cricket Australia did with their three ball tampering cheats if the game is to recover from its disastrous course.

Sri Lanka Cricket is once again at crossroads as it always has been with the current administrators in the firing line for bad administrative decisions despite delivering some form of financial viability which previous administrators were charged of siphoning for their own gain.

The circle of unrest within sadly appears to sit as normal for all things related to the sport in the island nation.



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While the world looks on and hope that Sri Lanka cricket will return to where they once belonged, the team stumbles and bumbles along looking for fluency and consistency that was once a trademark of their flamboyant style which made them entertaining and riveting to watch.

Of course, the top teams at the moment would like them to remain where they are because of their enviable record since gaining Test status in 1982. The successes they have achieved since then far surpasses many other countries who have been in the top bracket for far more years with little to show for it.

 Definitely not suffering from a lack of available talent, the Sri Lankan dilemma appears to be centered around the current structure and administrative input which has taken them back to the dark ages when they were whipping boys to the rest of the world.

 Losing a top coach in South African Graham Ford due to reported political meddling appeared to spell doom and gloom to the islanders but fortunately or dare I say questionably they managed to net another top-class coach in Chandika Hathurusinghe whose drawback may be that he is home grown which may yet have a detrimental effect on how he goes about his duties if he is not given a free hand.

 Knowing Hathurusinghe and his fierce determination to prevail over adversity in order to succeed as he did when Sri Lanka discarded him as an assistant coach where he went on to great things in Australia and as Bangladesh coach, it may not be long or surprising, before he abandons a lost cause if things don’t go to his plan.

 Since Hathurusinghe took over the reins, the islanders have recorded limited success mainly due to inconsistency and lack of experience within the squad and compounding their plight has been the failure of the experienced brigade such as Skipper Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera and a few others with the only reliable player, former skipper Angelo Matthews plagued by injury and unavailable more times than not.

 The fitness and physical preparation of the team also appear questionable judging by the ins and outs of players which also affects team gelling.

 Currently in the West Indies and staring down the barrel of yet another hiding in the 3-Test series, Sri Lanka’s plight can only get worse in the daunting encounters ahead of them against the top rungers of the game whom they encounter unless they can unravel a dramatic turnaround to their fortunes through consistency and a more committed approach.

Sri Lanka were thrashed by 226 runs in the first Test in Port-of-Spain.

There appears to be a fair amount of talent in the existing pool but exposure and perseverance at the initial stages particularly among the younger players may play an important role in establishing a team of world beaters. Youngsters Dananjaya De Silva, Kusal Mendis and Dilruwan Perera must be persevered with until they get to the next level while Matthews and Chandimal try to re-discover their lost momentum.

 Blessed with a rich cricketing culture and a deep history in the game, there has to be successors to their legends of the past that have won worldwide admiration such as Aravinda De Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga, Asanka Gurusinha, Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharne, Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas and a few others who were themselves successors to some fantastic players such as Michael Tissera, Anura Tennakoon, Sidath Wettimuny, Roy Dias, Duleep Mendis, Ranjan Madugalle and Rumesh Ratnayake just to name a few, when they made their initial foray on the world stage.

 The above-mentioned players were fiercely competitive with controlled aggression which in many players around the world is the ultimate catalyst to producing champions not just in Cricket but any sport.

 Cricket, like Sevens Rugby is to Fiji, is the only sport that Sri Lanka are able to compete on an even keel with the best in the world. So, their focus should be on nurturing what they have got and being the best at it.

 Sadly, at this stage the cavalier globetrotters of the recent past are nowhere close to their desired goal.

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Pressure Drop in fantastic form at the Walawwa as we bid adieu to our friends Sampath and Surakshi Siriwardena as their holiday in Australia came to a close. Galadari’s General Manager showed us his other talent on stage alongside classmate Kelvin Speldewinde and wife Vanessa.

Click here or on the photos below to view the full set of photos on eLanka Facebook

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Get ready for another season that is supercharged with heart stopping action as the 2018 AFL competition has clearly shown after round one, and there is already every indication that it will be anyone’s premiership much like it has been over the past two years.

Jumping out of the blocks and looking the goods this year are underachievers, Greater Western Sydney, Port Adelaide and reigning premiers Richmond who will have Geelong, Essendon, Hawthorn, Sydney and perhaps Adelaide and Carlton breathing down their necks.

I mention the Blues because of their plucky opener against the reigning Premiers whom they gave a torrid time to before the arm wrestle petered out in the final quarter.

While Geelong can count themselves lucky to be on the winners list against a dominant Melbourne whose inaccuracy and the Max Gawn shocker with seconds to go in front of the sticks cost them a win they surely deserved, Adelaide found that being in the Grand Final last year did not impress the emerging Bombers who dug deep to overcome a last quarter 20 point deficit and turn it into a 12 point win for their jubilant long suffering fans at Etihad Stadium.

Former three-time premiership winners Hawthorn were impressive in their first hit out completely shutting out Collingwood before running out 34-point winners and giving Magpies coach Nathan Buckley plenty to digest as he hangs on to his role as coach for a make or break compelling year.

GWS Giants were ruthless in their demolition of 2016 Premiers Western Bulldogs with an 82-point thrashing and Port Adelaide announced their intentions for this season with an imposing 50-point win over Freemantle while Sydney left West Coast with bitter memories at their new Stadium in Perth beating them by 29 points.

St. Kilda also showed signs of improvement and backed the confidence of coach Alan Richardson that they would be contenders this year with an impressive 25-point triumph over the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast proved better mud larkers to outplay North Melbourne in atrocious conditions in Cairns.

It certainly is a long road to the finals but with the modern game played at breakneck speed and the injury toll likely to be the determining factor, the depth of talent of each team will ultimately decide on who will emerge at the pointy end of the season as the weeks ahead will unravel.

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Rousing debate rages on Aussie ball tampering – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE




As the furor of the Australian ball tampering saga reaches a crescendo the brave ramifications handed out by Cricket Australia has shaken the game to its foundations for its severity.

There is a mixed response from cricket followers worldwide many who question the lengthy periods on the sidelines for at least two of their best cricketers in the world. And others say it is the best thing to happen if the game is to be rid of cheats who bring the game into disrepute.

Cricket over the years and administrators including the world governing ICC have been accused of double standards depending who is in the firing line. And the ICC’s continued slap on the wrists punishment in this instance is viewed as another attempt to look at things from a marketing perspective rather than one that maintains the game’s integrity.

Whatever the circumstances that are considered before punishment for misdeeds is handed down it is in the vital interest of the game that the administrators have a control of any situation without fear or favour or their lack of it will only diminish interest and following by the general public who are the ultimate sources of income to its survival.

As the findings and interviews have now been completed by the banished trio from South Africa there is still a lingering hostile reaction to David Warner’s stubborn mentality and refusal to admit that he may have been the mastermind if the dastardly act.

When the wind blows over the whole sorry episode and calm is restored, Australia will always be viewed with a questioning eye by cricket followers worldwide and the shame of it will never go away.

But what needs to happen in the interim is the need for forgiveness and support to Smith and Bancroft in particular as they negotiate the ramifications of a silly mistake that has magnified their immaturity and shortsightedness in the events of day three at Newlands.

The shattered and broken Australian former skipper is in dire need of counseling for a period as he collects the pieces of a destroyed reputation and tragically, when he was in the midst of plaudits from around the globe for his magnificent performances with the bat that has him rated as the number one in Test cricket.  His actions since gaining captaincy has been questioned on more than one occasion in India and a few other occasions.

But Cricket Australia were steadfast in their defense of him instead of reining in what has now become the biggest scandal the game has witnessed and turned a tide of opinion against the team from the Prime Minister to other former players who donned the Baggy Green with distinction.

The fierce rivalry between the two nations is another case in point where the history of current South African skipper Faf Du Plessis who was sprung twice and shamed for similar ball abuse and Vernon Philander once, was always going to be a ‘get even’ thing if the Aussies dared to overstep the rules governing the game. And, shamefully and foolishly they did.

It is rumoured that there will be appeals against the lengthy bans imposed on them. But appealing will be foolish if they expect to rush back into a game they have brought into disrepute not just for themselves but the country as well.

Riding the crest of a wave as a brilliant batsman and leader despite many questioning his immaturity when selected to lead Australia, Steve Smith has proved that his style of thinking outside the box does not necessarily apply to methods of winning which led to his downfall. This, in a country brimming with talent and unlike many other nations, never needing to look far for handy replacements.

What now needs to happen is for Australia to re-evaluate their style and intimidator approach which has been the instigator of personal exchanges between them and their opponents leading to the desperate mindset to win at all costs.

Cricket Australia can take credit for the severity of the bans they have imposed and try to recapture the faith and respect of the rest of the world which up to now have regarded Australia as the benchmark for all things cricket for many decades.

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