Trevine Rodrigo

Kusal Janith Perera fireworks shock South Africa – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

 

Kusal_PereraPhoto Source: BBC.CO.UK

Trevine_RodrigoRising like the proverbial Phoenix, Sri Lanka lifted themselves from the depths of despair on the back of a spectacular Kusal Janith Perera century to shock South Africa in Durban and take the first Test.

The bludgeoning Perera, batting like his former hero Sanath Jayasuriya, ripped apart the South African attack at will to re-write history as he and number eleven Vishva Fernando added 78 runs to record the highest last wicket stand in a successful fourth innings chase in the history of Test cricket. The previous highest was 57 by Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mustaq Ahmed against Australia in 1994.

A tired Perera said after the match, “I knew we couldn’t win this match by just scoring singles. When the time felt right for me, I took my chances”.
Vishwa told me I’ll hit the ball with my body, if nothing else. You do what you can. I took a lot of strength from that. He did a huge job.

Earlier, Vishva Fernando had completed a memorable performance with the ball getting four wickets in each innings to return figures of 8 for123. Together with debutant Embuldeniya who grabbed 5 for 66, they restricted South Africa’s strong batting line-up to two totals of less than 250 to give their batsmen a fighting chance for victory if they were up to it.

Kusal Janith Perera was a late inclusion to the Sri Lankan Test team after spending time in the wilderness since his fall from grace after a series of failures. He was touted as a youngster as the next Sanath Jayasuriya but his over exuberance and flair saw him fall away and he was used instead in the shorter formats of the game.

He almost singlehandedly won this game for Sri Lanka top scoring in both innings following his half century in the first innings with his gem in the second stint remaining 153 not out. He smashed 5 sixers and 14 fours in his match winning effort.

Just weeks ago, this team was bereft of any answer to the Aussie pace blitz which ripped apart not just their batting but all self-respect they had as a team, losing the series Down Under without a whimper.

Kusal_Perera

Photo source: IOL.Co.ZA

After much soul searching and chopping and changing, the team found themselves without their skipper Dinesh Chandimal who was rightly banished to the sidelines after a shocking display with the bat and the new faces injected into the side showed that reputations meant nothing to those who played their part with their heart and soul and the pride associated with representing their country.

The mood in the change rooms appeared to be more focused on bonding and playing with a common purpose. It also underlined the undercurrents that existed before by the senior members who appear to have their own agendas unrelated to the team’s welfare.

In fact, a team review video leaked out of the dressing room which had the heroic Kusal Janith Perera speaking to the group clearly suggested that there were fractured relationships within as he urged his teammates to bury their differences and play with a common goal.

The shocking one-wicket win carved out of an improbable situation where the Lankans appeared on course for another drubbing with nine down and 78 runs still needed for victory, came on the back of Perera’s responsible rotation of the strike and a bludgeoning approach where he carved the South African attack until he late cut a brilliant four to bring about victory.

The South Africans can count themselves unlucky to lose the Test doing everything right after being surprised by the feisty Sri Lankan new ball attack spearheaded by newcomer Vishva Fernando who brought surprise and uncertainty among the experienced South African batting lineup to bundle them out for 235. The home team struck back to keep things in their control by skittling the Sri Lankans for 191 before going on to build what appeared to be a match winning 304 run lead on a track that had movement and bounce. But the 259 they were able to muster in their second dig clearly suggested that run making was going to be difficult for either team on this track.

Their plan appeared to be working to script as the Sri Lankans showed little answer to the pace, bounce and variation among the South African attack. With Sri Lanka against the ropes at 8 for 215 and then 9 for 226 the result seemed a foregone conclusion until Perera and Fernando mustered courage and pulled off a stunning reversal.

The win which does wonders for Sri Lanka’s morale and confidence building will certainly stand in good stead as they build for the upcoming World Cup in England.

They need to press home their advantage and try to win the series, which if they do, will make them the first team from Asia ever to win a series in South Africa.

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Cha’s cabin in Hallam celebrating Valentine’s day –
Photos thanks to Trevine Rodrigo

Cupid’s arrows flew wildly as a lively romantic crowd packed Cha’s cabin in Hallam to celebrate Valentine’s day. Music and superb cuisine complimented a night dedicated to lovers every year. There certainly was no shortage of musicians among those present.

Cha's cabin in Hallam - celebrating Valentine's day Cha's cabin in Hallam - celebrating Valentine's day Cha's cabin in Hallam - celebrating Valentine's day Cha's cabin in Hallam - celebrating Valentine's day Cha's cabin in Hallam - celebrating Valentine's day Cha's cabin in Hallam - celebrating Valentine's day Cha's cabin in Hallam - celebrating Valentine's day Cha's cabin in Hallam - celebrating Valentine's day

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Sri Lanka invent cricket’s new “Domino effect” Clueless and unprepared team succumb to relentless Aussie pace – By TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

 

Trevine_RodrigoSri Lanka’s visit to Australia after quite a spell delivered the worst ever performance in Test cricket since they were given Test status in 1982 as they meekly succumbed to an unforgettable demolition job performed on them that will remain in their memory for several decades.
Their embarrassing performance after India toweled the Australians at home underlined the gulf between the best and the rest as the fifth placed Aussies made their one rung lower opponent feel that they belonged in the dungeons of the world game.

The pathetic batting display by a weak-kneed outfit bereft of proper technique and urgently needing a psychological assessment about what courage and commitment means sent shockwaves through their supporters who were in disbelief at what an ordinary show they could muster as they were thrashed by the Aussies inside two and a half days. Niroshan Dickwella fought a lone hand and showed the others that brave innovation in crisis could counter the aggressive Australian strategy.

Their lack of commitment and courage must have some of their former stars shaking their heads in disappointment especially when looking back at the early seventies before they were given Test recognition the likes of Duleep Mendis, Sunil Wettimuny and some others braved the menacing Dennis Lilee and Jeff Thomson without protective equipment worn today and nearly pulled off an unlikely win over the Aussies in a World Cup encounter.

dulip-mendis
Photo source: CricBuzz
Pat Cummins drove fear into the hearts of the shell-shocked Lankans as he, Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson had the Sri Lanka batsmen hopping and ducking for cover in an expected bouncer barrage that they were sorely unprepared to counter. The trio gave Australians much to celebrate on Australia Day and erased some of the humiliation they endured against the Indians who swept them in all formats just a week before.

If there were excuses in their defense, the Pink ball experiment with its extra gloss and sharp bounce definitely undid the Sri Lankan batsmen whose diminutive stature made it difficult to avoid the well-directed missiles by the uncompromising Australian pace attack hungry for success after the Indian debacle.

Enraged Sri Lankan fans demanded the resignation of the Selectors and coaching staff on social media giving little consideration to the fact that this is a team in transition and seeking the right combinations for consistency.

It’s back to the drawing boards for sure for the luckless Sri Lankans who were also hampered by at least one debatable umpiring decision against Lahiru Thirimanne and the loss of paceman Lahiru Kumara who could not bat after succumbing to a hamstring tear.
lahiru_thirimana

Photo Source: Deccan Chronical
Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal should hand the reins over to someone else and drop himself for the good of his team as he continued with his self-preservation and flat-footed approach which gifted the Aussies with his wicket for a second time. He badly needs to re-focus and regain the kind of form that has given him an average of over 40 which does not reflect his current form.

From a coaching perspective, the Sri Lankan search for a home grown ‘Saviour’ to resurrect their flagging fortunes and re-build a new look team capable of matching it with the best appears at this stage to have backfired badly. Chandika Hathurusinghe arrived with big wraps on his ability but has not met the expectations of him or his fellow advisers.

Where to from here hinges on the final Test in Canberra and a further assessment in South Africa and my guess is that the Sri Lankan controlling body may be already talent scouting, perhaps even approaching a former coach who was on track before being disrupted mid-stride by a meddling High performance Manager hired during his successful effort to change the country’s fortunes.

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Trevine_RodrigoLakmal the shining light as Sri Lanka bats falter – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

 

 

Suranga Lakmal

Going into a Test with pre-conceived nightmares of a bouncer barrage from the Australian quicks, Sri Lanka’s mindset destroyed their ability to make the first Test a contest as they let themselves be bundled out for an under par 144 and gave the home side the initiative at the Gabba on day one.

By the end of day two, the Australian batsmen demonstrated what patience and application can deliver as they meticulously built up a commanding 179 run lead throwing down the gauntlet to the visitors to show some guts and determination or perish within three or four days in what is turning out to be a predictably lopsided contest.

Suranga Lakmal Photo Source: espn cricinfo

Suranga Lakmal

(photo source: Stuff.co.nz )

Niroshan DickwellaJust two players stood out for Sri Lanka in their disappointing show and unless a few more can step up to the plate and show some fight the Sri Lankans start to the new year could spell heartbreak for a lengthy spell until they can come up with a winning formula.

Medium pacer Suranga Lakmal, (5 for 75), and feisty middle order batsman Niroshan Dickwella (64), kept the tourists in the fight but the rest, including skipper Dinesh Chandimal who is having a horror run with the bat at the moment, will have to stand up if Sri Lanka are to attempt to save this Test.
Photo source: CricBuzz

 

Niroshan Dickwella
photo source: Sky Sports UK

Marcus Harris, Travis Head and Test debutant Marnus Labuschagne ensured Australia built up a reasonable score against a initially tight Sri Lankan attack as they helped the home team gain a psychological advantage of 300 plus after the tourists wilted in the Brisbane heat in their poor first effort.

 

Tim Paine’s men hold a whip hand over Sri Lanka who will have to dig in and overcome the 162-run deficit on day three before setting Australia at least 150 to make it seem like a reasonable contest.

 

History suggests that this Sri Lankan team lacks the mental capacity to stand up and fight and make their country proud.




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Rom and Mitchell… A gift to those seeking urgent Rehabilitation – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

Romesh and Mitchell Perera  Romesh and Mitchell Perera Romesh and Mitchell PereraRomesh and Mitchell Perera

Romesh and Mitchell Perera are two young men gifted with with healing hands especially for those seeking muscular skeletal rehabilitation, and their dedicated work has brought thankful relief to many in need of this important road back to normal life after being struck down by various ailments.

 

The two unassuming brothers are specialists in the field of Sports Science, Pilates and Exercise Physiology graduating in the delicate art of rehabilitation for those recovering from strokes, joint problems such as replacements, reconstructions, Cardiac issues and other related illnesses that need precise attention. Their practice set up at 358 Princes Highway in Noble Park is usually a hive of activity due to the word- of- mouth recommendations from satisfied patients and bookings are essential to obtain their in-demand services.

 

Both Rom, (36) and Mitchell, (31), possess an affable disposition and an initial meeting with them immediately conveys a reassuring feeling that they are wholly capable of delivering relief for those in dire need of recovery. Their wide knowledge in this important field of Rehab has several local GP’s recommending their practice.

 

The two brothers have a fully equipped area for rehab work and all equipment ain use is conducted under their expert supervision.

 

Mum Mary and dad also provide their children with support in Reception and other aspects of their work and the family form a solid team that delivers a very professional service.

 

In a world filled with pain and physical suffering, these two lads play an important role in delivering relief to many sufferers with physical disabilities.

 

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DIMUTH KARUNARATNE NAMED IN ICC TEST TEAM OF THE YEAR – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

DIMUTH KARUNARATNE

DIMUTH KARUNARATNE

Dimuth Karunaratne

Trevine_RodrigoStylish Sri Lanka Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne capped off a great year with the bat to be named in the ICC Test team of the year, 2018, the only Lankan to gain recognition for consistent performances.

Karunaratne is currently ranked sixth in the ICC world batting rankings after sterling performances with the bat particularly in the home series against South Africa where he once outscored the entire South African score in a winning Sri Lanka effort.

The talented Sri Lankan opener was named alongside New Zealander Tom Latham to open the innings in a star-studded lineup led by India’s dynamic skipper Virat Kholi.

Karunaratne has shown the makings of a solid option to a Sri Lanka outfit struggling for consistency and needs a player of similar temperament to solidify the opening slot in the team currently touring Australia. He made his debut for his country in 2012 and has now matured as a key in Sri Lanka’s rebuilding process.

His form down under will be key to Sri Lanka’s performances in the two Test series which begins at the Gabba on January 24.
An ICC press release to the Lanka Times in Melbourne and eLanka website in Australia is as follows.

ICC ANNOUNCES MEN’S TEST AND ODI TEAMS OF THE YEAR
• Kohli named captain of both teams picked on basis of performances in 2018
• Three players each from India and New Zealand in Test team; four each from India and England in ODI side
The International Cricket Council today announced the men’s Test and ODI teams of the year with Virat Kohli named captain of both sides following a remarkable 2018 as batsman and skipper.

The awards, which honour performances during a calendar year, saw the India captain Kohli walk into both sides which were selected by the ICC Voting Academy* comprising former players, members of the media and broadcasters.
Kohli’s 1,322 runs at an average of 55.08 with five centuries in 13 Tests and 1,202 runs at an astounding average of 133.55 with six hundreds in 14 ODIs saw him selected to both sides by every voting member of the Academy with the majority of them also opting to name him at the helm of each.

Kohli also ended 2018 as the top-ranked Test and ODI batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings while his side finished the year as the top-ranked side in Tests and number two behind England in ODIs.

India won six Tests and lost seven during the voting period that ran from 1 January to 31 December 2018 and included victories in South Africa, England and Australia, as also some other close matches in away series. In ODIs, Kohli led India to nine victories, with four losses and one tied match.

India captain Virat Kohli said: “It has been an amazing year. I was able to play in a manner that I would not have imagined. If the intention is right and you keep working hard, the results are there in front of your own eyes. The intent has always to be helping your team at any cost, that is when these performances come by and you are pushing yourself to the limit, which you otherwise will not be able to. That is something I experienced in 2018 a lot.”

The Test team also features his compatriots, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who is the only player apart from Kohli to feature in both sides. New Zealand also has three players in the Test squad with captain Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls and opener Tom Latham selected. Five other nations make up the remainder of the Test team – Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), Jason Holder (Windies), top-ranked Kagiso Rabada (South Africa), Nathan Lyon (Australia) and Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan).

The ODI team has opener Rohit Sharma, spinner Kuldeep Yadav and Bumrah from India along with captain Kohli, while England are represented by Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh), top-ranked Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) and Ross Taylor (New Zealand) complete the ICC ODI XI.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said: “This looks like an individual piece of recognition but it is much more about the team. Both of the other two who have been fortunate enough to be named in the eleven, I am sure, would agree that as a group we have been growing for a period of time – as a Test unit. It is great that the guys have been looking to play their roles as best as they can. The Test team has been tracking nicely.”
Joe Root said: “It feels really great to be named in the ICC ODI squad and the fact that three of my team-mates are there along with me, makes it extra special. We had a fine year and expectations are on the rise as we look forward to playing the ICC Cricket World Cup at home this year. I thank the ICC for the honour and to the jury for taking the effort to go through the elaborate process.”

ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year (in batting order):

1. Tom Latham (New Zealand)
2. Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
3. Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
4. Virat Kohli (India) (capt)
5. Henry Nicholls (New Zealand)
6. Rishabh Pant (India) (wk)
7. Jason Holder (Windies)
8. Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
9. Nathan Lyon (Australia)
10. Jasprit Bumrah (India)
11. Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan)

ICC Men’s ODI team of the year (in batting order):

1. Rohit Sharma (India)
2. Jonny Bairstow (England)
3. Virat Kohli (India) (capt)
4. Joe Root (England)
5. Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
6. Jos Buttler (England) (wk)
7. Ben Stokes (England)
8. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)
9. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
10. Kuldeep Yadav (India)
11. Jasprit Bumrah (India)

The ICC individual men’s awards will be announced later today.

*The voting academy was: Javed Hamid Kakar, Emal Pasarly (Afghanistan); Lisa Sthalekar, Andrew Wu, Mike Hussey (Australia) Utpal Shuvro, M. Farid Ahmed, Athar Ali Khan (Bangladesh); Julian Guyer, Lawrence Booth, Nasser Hussain (England); Deep Dasgupta, Sunandan Lele, Jasvinder Sidhu (India); Ian Callendar, Barry Chambers (Ireland); Mark Geenty, Ian Smith (New Zealand); Peter Borren (Netherlands); Ramiz Raja, Abdul Mohi Shah, Mazhar Arshad, Bazid Khan (Pakistan); Shaun Pollock, Neil Manthorp, Firdose Moonda (South Africa); Saroj Pathirana, Russel Arnold, Rex Clementine (Sri Lanka); Peter Della Penna (USA), Ian Bishop, Barry Wilkinson, Vinode Mamchan (West Indies); Trisan Holme, Mehluli Sibanda, Mpumelelo Mbangwa (Zimbabwe).

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Sri Lanka face uphill task against smarting Aussies – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

 

Sri Lanka’s mission to the Southern hemisphere appears to be on a tragic course if the results in New Zealand are any indication.

 They left empty handed after a winless tour in all formats and life for them appears bleaker as they take on an Australian team smarting from a historic whitewash at home at the hands of the high riding Indians.

 

While Sri Lanka’s aspirations are more in hope of improvement due to the immaturity in the current squad, the Kiwis and Aussies are proud defenders at home and are uncompromising against all-comers in battle.

 The Sri Lankans feature in their first Pink ball Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on February 24 before travelling to Manuka Oval in Canberra for their final encounter which is incidentally the first Test in the Australian Capital.

 New Zealand showed the Islanders no mercy with crushing wins in the Tests and shorter formats of the game although Sri Lanka battled valiantly in the one-dayers despite losing all of them. Rain saved them from total demolition in the second Test after New Zealand went on a leather hunt against a hapless Sri Lanka attack which leaked more runs than any other team that has toured this part of the world before.

 dinesh_chandimalSri Lanka’s batting except for Angelo Matthews and opener Dimuth Karunaratne found little answer to New Zealand’s experienced pace attack led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult who tore the heart out of a weak-kneed effort by the rest and bad shot selection from experienced campaigners such as skipper Dinesh Chandimal who should realistically be finding a question mark over his selection for the rest of the tour. Compounding an already dire situation is the loss of the only shining light on the Kiwi leg of the tour, former skipper Angelo Matthews who once again succumbed to hamstring issues which has plagued him in the recent past. Matthews ended the New Zealand Tests as the highest run scorer being dismissed only once.


angelo_Mathews1
  There was also much speculation among the one-day squad who are reported to have indulged in some in-fighting causing a rift within. It is a definite recipe for disaster particularly when the combatants are among the most experienced in the squad. Lasith Malinga and Tissara Perera were the stand outs for Sri Lanka in a winless effort but they have got to find a way to train their focus on the opposition and not on themselves.

angelo_Mathews2 Two Tests against Australia will define who has benefited from the experience against New Zealand and for Chandika Hathurusinghe who made his mark as respected coach for New South Wales before taking Bangladesh to greater heights this leg of the tour will be an acid test of his ability in a role, he has yet to deliver on lofty expectations.
Chandika_Hathurusinghe

Hathurusinghe is currently under the pump to prove that Sri Lanka’s investment in him is justified as he faces heavy criticism on social media from knowledgeable critics who label him a financial disaster alongside his Australian counterpart Asanka Gurusinha who control the direction of the Sri Lankan attempt to resurrect the team.

 


asanka_gurusingheFrom the experience in New Zealand Sri Lanka will need to focus on their handling of the bouncer barrage they will face from the quicker Australian attack led by Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson, the latter replacing injured Josh Hazlewood, who made life uncomfortable for the Indians before they were subjected to the return fire from India who also possess a potent attack led by Jasprit Burmah, Ishant Sharma and Mohamed Shami.

 By now the New Zealand experience would have given them some degree of conditioning to the bouncier and more lively tracks compared to those found on the Asian sub-continent and Sri Lankan fans in this part of the world are anticipating a backs-to-the-wall effort from the team as they desperately struggle to re-establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

 Their journey ahead is as daunting as they travel to South Africa to take on the Proteas who are also an uncompromising prospect. But the experience they gain on the Southern Hemisphere sojourn will be invaluable particularly for some of the younger members as they toughen up for their careers in the future.

  Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha.

AustraliaTim Paine (c/wk), Jhye Richardson, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle 

 

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