Arthur impressed by all-round skills of Santhush Gunathilaka-by Rex Clementine

Santhush Gunathilaka


Sri Lanka are taking several young players to South Africa for the two match Test series and while most of them are there as cover because last minute injury replacements are impossible to be flown in due to the pandemic, the one who perhaps has got a chance to make his debut in the Boxing Day Test of Centurion is all-rounder Santhush Gunathilaka.

The 21-year-old is a top order batsman who bowls seam and he has impressed Head Coach Mickey Arthur.

“Very impressed by Santhush Gunathilaka. We are trying to develop a seam bowling all-rounder for conditions outside Asia. It’s tough to find in Asia someone who bats in the top six and bowls seam and we are excited by the talent set of Santhush,” Arthur who has coached the likes of Jacques Kallis and Shane Watson, top class all-rounders told Sunday Island.

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Left-arm quick from Hungama could be next big thing in cricket-by Rex Clementine

Dilshan Madushanka


Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka has suddenly become the talk in cricket circles after he was drafted into the Sri Lankan squad that will tour South Africa later this year for the Boxing Day and New Year Tests. The 22 players who will go on the tour will begin a week-long residential training camp in Pallekele later this week and all eyes will be on Madushanka.

The 20-year-old hails from the fishing village of Hungama in the Hambantota district. His father is a fisherman and his talent was spotted by former fast bowling great Chaminda Vaas. A couple of years ago, Madushanka had turned up as a net bowler in Hambantota as Sri Lanka were training and Vaas referred him to former Test captain Hashan Tillakaratne, who was the Head Coach of the Under-19 side.

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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.

  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.

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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SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS – (DECEMBER 2018) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Sri Lanka Flag

Victor MeldorSri Lanka’s off-spinner Akila Dananjaya has been suspended from international cricket with immediate effect after an independent assessment has found his bowling action to be illegal, the International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced. The ICC said the assessment revealed that his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations. “In accordance with Article 11.1 of the ICC Regulations For The Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspect Illegal Bowling Actions, Dananjaya’s international suspension will also be recognised and enforced by all National Cricket Federations for domestic cricket events played in their own jurisdiction. However, according to Article 11.5 of the Regulations and with the consent of the Sri Lanka Cricket, Dananjaya may be able to bowl in domestic cricket events played under the auspices of the SLC,” it said. Dananjaya was reported with a suspect bowling action during the first Test against England, which the visitors won by 211 runs in Galle and had undergone an independent assessment of his bowling action on November 23 at the National Cricket Centre, Brisbane. The ICC said Dananjaya can apply for a re-assessment after modifying his bowling action in accordance with clause 4.5 of the Regulations.(Daily Mirror, 10.12.2018)

Batting Coach Tilan Samaraweera has become the second casualty after Sri Lanka’s humiliating 3-0 whitewash at the hands of England as Sri Lanka Cricket did sweeping changes to the national cricket team’s support staff. Accordingly, Samaraweera along with Fielding Coach Manoj Abeywickrama will relinquish his duties midway through the tour of New Zealand. Samaraweera is expected to return home after the Test leg of the tour that gets underway next week. Sri Lanka’s batting was a letdown during the England series with not a single batsman managing a century during the three match series. The team’s batting also failed miserably during the Asia Cup campaign where Bangladesh and Afghanistan handed Sri Lanka heavy defeats. He is now expected to be part of the High Performance Center where coaches work with second string players. Sri Lanka Cricket were yet to make an official announcement at the time this edition went to print, but sources told The Island that SLC had signed up with the 48-year-old Jon Lewis. Lewis like Steve Rixon is believed to have been signed up on a short seven month stint that will take him through to the World Cup in England. The Island learns that Lewis had been signed up due to his extensive knowledge about conditions in north England where Sri Lanka will play most of their World Cup games. Lewis is expected to arrive in the island shortly. He will accompany the ODI specialists to New Zealand later this month. Sri Lanka will play three ODIs and a T-20 International in New Zealand apart from two Tests. Sri Lanka also hired Australian Steve Rixon as Fielding Coach after Chairman of Selectors Ashantha De Mel made a scathing criticism of the team’s fielding. (Daily Island, 12.12.2018)

Sri Lanka’s leadership roulette continues with Lasith Malinga now being appointed as the limited-overs captain, and Niroshan Dickwella as his deputy, for the upcoming ODIs and a lone T20I in New Zealand. The board took a big call in reinstating Angelo Mathews into the side, after dropping him for the England series, citing fitness concerns. The Mathews axing episode got quite ugly, with the all-rounder accusing the board of making him the scapegoat of an abysmal Asia Cup campaign. Sri Lanka will be without their lead spinner Akila Dananjaya, who is under suspension after being called for illegal bowling action. Upul Tharanga, who played just the first two of the five-match series against England (didn’t bat in the first, scored a duck in the second) – has also been left out. The pair of opener Sadeera Samarawickrama and left-arm spinner Amila Aponso – who played three and four fixtures respectively in the England series – also didn’t find a place in the 17-man shortlist. SLC went with Danushka Gunathilaka at the top of the order, while Asela Gunaratne also comes in after having played his last ODI in Bangladesh in January this year. Sri Lanka also recalled leg spinner Seekkuge Prasanna who played the last of his 38 ODIs in October 2017. Top-order batter Kusal Perera has recovered completely from his quad strain that he sustained in the second ODI against England and missed the remainder of the series. Kusal Mendis, who came in as his replacement and scored a half-century, has managed to hold on to his spot.

ODI and T20I Squad: Lasith Malinga (captain), Niroshan Dickwella, Angelo Mathews, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Asela Gunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara

Sri Lankan cricketer Lahiru Kumara has been fined 15% of his match fee and has also received one demerit point after being found guilty of using an audible obscenity during the third day’s play in the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington on Monday, the ICC said. In a statement, the ICC said the bowler was found to have violated Article 2.3 of the code, which relates to “use of an audible obscenity during an international match”. “Kumara used an audible obscenity after an outside edge off Tom Latham’s bat in the 96th over went for a boundary. These comments were heard by the on-field umpires and also picked up by the stump mic. After the day’s play, Kumara admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Richie Richardson of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing,” it said. The charge had been levelled by on-field umpires Rod Tucker and Michael Gough, third umpire Richard Illingworth, all from the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, as well as fourth umpire Tim Brown. (Daily Mirror, 18.12.2018)

Sri Lanka’s new Sports Minister Harin Fernando has invited three former cricketers-Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda de Silva, to present their views on the development of cricket in the country. Former ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama is set to be the president of the SLC new Interim Committee, the Pakistan Observer reported. This news was revealed exclusively to a reporter in Mumbai. Speaking exclusively from Colombo, he says, ‘I want to discuss with former Sri Lankan players about how the game can achieve its best height in the country. Earlier they had prepared a presentation but nothing had happened thereafter. I am sure they will come forward now for the betterment of the game in Sri Lanka’, he hoped. Elaborating more about his future plans, he also revealed, ‘the selection committee will soon be replaced and Sidath Wettimunny will be appointed the Chief Selector. Mahanama has worked with the ICC and he will be the ideal candidate to head the interim committee’, he added. All these new appointments will be subject to these players’ availability. Ashantha de Mel and other selectors very recently replaced Graeme Labooy and company and in a few weeks’ time, the new selection committee will be announced. ‘I have also decided to write to the ICC and propose to have its Anti-Corruption Unit be head-quartered in Sri Lanka’  (Daily Mirror, 23.12.2018)

The first Test between the touring Sri Lankans and New Zealand, played at Wellington, ended in a draw. Scores:

Sri Lanka, 1st Innings – 282 (Mathews 83, Dickwella 80no, Karunaratne 79, Southee 6/68, Wagner 2/75)

New Zealand, 1st Innings – 578 (Latham 264, Williamson 91, Taylor 50, Nicholls 50, Kumara 4/127, de Silva 2/54)

Sri Lanka, 2nd Innings – 287/3 (Mendis 141no, Mathews 120no, Southee 2/52, Boult 1/62)

Player of the match: Tom Latham (New Zealand) 


Sri Lanka’s chances of saving the second Test against New Zealand suffered a major blow after Angelo Mathews retired hurt with an apparent hamstring trouble during the fourth day’s play on Saturday. Mathews has been sent for a scan later last evening to see the extent of his injury and the chances of coming out and resuming play will depend entirely on the results of the scan. On day four. Sri Lanka were batting in chase of a mammoth 660, Mathews felt his right hamstring pull up while taking a couple of runs. He struggled at first and had the medical staff attend to him immediately. He continued to bat on until tea as he opted not to come out to bat after the break. The former Sri Lanka skipper has had recurring injuries in his hamstrings and calves over the past two years and had missed several entire series. The latest injury could keep him out of the limited over series that follows the New Zealand Tests and also the two Test series against Australia late in January. (Sunday Times, 30.12.2018)


Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of the upcoming three-match ODI series against New Zealand and is also doubtful for the subsequent two Tests against Australia due to a hamstring injury. The 31-year-old was forced to retire hurt after picking up the injury during the afternoon session on the fourth day of his side’s second Test against New Zealand, which the latter went on to win by huge 423 runs in Christchurch. Now, the scans have revealed that a grade two strain in his left hamstring, something which will keep him out of action for at least four weeks. Mathews was earlier dropped from Sri Lanka’s limited-overs squad before Lasith Malinga, who was named the side’s skipper for the New Zealand tour, decided to pick him for the three ODIs and lone T20I against the Kane Williamson-led side.  Sri Lanka and New Zealand will lock horns in the ODI series from January 3 at the Bay Oval while they will face Australia in the two-match Test series, beginning January 24 at the Gabba in Brisbane.(Daily Mirror, 31.12.2018)


New Zealand beat the touring Sri Lankans by 423 runs to win the second and final Test played at Hagley Oval, Christchurch. Scores:

New Zealand, 1st Innings – 178 (Southee 68, Watling 46, Taylor 27, Lakmal 5/54, Kumara 3/49, Perera 1/13)

Sri Lanka, 1st Innings – 104 (Mathews 33no, Silva 21, Boult 6/30, Southee 3/35, Grandhomme 1/19)

New Zealand, 2nd Innings – 585/4 dec (Latham 176, Nicholls 162no, Raval 74, Grandhomme 71no, Williamson 48, Kumara 2/134, Chameera 1/147, Perera 1/149)

Sri Lanka, 2nd Innings – 236 (Mendis 67, Chandimal 56, Perera 22, Mathews 22 ret hurt, Wagner 4/48, Boult 3/77, Southee 2/61)

New Zealand won the 2-match series 1-0.

Player of the match: Tim Southee (New Zealand)



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Sri Lanka’s Cricket, like a ship without a rudder –


Sanath Jayasuriya

Sanath Jayasuriya





Sri Lanka’s cricket administration has taken a media beating after a horrendous tour to England where they were thrashed in all formats of the game and the cricket mad public are demanding that heads roll for the shambolic effort that has badly tarnished a once proud nation’s image.

The main target of the public rage is aimed at Chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya, once a hero of an era of the country’s cricketing dominance yet unparalleled by the island nation, but now regarded as the thick skinned dictator leading to the ruin of the game.

Jayasuriya’s insistence in promoting friends and sons of his political affiliations who are barely good enough to fill a club cricket role into the national team, has justifiably caused an outcry and a demand for his sacking together with his chosen cronies in the selection committee who were recently picked by the Sports Ministry to resurrect the game’s flagging fortunes. “Even politicians get flogged at the elections when they get their policies wrong so the onus shifts to the Sports Minister to rectify a decision that appears flawed and crying out for redress”, said a disgruntled Sri Lankan fan.

Much of the public outcry and comes from Sri Lanka fans around the globe and here in Australia, the sentiment is echoed louder than ever.

Politics has, and will always play a role in Sub-continental countries where performance is not always the necessary criteria for promoting talent. That said, the recent decline in the standard of Sri Lanka cricket made it extremely urgent that the country’s administrators tapped into the right resources to resurrect their flagging fortunes.

The recall of Jayasuriya who was dumped from a similar role not so long ago, begs the question as to why someone thought he is good enough again to fulfill a job he was found wanting.

After England, Sri Lanka’s task becomes more daunting with the arrival of Steve Smith’s Aussies who are bent on destroying the Sub-continental hoodoo that has plagued teams from other parts of the world. And judging by their dismal performances in England Sri Lankan fans can only hope that familiar weather and home ground advantage will count for something as they try to salvage some pride.

It will be equally as important to get the right combinations for the different formats against a currently rampant Australian side who are number one in Tests and one-dayers and are basking in the glory of a tri-series win in the Caribbean against South Africa and the West Indies recently.

With Sri Lanka plummeting to seventh in the Test rankings, sixth in the one day format and a disappointing eighth in T20 cricket there is no way but up for them unless they desire to remain among the cellar dwellers.

It is clearly evident that Sri Lanka’s bowling is hamstrung with the loss of key pacemen, Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera who cried off with injuries on the English tour. Out of the limited resources available, only seasoned spinner Rangana Herath has some substance and this directly transfers the onus on to their batsmen to deliver whatever fight they can muster. They will discover where they are against one of the best bowling attacks in the world in the Aussies shortly.

Timely form from Dinesh Chandimal and Dhanushka Gunatilaka has shown that their batting can flourish with Milinda Siriwardene, Dimuth Karunaratne and all-rounder Dasun Shanaka the others who need consistency to keep Sri Lanka competitive.

Skipper Angelo Matthews needs to assert himself as a leader much like his illustrious predecessors, Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekaratna Dilshan and to do this he must gain the respect and encouragement from his teammates as right now it does not appear to be the case.

Coach Graham Ford has a role to play in this as he attempts to get some consistency from the inexperienced and senior members of the squad.



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