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20-year old Alexander Zverev beats Roger Federer to win 2017 Rogers Cup final

Posted on 14 August 2017 by admin

  • Twenty-year-old wins 10th match in row after victory in Washington.
  • German and Swiss now have five tournament titles this year.

Alexander Zverev kept his winning streak alive with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Roger Federer in the Rogers Cup final on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Zverev, the winner last week in Washington, posted a 10th straight match victory and ended the 36-year-old Federer’s own winning streak at 16. The German also tied Federer with a fifth tournament victory this year, although Federer’s haul includes two major titles. Zverev also got even for a loss to Federer at Halle in June and leveled their career head-to-head record at two wins each.

Zverev used some sharp groundstrokes to keep Federer from taking control early and got the only service break he needed to win the first set. Zverev escaped a break point at 1-0 in the second set with consecutive aces, then broke a mistake-prone Federerfor a 4-3 lead and served out the match.

Zverev, the youngest Rogers Cup finalist since Novak Djokovic in 2007, was coming off an emotional victory over Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals. Federer missed a chance to tie Ivan Lendl for second place all time with 94 tournament wins. Jimmy Connors leads with 109.

In the doubles final, fifth-seeded Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beat seventh-seeded Rohan Bopanna of India and Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-4, 3-6, 10-6.

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina beat Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets to win her fifth title of the year and condemn the Dane to a sixth final loss in 2017.

Fifth seed Svitolina won 6-4 6-0 at the Rogers Cup to become the first woman to win three events at the elite Premier 5 level in the same year.

The 22-year-old could become world number one if results go her way at next week's Cincinnati Open.

Wozniacki, seeded sixth, has lost all six finals she has played this year.

"It was a tough day," said the Dane. "She played well. She mixed up the pace and made it uncomfortable for me out there.

"Today, probably I could have used some more pace, but she played really smart today and used my pace to her advantage."

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Canadian Denis Shapovalov dream run ends at Rogers Cup in Montreal

Posted on 11 August 2017 by admin

TORONTO — An unexpected run to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup has rocketed Canada’s newest tennis star up the world rankings.

Denis Shapovalov improved from 143rd to 67th in Monday’s updated ATP singles rankings.

The 18-year-old left-hander from Richmond Hill, Ont., introduced himself to Canada last week with an exhilarating performance at the Rogers Cup in Montreal that included a victory over top-seeded Spanish legend Rafael Nadal.

The Canadian lost to fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in Saturday’s semifinals but still pocketed a cool US$220,760 in prize money.

Shapovalov told reporters over the weekend that his "whole life has changed in the past five days."

"I don’t even think I realize it yet," he said. "I mean, it’s a huge jump (in the rankings)."

The main question now is whether the Rogers Cup was a flash in the pan or a sign of bigger things to come.

Zverev, also one of the game’s rising stars, predicted a long rivalry with the Canadian.

"I told him that this is just the first match of very many that we will play against him," said Zverev, currently ranked 10th. "Hopefully a lot of other big matches, maybe in Grand Slams, maybe in finals of tournaments.


By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, TSL.

Friday, August 11, 2017 – 18-year old Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov continued his dream run at the Rogers Cup in Montreal when he overcame Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in three sets to earn a berth in the semi-finals. The 18-year-old Canadian beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Court Central, where Shapovalov has earned legions of supporters this week at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. He first knocked off Juan Martin del Potro, then World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the third round, and Mannarino was the latest established ATP veteran to go down against the spirited left-hander, who's fiery play has created an electric atmosphere on the main court.

Shapovalov, No. 143 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, was already projected to break the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 100. But he's now expected to jump to No. 67.

His semi-final run will also help him surge to third place in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan, which will determine seven of the eight 21-and-under players who compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. The eighth player will be determined by wild card.

Canadian Tennis Star Denis Shapovalov

Thursday, August 10, 2017. World No.2 – Rafael Nadal was stunned by 18-year old Canadian Denis Shapovalov in Montreal, during the Rogers Cup 2017. Fresh from an epic battle with Argentine Martin Del Potro young Shapovalov has now earned entry into the NEXTGEN Club. Immediately following the win over Del Potro, mainstream print media headlines screamed that a "Star is Born".

Remember that name, ladies and gentlemen. Denis Shapovalov is a star! The 18-year-old Canadian upset World No. 2 and top seed in the Rogers Cup in third-round action. 

Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov downed former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro on a gusty Wednesday at the men's Rogers Cup. The 18-year-old Shapovalov took the second-round match 6-3, 7-6 (4).

"He's my idol," said Shapovalov of the unseeded Del Potro, who has struggled with injuries since winning the 2009 U.S. Open. "Just to play against him is a huge honour for me.

"But to beat a player of this category, of this talent, is very inspiring for me, a huge confidence boost."

Andy Murray will remain number one for another week after 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov stunned Rafael Nadal at the Rogers Cup.

The top seed needed to reach the semi-finals to replace the injured Murray at the top of the rankings this week but was beaten in a thrilling last-16 tie against the world number 143.

Shapovalov delighted the home crowd late in the night in Montreal as he recorded a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory in two hours 45 minutes. The youngster responded impressively to Nadal easing through the first set to force a decider, where Shapovalov saved three break points before winning an epic 14-minute third game, which included 10 deuces. The pair continued to trade games up until a tie-break, where Nadal saw a 3-0 lead evaporate by the first change of ends.

The teen was 143rd on the ATP ranking heading into the match and is the second-youngest person to defeat Nadal on the Tour—the youngest being Borna Coric back in 2014 as a 17-year-old. Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., is now set to face Adrian Mannarino on Friday, fresh off a win over Milos Raonic, in the quarter-finals. We wish him well.



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Usain Bolt’s thunder stolen by Justin Gatlin in final 100m race Legendary Jamaican runner takes bronze behind 2 Americans

Posted on 06 August 2017 by admin

Usain Bolt has ended his stellar 100-metre career without a world title in his final individual race. In a tight finish, Bolt was punished for his slow start and Justin Gatlin held him off at the line in 9.92 seconds. American sprinter Christian Coleman took silver in 9.94 seconds and Bolt took bronze in 9.95. Gatlin and Bolt both posted a season-best time.

"I think my body is telling me that this is it. I've done it all and I've tried my best. It's just one of those things, you got to know when to go and I think it's time for me to go," Bolt told CBC Sports' Perdita Felicien.

Gatlin bows

Gatlin knows what Bolt has meant to the sport, graciously bowing in admiration in front of him — even after beating him. The two men, never really friends, warmly embraced and spoke. Justin Gatlin, left, bends down to Usain Bolt after Bolt's final individual race. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

"Throughout the years, the rivalry that you see between me and Usain is a gentleman's rivalry. We've never had ill will towards each other." Gatlin said. 

"At the end of the day, we pushed each other. He's made me the runner I am today, the competitor I am today and he's also told me that I've pushed him."


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England win Women’s World Cup in thrilling finish

Posted on 24 July 2017 by admin


Pic: Reuters

Courtesy: Reuters.

England won their fourth Women's World Cup when Anya Shrubsole took six wickets to clinch a nine-run victory over India amid delirious scenes at a packed Lord's on Sunday.

The home side looked in danger of defeat as India chased down their total of 228-7, but an astonishing spell of seam bowling by England's vice-captain turned the game on its head in the most nail-biting of finishes.

India were coasting on 191-3 when Shrubsole took the key wicket of Poonam Raut, lbw for 86, and the inexperienced middle order collapsed to 219 all out in the 49th over.

Apart from her wickets, Shrubsole also played a key role in the run out of Shikha Pandey, collecting sharply in the covers and throwing back to wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor, when India were still in the game needing 14 off the last three overs.

As a youngster, Shrubsole once watched her father Ian play club cricket at Lord's and she said to play a starring role in England's victory was a dream come true.

"It was an amazing game from start to finish," she said. "It was a fitting final for what has been a great World Cup."

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Sri Lanka’s Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal promises to play fearless cricket

Posted on 18 July 2017 by admin

by Rex Clementine – Courtesy: The Island.


Former great Aravinda de Silva always speaks of trusting your instincts and playing an aggressive brand of cricket that often upsets the rhythm of the opposition. As Sri Lanka completed a stunning four wicket win chasing down a mammoth 388 run target to keep their unbeaten record against Zimbabwe intact, new captain Dinesh Chandimal echoed similar sentiments.

Dinesh Chandimal

"We’ve played on these kinds of pitches before in Sri Lanka, in India and Bangladesh. On these pitches, it’s with sweeps and reverse sweeps that we can score runs. There’s a risk in that, but if we are chasing scores, we should trust our instincts and play those shots. At training we had practiced those things, and those things bore results today," noted Chandimal.

"When it came time for us to bat yesterday, most of what we talked about was playing your own game as batsmen. We know that it was tough for us to bat out the time and draw the match. If we tried that, it was likely we’d lose. So we said: play your own game. As a captain I told them that I’d take the responsibility for any mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Kusal Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga played well. Then at the end, Asela and Dickwella were excellent," noted Chandimal.

"Zimbabwe put huge effort into winning this match, and it wasn’t easy for us. In a Test match you can’t make mistakes across the five days. At times we made mistakes, and at other times we did well. That changed from session to session. We wanted to win the game. We are very happy with the result."

Asela Gunaratne kept his nerve to remain till the end as he finished unbeaten on 80. "I am very glad a player like Asela is in the team. He’s a cushion for any captain or team. If he bowls, he gets the wickets the team needs. I’m very happy he’s in the team. He has performed his responsibilities well. I’m hoping for those things from him in the future as well."

"I gave responsibilities to all the players – whether they were juniors or seniors. Everyone can have good ideas, so even in the team meetings, we gave them that room to talk. We have a good start now. We saw the character of the team – how they picked themselves up. We have that mentality to achieve victory even when things look grim. My main goal is to win every game."

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Sri Lanka chase record total to beat Zimbabwe by four wickets in one-off Test

Posted on 18 July 2017 by admin

Sri Lanka chase record total to beat Zimbabwe by four wickets in one-off Test.

After losing ODI series, Sri Lanka restore some pride as they chase down record 388-run target to beat Zimbabwe by four wickets in one-off Test. Rangana Herath was star of the match for his 11-wicket haul; Dickwella and Gunaratne hit solid fifties in the chase.

Set a record 388-run target for win, Sri Lanka remained calm under pressure to beat Zimbabwe by four wickets in the one-off Test in Colombo on Tuesday. Dickwella and Gunaratne, after the hosts lost two early on the final day, had a brilliant stand which put the chase on track and left very little for the batsmen to follow. Dickwella fell short of a well-deserved hundred but Gunaratne stayed there right till the end and saw his side through. For Zimbabwe, Cremer was pick of the bowlers for his four wickets but the leggie didn’t get enough support from the other end. 382 was the previous best chase in Sri Lanka in a Test match, and it was clearly a very special effort with the bat by the hosts. The ODI series loss did deflate them and this is the kind of result they would have wanted ahead of an important home series against India. It begins in little over a week and the hosts seem well-tuned for Virat Kohli and Co. Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, One off Test, Day 5: As it happened in Colombo.

PREVIEW SL vs ZIM, DAY 5: Zimbabwe were seven wickets away from their maiden Test win over Sri Lanka on Monday after setting the hosts a target of 388 in their one-off match at the R Premadasa Stadium. Sri Lanka were 170-3 in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day, still needing another 218 to beat Zimbabwe, who also recently won their maiden ODI series against the hosts. Kusal Mendis was unbeaten on 60 with Angelo Mathews, who stepped down as captain after the ODI series defeat, on 17 not out. Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer picked up 2-67 in Sri Lanka's second innings to add to his five-wicket haul in the first innings. Earlier, Sikandar Raza's first Test century helped Zimbabwe to 377 in their second innings after the touring side had resumed the fourth day on 252/6.

Commentary (Sri Lanka innings)

So that is it from us for this game! Sri Lanka win a pulsating Test match and avoid embarrassment by chasing down a mammoth total. Zimbabwe showed great character to take it down to the last day. The batting performance will give the Lankans great confidence heading into the Test series against India. The action will begin between the two Asian sides on 26th July. Zimbabwe on the other hand will head back home and work on their skills as they are not playing cricket for quite a while. Till then, take care and cheers!

Sri Lanka skipper, Dinesh Chandimal says that it has been a really good Test match. Credits his players as they have worked really hard. Mentions that it is tough to bat on day 5 and adds that the batsmen needed to apply themselves. Feels happy that the batsmen did just that. Gives a special mention to Gunaratne and Dickwella for batting so well. States that as a captain you have to be responsible on and off the field. Declares that it is a tough challenge for them against India but he is confident of a good show from his boys.

Zimbabwe skipper, Graeme Cremer says it is a little disappointing. Credits Sri Lanka for chasing a big target on day 5. Appreciates Rangana Herath for picking wickets at regular intervals. Mentions he is proud of his boys for fighting it out and taking it to the last day. Admits the one day series was a high point for them and it gave them belief they can play well in the tests. Ends by saying they have had a very good time in Sri Lanka and hope they come back soon to play another series.

Man of the Series, Rangana Herath says that he's aware that he has bowled more than 23,000 balls in First Class cricket. Mentions that he enjoys playing cricket and wants to bowl more in future. States that it is good to go past the records of Marshal and Botham in all time bowling list. Opines that it was a good game. Feels that Raza was playing a lot of sweeps and reverse sweeps and made it difficult for them. Adds that it was a challenge and they took it. Ends by saying that he is looking forward to the big series against India.

Man of the Match, Asela Gunaratne says he is extremely happy for what he has done. Thanks the team and the support staff for their support. Ends by saying that he is very happy that the team won.

Zimbabwe in both the innings were rescued by the lower order batters. That's a big positive for them. Sri Lanka have to be credited for achieving a come-from-behind victory, especially after conceding the psychological advantage at the end of the first innings by trailing Zimbabwe by 10 runs. The batters' efforts in the second innings had to be lauded as they didn't crumble under the pressure of a mountain of runs required.

The Zimbabweans can take heart from the fact that even though they were the lesser ranked side among the two, they were the side that was on top for most part of the game. Graeme Cremer, the skipper, was brilliant with the ball, claiming 9 wickets in the match. He was really probing the Sri Lankan batsmen with his guile. There were some half chances and some missed opportunities that, if grabbed, could have resulted in the match having a different end. All in all, this match proved to be yet another reason as to why Test cricket is alive and kicking.

So! It all comes to an end in the way it actually should have! Sri Lanka win and what an innings to finish it off by Asela Gunaratne. He kept his calm and played his shots and also cleverly rotated the strike to see off the tense moments in the last two sessions, ably supported in that last unbeaten 67-run stand, by Dilruwan Perera. Let's not forget the important innings that Niroshan Dickwella played, which acted as a catalyst for the run chase. Dinesh Chandimal, the new Sri Lankan skipper is elated with this victory and why not. This was the fifth highest successful chase in Tests.



Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (capt.), Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara.

Zimbabwe: Regis Chakabva, Hamilton Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sikander Raza, Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor (wk), Graeme Cremer (capt.), Chris Mpofu, Donald Tiripano.

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Mathews stepping down a sad saga

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin


Courtesy: By Srian Obeyesekere.

The great game called cricket is also about heartbreak! Heartbreak off the field as much as it is about the ecstasy of high performance and defeat and the bonding camaraderie the centuries long noble game manifests. Indeed, the ups and downs in criowncket like in life is a part and parcel cycle. As much as the sport has endowed as a spirit raising high intensity competition that has thrust countless players from Mr. Nothing to celebrity status, some of whom in fairytale rags to riches success stories, it has seen many greats in tatters like the famous Kevin Pietersen saga. In this instance, of course, the name that makes misty eyes is Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews who has stepped down from the captaincy following the home series 2-3 ODI defeat to minnows Zimbabwe having been in the job for nearly 5 years, at the age of 30.

The bad feeling to digest is that the country marks the parting from the hot seat role of a player who arrived on the stage with a bang and his stocks soared fast raising great expectations to take Sri Lanka out of the tunnel in team rebuilding following senior player retirements. The  blockbuster batsman image he hogged that saw his batting averages mount to the phenomenal with a terrific strike rate saw Mathews rated as a tremendous find for the future. That the former St. Joseph’s product had starred like a loner in taking Sri Lanka out of crisis situations like his epoch match winning century against England at Old Trafford for a famous series triumph was the anointment of winning the selectors and Sri Lankan cricket establishments faith. Effectively, Mathews was regarded as the torchbearer of his country’s cricket following the retirements of stalwarts Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekeratne Dilshan. That the lion has bearded himself in the climes of his countrymen’s  great expectations is thus the stunning low that has descended. Though committing himself for his country as a batsman, his effective  abdication of the crown has come as a blow to Sri Lanka in a critical phase of its cricket that is in the crossroads of raising its standings in the ICC rankings; of keeping its status intact to avoid disqualification from the 2019 World Cup.

Mathews led Sri Lanka in 34 Tests, 98 ODIs and 12 T20Is, having taken the reins at the age of 25, in 2013.

He had a rollicking 2014 scoring 1,317 runs at an average of 87.8, and his average as captain d50.94 despite injury bugging him in the last year in the saddle. Though critics claim his form had dropped, Mathews’ back from long injury unbeaten 40 odd in taking Sri Launka to victory toppling favourites India in the Champions Trophy was an inication he remained in good nick. The bottom-line of quitting the captaincy was apparently triggered by mounting pressure by critics. It is lamentable that he did not use his potential to greater effect having preferred to play a low profile batting at No. 5 when he should have moved to No.3 with Jayawardene and Sangakkara gone. On the field he seemed to lack the leadership grain of the right rotation of his bowlers. Perhaps injury sting had lulled his verve having longtime ago also forced Mathews to give up his role as a regular fast bowler.

Photo Credit : Daily News

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Dinesh Chandimal named Sri Lanka’s new Test captain – Upul Tharanga leads country in ODI & T20 formats

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

Dinesh Chandimal was named skipper of Sri Lanka's Test team on Wednesday (July 12), while fellow batsman Upul Tharanga has been tasked with leading the limited-overs squads after Angelo Mathews relinquished the captaincy across all formats on Tuesday. Both Chandimal and Tharanga have led the country on prior assignments on Mathews absence due to injury.

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, TSL.

Sri Lankan cricket captain Angelo Mathews leave the grounds after Zimbabwe’s victory in the fifth one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium in the southern district of Hambantota on July 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Dinesh Chandimal won Man of the Match Award

Consequent to Angelo Mathews stepping down as captain, Sri Lanka Cricket has named two players who will now take over the Test and limited over formats. Dinesh Chandimal has been named Sri Lanka's new Test captain, and Upul Tharanga will take over in ODIs and T20s. Chandimal had served as Mathews' deputy and led the T20 team in the past, while Tharanga led the ODI team when Mathews had been injured.

Speaking at the press conference to announce the new captains, Mathews, who quit following the 3-2 ODI defeat at home to Zimbabwe, said: "Yes, there have been significant poor performances, and I'm humble enough to accept it. In the past also there were instances where I wanted to step down but I didn't want to let the team down at that time, mainly because there were no replacements. The team's interests supercede my personal interests.

"There were two things working in my mind. The first is whether this was the right time considering the team. My honest opinion is that there are candidates who can take over the reins. I'm pretty sure that they will be more successful and better captains than me. I also wanted to give my successor enough time until the World Cup, to build up a team. Those were the main reasons for me to step down."

Mathews said that although he was disappointed with Sri Lanka's results in 2017, he resigns having given his best to the job.

"I have at all times played in the exclusive interest of Sri Lankan cricket, and have not at any time compromised my national duties for any personal gain," he said, reading a portion of his letter of resignation to the board. "I have at all times given utmost priority to making myself available over any franchise commitment, and have at times pre-terminated franchise commitments in order to fulfill national obligations. Subject to me being selected for national duty, I would ensure my fullest commitment to the national cricket team. Moreover, I would at all times support and guide our profusely talented young team, as well as my successor, in every way."

Chandimal was always a top contender to take over from Mathews, particularly because he had been groomed as a leader in the past. Though Chandimal's patchy form in ODIs led to his exclusion from the recent squad to play Zimbabwe, he has matured as a Test batsman – most recently making a difficult ton against Bangladesh at the P Sara Oval. He averages 41.17 since the start of 2015, and has scored 2540 runs at an average of 42.33 all told. Chandimal had also been a successful captain at school level, leading Ananda College to record number of outright victories in his senior year.

"I want to take this team and Sri Lanka forward, so I will put my heart and soul into the job," Chandimal said after the announcement. "I'm very thankful to the job that Angie [Mathews] has done for us. Captaincy is not an easy job and he was an excellent leader for us over four-and-a-half years. He's also a terrific batsman and a match-winner for us, and I have huge hopes that he will continue to be one in the coming years as well."

Tharanga's rise to the limited-overs captaincy has been sharper. He had been dropped from Sri Lanka's limited-overs sides as recently as the first half of 2016, but has since led the team in 14 ODIs, as acting captain in Mathews' absence. He has been in excellent form in recent months, however, averaging 49 in ODIs since November. He has been moved around the batting order during that time, sometimes opening the batting, and batting in the middle order at others. Sri Lanka have won four and lost eight of the ODIs Tharanga has captained – six of those losses coming against South Africa.

Tharanga also thanked Mathews for his leadership, and the selectors for giving him the opportunity to lead. He acknowledged that Sri Lanka's recent performances had been modest.

"I don't want to say that as a team we've done poorly in the recent past, but we have had some ups and downs," Tharanga said. "Some matches we do well, and others we don't. In future we have to be more consistent. We all want to take Sri Lanka forward."

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Angelo Mathews steps down as Sri Lanka captain in all three formats

Posted on 11 July 2017 by admin




Angelo Mathews has led Sri Lanka in 34 Tests, 98 ODIs and 12 T20Is © AFP



Sri Lankan cricket captain Angelo Mathews leave the grounds after Zimbabwe's victory in the fifth one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium in the southern district of Hambantota on July 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Angelo Mathews has stepped down as Sri Lanka captain in all three formats, following his side's 3-2 ODI series loss to Zimbabwe. Mathews, who called the defeat "one of the lowest points" of his career and said in its aftermath that he would discuss his captaincy future with the SLC selectors, conveyed his decision to the selectors on Tuesday.

Mathews has led Sri Lanka in 34 Tests, 98 ODIs and 12 T20Is, having taken the reins at the age of 25, in 2013. Though Sri Lanka have been modest in limited-overs cricket through the latter half of his tenure, they have, on his watch, tasted rare success in the Test format. In 2014, Mathews had personally played a pivotal role in the Test series triumph in England. Last year, Sri Lanka had also whitewashed Australia – a side they had won only one Test against previously.

There have also been significant lows under Mathews, however. Sri Lanka's campaigns in the 2015 World Cup, the 2016 World T20 and the 2017 Champions Trophy were disappointing, and even in the Test format, they suffered two 0-2 whitewashes in New Zealand, and a 0-3 result in South Africa. All told, Mathews has 13 Test victories to his name as captain, against 15 losses. On the batting front, Mathews had an outstanding 2014, in which he scored 1,317 runs at an average of 87.8, but his form had since fallen away, though his average as captain still remains 50.94. With the ball, he was only sporadically effective in Tests, but much more valuable a limited-overs bowler.

The last year of Mathews' captaincy was characterised by injury, however. He missed two Tests and an ODI tri-series in Zimbabwe as a result of multiple leg injuries, was absent for a five-match ODI series against South Africa thanks to a torn hamstring, missed Bangladesh's tour of the island, and was most recently unavailable for Sri Lanka's Champions Trophy fixture against South Africa – though it is possible he was prevented from playing that game by the board. The injuries have usually come when Mathews has had a high bowling workload, which he has attempted to carefully manage during his captaincy.

The announcement that he would resign from the captaincy was not unexpected. The paucity of Sri Lanka's returns in 2017 had placed substantial pressure on Mathews, and applied fresh scrutiny on his on-field strategising and decision-making, which has largely been seen to be Mathews' weakest suit as captain. The series loss against Zimbabwe has been particularly chastening to the Sri Lanka team – they had never lost a match to Zimbabwe at home before, let alone a series.

Sri Lanka are due to name a successor to Mathews – in the Test format at least – early on Wednesday. Upul Tharanga, who has led the ODI team when Mathews has been injured, and Dinesh Chandimal, who has served as Mathews' deputy and led the T20 team in the past, are prime candidates. Rangana Herath, who captained the most-recent Sri Lanka Test, may be an option as well.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe in 2nd ODI at Galle

Posted on 02 July 2017 by admin

Spinners Lakshan, Hasaranga bamboozle Zimbabwe to defeat.

Monday, July 3, 2017.

Courtesy: SA’ADI THAWFEEQ reporting from Galle

NEW CAP: Wanindu Hasaranga receives his Sri Lanka ODI cap from chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya prior to the commencement of the second ODI against Zimbabwe at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.

NEW CAP: Wanindu Hasaranga receives his Sri Lanka ODI cap from chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya prior to the commencement of the second ODI against Zimbabwe at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.

Zimbabwe who treated the Sri Lankan spinners with disdain to pull off a shock win in the first ODI on Friday were suddenly all at sea against two spinners whom they had never come up against Lakshan Sandakan who bowls left-arm chinaman and debutant Wanindu Hasaranga, right-arm leg break and googly prior to yesterday’s second ODI at the Galle International Stadium.

The result was more or less a foregone conclusion when Zimbabwe succumbed to 155 all out in 33.4 overs and Sri Lanka despite losing two early wickets cantered home to win by seven wickets with nearly 20 overs to spare and level the five-match series one-all.

It was a remarkable turnaround by Sri Lanka after being swept away two days ago by a team ranked lower than them. It was a test of their character and they came back fighting with flying colours.

Upul Tharanga followed his unbeaten knock of 79 on Friday with another sensible innings of 75 not out to add stability to the middle order after Danuskha Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis had thrown their wickets away off successive balls playing indiscreet shots to Tendai Chatara making Sri Lanka 10-2.

Tharanga was involved in two half century stands with Niroshan Dickwella (35) and Angelo Mathews (28 not out) to completely seal the match in Sri Lanka’s favour.

Sandakan finished with career best figures of four for 52 off 10 overs and 19-year-old Hasaranga marked a memorable ODI debut by performing the hat-trick – only the third to achieve the feat after Taijul Islam of Bangladesh (v Zimbabwe 2014) and Kagiso Rabada of South Africa (v Bangladesh 2015) to end up taking three wickets for 15. He became Sri Lanka’s 180th ODI cricketer when he was presented his cap prior to the commencement of play by chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya.

Hasaranga who was brought onto bowl in the 26th over cleaned up the Zimbabwe tail by capturing the wickets of Malcolm Waller (bowled), Donald Tiripano (lbw) and Tendai Chatara (bowled) off successive deliveries.

The difference in Sri Lanka’s approach to yesterday’s game and the one played on Friday was that there was more intensity and purpose on the field by the players and they brought in Sandakan and Hasaranga to replace Akila Dananjaya and Amila Aponso who together had leaked 138 runs off 18 overs.

Sandakan especially presented a different threat to the Zimbabwean batsmen. The sweep and reverse sweep that Zimbabwe employed so successfully in the first ODI on Friday didn’t quite work out to plan as three of their top six in the order perished attempting to play it.

Sandakan who took the Man of the Match award was playing his first match after sitting out the entire Champions Trophy without a game and being forced to miss the first ODI due to ’flu. He made it a memorable one for him taking important wickets in the middle period to help Sri Lanka to level the series.

The Zimbabweans already baffled by Sandakan’s dexterity were further confounded by Hasaranga’s leg-spin and googlies as their batting crumbled under pressure.

Asela Gunaratne who has the knack of picking up wickets whenever he is brought on held a brilliant one handed return catch to send back the dangerous Hamilton Masakadza. That catch alone compensated for the three that were put down during the Zimbabwe innings. Masakadza was missed before he had scored by Kusal Mendis at slip off Lasith Malinga off the third ball of the match. Thankfully unlike in the first ODI it didn’t prove to be too costly.

Sri Lanka was lucky they finished the match as early as half past three because an hour later the heavens opened out and the rains came down heavily.

Both teams now travel to Hambantota for the remaining three ODIs commencing July 6.

Hat-tricks by Sri Lanka bowlers in ODIs

Richmond College, Sri Lanka Under 19 and CCC right-arm leg-spin and googly bowler Wanindu Hasaranga became the fifth Sri Lankan bowler to perform the hat-trick in One-Day Internationals during the second ODI against Zimbabwe at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.

The list is:

Chaminda Vaas v Zimbabwe (SSC) 2001

Chaminda Vaas v Bangladesh (Pietermaritzburg) 2003

Lasith Malinga v South Africa (Georgetown) 2007

Farveez Maharoof v India (Dambulla) 2010

Lasith Malinga v Kenya (R Premadasa Stadium) 2011

Lasith Malinga v Australia (R Premadasa Stadium) 2011

Thisara Perera v Pakistan (R Premadasa Stadium) 2012

Wanindu Hasaranga v Zimbabwe (Galle) 2017

Spinners Lakshan, Hasaranga bamboozle Zimbabwe to defeat 

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