Archive for February, 2012

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Ranil Abeynaike: A Perfect Gentleman

February 26, 2012

Pelham Juriansz, in the Sunday Leader, 26 Feb. 2012

What a shock! This is the only way that I can describe my reaction to the news that my former school-friend, cricket captain, amazing bowler and erstwhile friend, Ranil G. Abeynaike had passed away. I can still remember Ranil as a young, ‘up and coming’ bowler in 1971, where he made it to the ‘Royal-Thomian Big Match’ of 1971. That year, the stylish Ravi Sathasivam led the Thomians.   In the following year – 1972 (exactly 40 years ago) Duleep Mendis as skipper mauled the Royalists for 184. In those two years Ranil, was a mere ‘spectator.’
It was in the following year, however, that he matured as a bowler, and really struck the headlines every week. A good bowler of those times averaged roughly four wickets per match, but  Ranil in about 15 matches that season took well over 90 wickets! That’s Murali stuff!
In the Royal Thomian of 1973 the Thomians had three deadly spin bowlers, and we called them the ‘Three ‘As” as they were Abeynaike, Abeygunawardena and Abeywardene. That is Ranil himself and his partner in left arm spinning crime, Ajith Abeygunda( as we affectionately called him), and last but not least, one  of the finest ‘offies’ with a classical action, Ravi Abeywardene. This ‘threesome’ accounted for numerous wickets in 1973, so much so that the Royalists were scared of them and folded up for 124 in the first innings. In the second innings, Prasanna ‘Kari’ and Chelliah, came out with guns blazing, wanting to ‘tame’ the three Thomian spinners. And tame them they did. At the end the Thomians were hanging on for dear life with Ravi and Gamini Kumarage holding on to their wickets. But, this did not deter Ranil and co. Some weeks later they met the Royalists in the Lifebuoy trophy final and won. Sweet revenge! Not really. Speaking later at a school Assembly, at which yours truly was present, Ranil spoke about the Read the rest of this entry ?

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Another Tie at Adelaide Oval

February 26, 2012

Redbacks tie with Tasmania in Nailbiter — see http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/cricket/redbacks-set-imposing-target/story-e6frectl-1226281453947

SOUTH Australia last night busted the dam wall on the longest drought in Australian cricket, tying with Tasmania to claim the Ryobi Cup in a thrilling final at Adelaide Oval.   The Redbacks won their third one-day domestic premiership, finishing tied with Tigers in a last-ball nail-biter but triumphing as the higher-ranked side to overcome a 25-year exile from the champions stage. South Australia – an undisputed dud in the all-white arena of Sheffield Shield cricket – turned on red-and-black magic to claim the state’s first one-day silverware since it beat Tassie in the 1986-87 McDonald’s Cup final. Until last night, no state side had waited longer for a competition victory. In amazing closing scenes, tailender James Faulkner needed a run to tie and two runs to win from the final ball from Gary Putland. He missed and non-striker Ricky Ponting – booed for removing his pads for the final ball – scrambled through for the tying bye. It wasn’t enough.

Needing just five to win with seven wickets in hand starting the final over, Bailey fell on the second ball, lbw on referral. Facing four to get from four runs, and with Ponting (75) stranded at the bowlers end, Faulkner dug out a yorker for a handy two. Faulkner played and missed the next two deliveries, leaving two to win and one to tie from the last ball. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Sri Lankan Cricketers entertained by Julia Gillard

February 25, 2012

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Outstanding Test Cricket in the Gulf States: Pakistan-England Series

February 25, 2012

Christopher Martin-Jenkins, courtesy of the author and the Times where this essay appeared in the regular column Thunderer,** under a different title

Have you tuned in these last two weeks to the strangest sporting spectacle of the winter? Were we watching proper Test cricket in the entrepot and melting pot of Dubai, that fantastical oil-fired architects’ playground in the desert? Do three matches, decided in eleven days, more often than not before sparse crowds on neutral territory and producing a record 42 leg before wicket decisions constitute a genuine Test series?

Pakistan Test squad in triumph – Pic by Lakruwan Wanniaratchchi for AFP

Yes, emphatically yes; and fascinating, riveting, Test cricket at that, odd as it was and inconvenient though it may be that England batted badly and were trounced. It was a far more interesting series than is normally the case when England play away in Pakistan, where most games have been bore-draws played out at a slow pace on dry, dull surfaces. Only six of Pakistan’s 25 home Tests against England at home have been won by either side. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Slinger Malinga takes to the streets of Colombo

February 23, 2012

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Tributes to Ranil Abeynaike: Thomian, Sri Lankan Cricketer, Curator, Commentator

February 23, 2012

 ONE: Ranil’s illustrious innings comes to an end – Lal Guneskera in The Island, 21 February 2012

Former top class cricketer, curator and well known TV and radio commentator and former The Island columnist Ranil Abeynaike (57) died of a sudden heart ailment, last morning (21), at Asiri Hospital, in Colombo. Abeynaike captained S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia in 1973 and was adjudged the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and Best Bowler. In the same year, S. Thomas’ were adjudged the Best Schools Cricket Team.

A slow left-arm spinner and middle-order batsman, he was in the national squad from 1974 to 1985 and led the Board President’s XI against Australia, led by Greg Chappell. Abeynaike played in the Bedfordshire League in England between 1978 and 1982. During that period, he also represented MCC. He was a member of the MCC.

He qualified as a curator in England and when Sri Lanka gained Test status in 1982, SSC appointed him as its curator and he assisted in preparing pitches at Nalanda, Wesley, Panadura CC, Uyanwatte Stadium in Matara, Air Force grounds, Katunayake etc. He did up the turf at St. Benedict’s too in 2006. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Bradman’s Advice to Batsmen at the Bowler’s End

February 23, 2012

Mahinda Wijesinghe

Quite a furore was created in the current CBN series game between India and Sri Lanka played in Brisbane when Sri Lankan batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, at the non-striker’s end, was run out by Indian off-spinner Ashwin when the batsman was found to have left the crease before the ball had been delivered. In other words, Thirimanne was found to be taking a ‘foul start’. When Ashwin appealed to umpire Paul Reiffel – with Thirimanne well out of his crease – the latter without doing his avowed duty of giving his decision walked across to his partner Billy Bowden. After a three-way discussion, with Bowden and the Indian skipper Sehwag, Thirimanne was permitted to continue. Despite this let-off, Thirimanne still continued with his walkabouts. Something that confused most. Indeed the Laws of Cricket are very clear on this issue. Last year, to dispel any doubts on this vexed matter, the MCC reiterated and stated very clearly that “the bowler is permitted before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker.” Can it be any clearer?

Hence, the Indian bowler Ashwin was not doing any act that even bordered on questionable sportsmanship. That question should be posed to the Sri Lanka batsman who was wittingly or otherwise taking an unfair advantage by taking a foul start. Remember, just one run could quite easily make the difference between victory and/or defeat, and more so in the shortened version of the game.

Read the rest of this entry ?