Sri Lanka's Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella have had their one-year bans on playing international cricket lifted.

The decision from Sri Lanka Cricket comes less than six months into the suspension period, and means they are once again eligible for selection in domestic cricket as well as for their national side.

The ban was handed out after the three players were found to have breached COVID-19 bio-bubble protocols during the tour of England last year.

The players were in Durham preparing for the first of three ODIs when they left the team hotel to visit the city centre despite strict COVID-19-related rules.

Batsmen Mendis and Gunathilaka, and wicketkeeper-batsman Dickwella were sent home and hit with strong sanctions.

The executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket took into account recommendations made by an independent panel of inquiry before handing down a 12-month ban from playing at international level and a six-month domestic suspension.

All three were also fined 10million Sri Lanka Rupees (around £36,000) for their indiscretion.

However, a statement released on Friday outlined that the ban had been lifted, confirming: "Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to lift the one-year suspension imposed on the [three] players from playing international cricket, across all three formats, with immediate effect.

"The latest decision was taken following a request made by the three players to Sri Lanka Cricket to lift the ban imposed on them, pursuant to the conclusion of the LPL 2021. Based on such request, Sri Lanka Cricket obtained a report from the doctor appointed by SLC to provide counselling for the three players during their period of suspension."

Sri Lanka Cricket did also state that if the trio have any further disciplinary breaches in the next two years, the remainder of the suspension will need to be served.

"The lifted suspension will remain suspended for a period of two years, during which the three players' conduct will be closely monitored by the SLC," the release added.

"Accordingly, the three players will be able to engage in playing domestic cricket with immediate effect and will also be available for national selection, subject to complying with mandatory fitness standards."

The appropriately named Jaffna Kings, the team of West Indies fast bowler Jayden Seales, continue to reign supreme after defeating the Galle Gladiators by 23 runs in Thursday’s final to claim their second Lankan Premier League title.

The Kings took first strike and got off to a good start thanks to openers Avishka Fernando and Rahmanullah Gurbaz.  Gurbaz was the first to go in the sixth over for 35 with the score at 56-1.

Englishman Tom Kohler-Cadmore then joined Fernando and the two put on a further 63 runs before Fernando was dismissed by Nuwan Thushara for a top score of 63 from 41 deliveries.

The score at Fernando’s dismissal was 119-2 off 12.4 overs when Shoaib Malik came to the crease to join Kohler-Cadmore.  The pair put on a further 62 runs before Malik was dismissed in the 19th over for 23 off 11 balls with the score at 181-3 off 18.2 overs.

Kings captain Thisara Perera strode to the crease to give them a big finish along with Kohler-Cadmore to post a daunting 201-3 off their 20 overs, with Kohler-Cadmore finishing not out on 57 from 41 balls and Perera finishing with 17 off 9 balls.

Thushara and Samit Patel were the best bowlers on the day for the Gladiators, bowling their four overs with figures of 1-32 and 1-33, respectively.

The reply from the Gladiators got off to a spectacular start with openers Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka racing to 63-0 at the start of the fifth over before Gunathilaka was dismissed by Wanindu Hasaranga for a blazing 54 off just 21 balls.

Things went from bad to worse for Galle as Australian batsman Ben Dunk was dismissed by Hasaranga off the very next ball for a duck, leaving them 63-2 from 4.3 overs.

Mohammed Hafeez then joined Mendis at the crease to attempt to stabilize the innings.  He didn’t last long as he was run out in the sixth over for 10 from six balls, leaving Galle now 84-3 from 6.2 overs.

Mendis was now joined at the wicket by captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa and the pair put on a further 29 runs before Rajapaksa was dismissed for 14 from 16 balls to leave them 113-4 from 10.4 overs.

Mendis was finally dismissed in the 14th over for 39 off 28 balls to leave the team 129-5 from 13.1 overs.

Dhananjaya Lakshan and Pulina Tharanga were then both dismissed in quick succession by Chatarunga de Silva to leave the score at 143-7 from 15.5 overs.

Samit Patel, who came to the crease at the fall of Rajapaksa’s wicket, made a solid 22 from 20 balls before he became the eighth wicket on the last ball of the 18th over.

The Gladiators ended their reply 178-9 off 20 overs to fall short by 23 runs.  Wanindu Hasaranga was the pick of the bowlers for the Kings with 2-30 from his four overs.

Seales took 1-36 from his three overs for the Kings.

Sri Lanka completed a series sweep of the West Indies Friday winning the second Test by 164 runs at Galle. Needing to make 297 or bat out 93 overs on the final day, the West Indies folded for 132 all out in 56.1 overs.

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says Sri Lanka’s resistance on the penultimate day of the second Test match in Galle will make it difficult for the West Indies to level the two-match series.

An unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 107 between Dhananjaya de Silva and Lasith Embuldeniya put Sri Lanka in control on the penultimate day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Thursday.

At stumps, Sri Lanka are 328-8, a lead of 279 with two wickets still remaining. De Silva is 153 not out while Embuldeniya is on 25. Together they took Sri Lanka from 221-8 after the West Indies had threatened to restrict the home side to a lead below 200 runs, having trailed by 49 on first innings.

Resuming on 46-2, still three runs behind on first innings, Sri Lanka lost their third wicket at 73 when Veerasammy Permaul had Charith Asalanka caught at short leg for 19. Pathum Nissanka, 21, overnight, and de Silva stitched together a stand of 78 that was broken when the former got out lbw to Roston Chase for 66.

It was then 151-4.

At 157, Chase had Dinesh Chandimal out caught and bowled for two and the Sri Lankan lead was now only 108 with five wickets left.

However, de Silva forged a partnership of 51 with Ramesh Mendis, who made 25. Permaul then dismissed Suranga Lakmal for seven and the injured Angelo Matthews for 1 as Sri Lanka slipped to 221-8, a lead of 172.

It was the last success the West Indies would enjoy.

Permaul, who took 5-35 in the first innings, has so far taken 3-100 while Chase has figures of 2-82.

Scores in the match: Sri Lanka 204 and 328-8; West Indies 253.

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Kyle Mayers, insists the team must keep the pressure on Sri Lanka if they aim to stay in with a chance of levelling the series heading into the fourth day.

Mayers dug in to put on a useful 36 from 64 balls as the Windies secured a narrow lead over the hosts at the end of their first innings, on the third day.

Resuming the day at 69 for 1, the Windies had a strong morning session, but the Sri Lanka spinners struck back to claim the team’s last seven wickets for just 87 runs. 

The Windies began the second innings with a narrow lead of 49 but kept the pressure on by striking twice with two exceptional runouts to leave the hosts at 46 for 2, at the end of the day’s play.  Mayers, who did his part by dismissing the dangerous Dimuth Karunaratne, insists the team must keep that attitude heading into tomorrow.

“We need to keep down the run rate and keep up the pressure,” Mayers said, following the end of play.

“We are ahead in the game now, so if we can stop them from scoring, runs are crucial heading into the last day.  The least amount of runs they get is the better it is for us,” he added.

“So, if we can keep the pressure on and squeeze some wicket out early tomorrow, first hour, I think we will be good.”

Sri Lanka are 46-2 at the end of the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Wednesday, still three runs behind the visitors in a match that is delicately poised heading into Thursday’s fourth day.

A five-wicket haul from spinner Veerasammy Permaul hobbled Sri Lanka to give the West Indies a slender advantage at the close of a rain-affected second day, in Galle, on Tuesday.

Resuming the score with a comfortable overnight total of 113 for 1, the Sri Lankans were 204 all-out just before lunch.  The decision to use left-arm spinners Permaul and Jomel Warrican proved to be a masterstroke that paid rich dividends for the visitors.

Permaul, ended with overall figures of 5 for 35, while Warrican took 4 for 50.  With the other wicket going to Roston Chase on the first day, it was only the fourth time the typically pace-dependent Windies saw their spinners claim 10 wickets in an innings.

In response, the West Indies came up with an all-around solid batting display and put 69 for 1 on the board, leaving the visitor trailing by 135 runs. Jermaine Blackwood, who put 44 on the board from 91 balls was the lone casualty before the rains came.  Blackwood was dismissed lbw after misjudging a Praveen Jayawickrama arm ball. Kraig Brathwaite was unbeaten on 22 off 77 deliveries, and alongside him was Nkrumah Bonner on 1 at the close of play.

 

West Indies left-arm spinner, Veerasammy Permaul, was delighted after taking a maiden five-wicket haul in his 7th match in Test cricket.

Permaul took 5-35 from his 13 overs to help restrict Sri Lanka to 204 all out on day two of the second Test in Galle.

The Guyanese bowler, who is playing in his first Test match since 2015, reacted joyously to his achievement.

“First of all, I’d like to thank God for giving me strength. I’m very overwhelmed. Over the years I’ve been working really hard to get back into the team and now it is paying off,” he said.

Permaul said trying to spin the ball as much as possible served him well in the Sri Lankan conditions.

“I tried to adjust to the conditions and see what pace is good for the wicket. I also tried to spin the ball as much as possible and I think that is what brought me success,” he said.

He also referred to the bowling partnership between himself and fellow left-arm spinner, Barbadian Jomel Warrican, who took 4-50 from his 18.3 overs.

“I think Warrican bowled really well. He was the one that was controlling the scoring rate. He was bowling tight at one end and I was attacking at the other end and that is the key to a good bowling partnership,” he said.

When asked how the Windies bowling performance can carry over into future encounters, Permaul said consistency is key.

“Moving forward, it’s very important that we stay consistent as a bowling unit. Be patient and don’t look for wickets. Try to create opportunities rather than experimenting,” he said.

The West Indies ended day two on 69-1 in their first innings reply to Sri Lanka’s 204 all out with captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, at the crease on 22 and Nkrumah Bonner on one.

Jermaine Blackwood is the only batsman out so far for 44.

 

West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, was pleased with the bowling performance of his team on Monday's rain-affected first day of their second Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Sri Lanka ended the day on 113-1 from the 34.4 overs that were possible after rain washed out the entire first two sessions.

Pathum Nissanka and Oshada Fernando are the batsmen at the crease on 61 and two, respectively, while Roston Chase has so far taken 1-33 from 7.4 overs.

The West Indies made two changes to the team from the first test in the bowling department with Veerasammy Permaul and Kemar Roach playing instead of Rakheem Cornwall and Shannon Gabriel.

Estwick says the presence of a number of right-handers in the Sri Lankan batting line-up was the reason why Permaul, a left-arm spinner, came into the side at the expense of Cornwall, who bowls off-spin.

“When you look at the Sri Lankan batting line-up, they’re packed with right-handers. We felt that with Roston already bowling off-spin, it would be wiser to go with two left-arm spinners,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to Estwick Roach replacing Gabriel was due to the short turnaround between matches.

“You now have to manage your bowlers with the short turnaround. Before, you had eight or nine days between Test matches and that is a thing of the past. There’s three days between Test matches plus there’s been a lot of rain around Galle so the field is a bit heavy and that can be very taxing on the fast bowler’s body. Kemar didn’t play in the first test and that was planned to keep him fresh for this one,” he said.

Overall, Estwick was, for the most part, pleased with the bowling of his left arm spinners on the day.

“I thought Jomel Warrican, in the few overs he bowled this evening, looked threatening. He went past the bat a lot. Permaul, obviously coming back from being out of Test cricket for a while, I thought he looked good initially but then a change in (the) field, meant he went a little bit too wide. He needed to be on the stumps a bit more challenging both the outside and inside edges.,” he said.

He was also generally pleased with how the Caribbean side executed their plans on the day, especially to Sri Lankan captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, who got scores of 147 and 83 in the first test but who made 42 Monday.

“Obviously, their captain is in good form. I think we stuck to our plans well. We wanted to take the stumps out of the equation and make him hit the ball through the offside. I think we achieved that. If you look at it, he scored 42 off 90 balls so I thought that, all in all, we bowled well,” said Estwick.

Looking at what lies ahead in the match, Estwick emphasised cutting down on loose deliveries and being flexible with their tactics.

“We could have been better with maybe a little bit; too many boundary balls. We’ll come tomorrow and work hard, make sure we keep reviewing our plans and then try to go and execute them,” he said.

Day 2 begins at 11:30 pm.

Sri Lanka reached 113-1 at the end of a rain-shortened opening day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Monday.

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, says the team’s batting line-up must find a way to get stuck in against Sri Lanka, particularly the spinners if they are to find a way to be compete in the ongoing series.

The Caribbean team is currently 1-0 down after suffering a lop-sided defeat to Sri Lanka in the first Test.  In the end, the regional team lost by 187 runs, but that could have been even worse were it not for a 100-run partnership between Bonner and Joshua Da Silva.  The duo were the only ones to get above the half-century mark and to say the majority of other batsmen found the going difficult would be an understatement.

 Sri Lanka’s spinners were aggressive throughout, with left-arm orthodox Praveen Jayawickrama (4 for 40 runs) and off-spinner Ramesh Mendis (3 for 75) doing the damage in the first innings. In the second innings, it was left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who grabbed an impressive 5 for 46 and Mendis (4 for 64) and Jayawickrama (1 for 28) also doing more damage.

Bonner, who looked much more comfortable after making an adjustment for the second innings, after being dismissed for just 1 from 11 balls in the first, believes that coping with the spinners comes down to better footwork.

"These are small things we need work on if we want to be more sure in our defense, and when we attack,” Bonner said.

"It's difficult when players don't get a start. In the first innings, the ball was holding and spinning. It was a different challenge in the second innings when the ball was sliding at times, and spinning too. We have to come up with smart tactics in order to play all the left-arm spinners."

The West Indies and Sri Lanka will face off in the second Test, beginning on Sunday.

West Indies batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, says the team will need to come up with a plan to cope with Sri Lanka’s spin attack if they are to get a better result in the second Test match of the series this weekend.

Bonner was one of the few batsmen to provide any resistance against the spin onslaught from the hosts.

He compiled an unbeaten 68 in the second innings in which the Windies were bowled out for 160 to lose the game by 187 runs.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Jamaican top-order batsman said the Caribbean side will need to get together and devise a plan to counter the Sri Lankan spinners.

“Moving forward, we have to come up with small tactics for when we’re playing the off-spinners or the left-arm spinners. That’s something we’re going to sit down as a team and look at,” said Bonner.

The Windies problems against spin are mental rather than physical, according to Bonner.

“It’s mental for us. Everybody has the ability to play spin but we need to be clear on how we want to play against them. Obviously, the Sri Lankan spinners got the better of us in this match. We’re trying to work on that in training to try to give a better showing in the next match,” he said

Bonner also spoke about how the Windies can improve their approach to playing spin, given the fact that it is the biggest threat in sub-continent conditions.

“We have to be more precise with our footwork, whether we’re going to come forward or go back. There are some small things we want to work on if we want to be more assured when we’re defending and when we’re attacking,” he said.

The second test match begins Sunday at 11:30 pm local time.

West Indies wicket-keeper batsman, Joshua Da Silva, believes application at the crease will be the key for the Caribbean side for the remainder of their Test series against Sri Lanka.

The Windies lost the first test to the Sri Lankans by 187 runs in Galle while only managing to score 230 and 160 in their two turns at the wicket.

The problem, according to Da Silva, was a technical one.

“We played a bit too far in front of us, especially in the first innings,” he said.

Da Silva was one of the bright spots in the second innings, making a well-played 54 off 125 balls as part of a 100-run partnership with Nkrumah Bonner, who remained not out at the end on 68.

Speaking after the match, Da Silva highlighted the difficulty of the conditions that the batsmen faced.

“Conditions were challenging. The pitch was turning a lot and the straighter ball was sliding on a bit so it was a difficult new-ball wicket but once the ball got a bit softer, it was a bit easier and we were able to get more on top of the bowlers,” he said.

The Trinidadian also gave some insight into what led to the big second innings partnership with Bonner that saw them take the score from 18-6 to 118-7.

“Well, when I got into the wicket with Bonner we had to rebuild. We had to think about how we were going to get out of a bit of a collapse so we just wanted to bat balls and both of us wanted to be at the wicket at the end of the day,” said Da Silva.

He also said that Sri Lanka didn’t do anything the Windies didn’t expect going into the game.

“They just played the cricket they know how to play. They used their spinners wisely and they batted well in the conditions they know how to bat very well. They used their home advantage,” he said.

Finally, Da Silva explained what needs to change for the West Indies to turn the series around.

“I just think the boys need to fight. We need to believe in ourselves. Nobody goes out there to fail. Everybody’s trying their best so just a bit of application and give yourself some time. You have a lot more time than you think,” he said.

The Windies will be looking to even the series in the second test which begins on Sunday at 11:30 pm local time.

 

 

 

Sri Lanka completed a comprehensive 187-run victory over the West Indies at Galle on Thursday despite defiant half-centuries from Nkrumah Bonner and Joshua da Silva.

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