Sri Lankan shuttlers eye impressive show at Commonwealth Games – The

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Three-time Olympian Niluka Karunaratne, will lead the nation’s hopes in badminton competitions at the 22nd Commonwealth Games which will take place in Birmingham, United Kingdom, from July 29-August 8.
The multiple-time national singles champion and the country’s most experienced shuttler, Karunaratne has appeared at every Commonwealth Games since his debut as a teenager at Manchester in 2002 and this year’s edition of the 72-nation event will be his sixth.
The 37-year-old, ranked 131st in the world, will be joined by five other compatriots at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre courts as Sri Lanka look to impress in badminton.
Sachin Dias, Buwaneka Goonathilleke, Thilini Hendahewa, Dumindu Abeywickrema and Suhasni Vidanage are the rest of the members of the team, coached by the Indonesian former Asian singles champion Jeffer Rosobin. Kanchana Wimalasuriya is the team manager on tour.
Abeywickrema and Vidanage will be making their debut appearance in the Commonwealth Games.
Karunaratne and Abeywickrema will play the singles while Sri Lanka’s most experienced men’s doubles pair Goonathilleke and Dias – currently ranked 95th in the world – will also be looking for an impressive show in the UK. Meanwhile, Vidanage will play both singles and women’s doubles – partnered by Hendahewa who also competes in the mixed doubles events.
Sri Lanka are pitted in Group 1 along with the defending champions India, Australia and Pakistan.
Their first opponents will be Australia (July 29). Sri Lankan shuttlers will face India on July 30.

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Sri Lanka women’s tennis team commenced their Billie Jean King Cup Asia/Oceania Group two competition with a crushing 3-0 victory over Brunei in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Monday.
While Hasali Gajaba and Rukshika Wijesuriya won their respective singles matches, the latter was joined by Janali Manamperi to win the doubles encounter.
Gajaba registered a 6-0, 6-0 win over Tan-Jia Hul in her match. In her singles match Wijesuriya scored 6-0, 6-1 against Chong Ming Rui.
The doubles pair scored 6-1, 6-1 against Chong Ming Rui and Tan Jia Hui.
The tournament which runs till August 28 is competed by nine nations, namely, Brunei, Darussalam, Guan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka.
Pulina Perera made Dharmaraja’s rare presence felt to a great extent when he hammered a blistering half century to set the stage for Kandy to record their second consecutive victory in the Sri Lanka Cricket conducted Inter Provincial Under 17 tournament on Tuesday.
The century old cricket stronghold has not produced prominent cricketers to provincial teams in recent years and Pulina for the second consecutive day scored a half century to make Dharmaraja’s presence felt.
The left hander cracked nine sixes and six fours to score 82 runs in just 33 balls. He was joined by Lakwin Abeysinghe (88), Isuru Pannala and Thisaru Ekanayake who scored half centuries to propel the score to 357 runs.
In reply Dambulla were dismissed for 155 runs as pacemrn Manula Kularatne and Sheshan Yashon picked up four wickets each.
In the other match played on Tuesday Colombo South beat Galle according to D/L method.
Kandy beat Dambulla at Dambulla
357 for 5 in 50 overs (Pulina Perera 82, Wathila Udara 26, Lakwin Abeysinghe 88, Isuru Pannala 54, Thisaru Ekanayake 54n.o, Jayavi Liyanagama 20n.o.)
Dambulla 155
all out in 41.3 overs (Gayana Weerasinghe 33, Vishwa Rajapaksa 26, Kanishka Lakshan 30; Manula Kularatne 4/23, Sheshan Yashon 4/33)
Colombo South beat Galle according to D/L method
205 all out in 39 overs (Chamarindu Nethsara 44, Dinura Abeywickramasinghe 27, Thamindu Pradeeptha 35; Akmal Fazly 2/43, Rayan Dissanayake 2/33, Randisha Bandaranayaka 4/20)
Colombo South
200 for 4 in 27.1 overs (Sineth Jayawardena 38, Vishen Helambage 45, Rudanda Gamage 72n.o.; S. Kabileshwaran 3/66)

Rex Clementine in Chelmsford
Chelmsford, the home of English county cricket team Essex, is where outstanding England opening batsmen like Graham Gooch and Sir Alastair Cook came from. An half-hour drive from capital London, the county ground gave us a glimpse of another opening batsman who could go onto make an impact in the game. The difference is this opener doesn’t come from Chelmsford or its nearby cities – Colchester, Southend-on-Sea or Brentwood. He hails from the far off Kurunegala. Asitha Wanninayake is his name.
Opening batting in England is no fun unless you are a Sidath Wettimuny or a Marvan Atapattu, sound technique and solid temperament. The lesser mortals struggle here as the conditions are overcast and the Duke ball swings an awful lot. So Asitha Wanninayake’s effort is no mean one.
Making his debut for Sri Lanka Under-19, Wanninayake came up with a fine effort batting for over seven hours for a superb 132 in which he faced 315 deliveries. The conditions were so overcast that floodlights had to be put on soon after lunch on day two, but that didn’t bother the rookie. He left and defended well and more importantly was patient.
Kaushal Silva is another Sri Lankan opener who had played a pivotal role when the team won a Test series in England. But he wasn’t an overwhelming favourite as his shots were limited. The left-handed Wanninayake however while batting deep cashed in when loose balls were on offer. His 19 boundaries are poof for that.
The 143 run stand between Wanninayake and Ranuda Somaratne, an elegant batsman from Trinity College, Kandy, steadied the Sri Lankan innings.
Wanninayake of course is from the rival St. Anthony’s and on a cold English afternoon the Kandy boys were making merry.
Wanninayake was determined to carry on on day three but was dismissed for his overnight score of 132. Lancastrian Thomas Aspinwall cleaned him up with a beauty and stumps were all over the place. In fact, he got two in two balls when wicketkeeper Lahiru Dewatage was trapped leg before wicket for a golden duck.
Sri Lanka lost just those two wickets in the session as captain Raveen de Silva added 78 runs for the fifth wicket with Vinuja Ranpul. The two Nalanda boys, who were part of the history making side that won the Battle of the Maroons after 69 years, ensured the scorers were leveled at lunch.

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