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Windies hopefuls battle Lankans today
Windies hopefuls will battle the touring Sri Lankans today at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba in a three-day First Class encounter beginning at 10 am.
Keiran Powell will lead the Windies ‘A’ team against the Sri Lankans who will be getting their first taste of the Caribbean conditions, ahead of the first Test against the Windies starting next Wednesday at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.
The Windies ‘A’ team has played good cricket over the past few seasons and a number of players on the team will be looking to stake a claim for positions in the second and third Test because the first Test squad has already been named.
The players on parade today for the Windies are those who performed well in the CWI Professional Cricket League series that was played earlier this year. John Campbell is expected to open the batting with Powell and the middle order will include players like Chanderapaul Hemraj, Sharmah Brooks, Jermaine Blackwood and Sunil Ambris.
The fast bowling duties is expected to be handled by Miguel Cummins, Keon Joseph and Raymond Reifer.
The slow bowlers on show include Rakheem Cornwall, Jomel Warrican, Campbell. Jahmar Hamilton who has been selected for the first Test will keep wickets and he will be looking for a good performance to force himself into the final XI for the Oval Test.
The Sri Lankans, on the other hand, go into the match with problems back home concerning their cricket. The Sri Lankan Government and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have been stung by fixing allegations made in Al Jazeera’s documentary ‘Cricket’s Match Fixers’. In an effort to restore their reputation, Sri Lanka’s sports minister Faiszer Musthapa has asked the country’s cricket board to hand over the inquiry to the law enforcement authorities. “I have watched the telecast of Al Jazeera’s documentary and written to Sri Lanka Cricket to inform the Criminal Investigation Department and take immediate action. I give assurance to the fans and cricket loving public that we will rid cricket and all other sports of corruption to make it conducive for every team to play here. We guarantee everyone a level playing field,” Musthapa said. In his letter to the cricket board, the Sri Lankan sports minister wrote that he was saddened and dismayed by the Al Jazeera documentary.
Meanwhile, the touring party was thrown into mourning with the news that batsman Dhananjaya de Silva has withdrawn from the tour after his father was killed by unidentified gunmen on Thursday night.
Sri Lankan Police confirmed that Ranjan de Silva, Dhananjaya’s father, was shot dead in Rathmalana - just south of Colombo - at around 8:30 pm. Ranjan was a councillor in the Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia City Council, having been elected in February.
Dhananjaya was due to depart to the West Indies on Friday, with the rest of the Sri Lanka squad. Many of his team-mates had visited Kalubowila Hospital on Thursday night, where his father had been taken.
Dhananjaya had only recently fought his way back into the Test side, having scored hundreds in Delhi and later Chittagong. He has played 13 Tests and 17 ODIs to date, and in January had become the fastest-equal Sri Lanka batsman to 1000 Test runs.
WINDIES ‘A’ - Kieran Powell (Captain), Sunil Ambris, Jermaine Blackwood, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Miguel Cummins, Jahmar Hamilton, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Keon Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Vishual Singh, Jomel Warrican.
SRI LANKA - Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Mahela Udawatte, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Roshen Silva, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Gamage, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal (subject to fitness), Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando.
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