First stern Test for Angelo Mathews...:
Sri Lanka off to London today
Sri Lanka’s newly appointed cricket captain Angelo Mathews will come
across his stiffest hurdle when he leads his side for the ICC Champions
Trophy limited overs cricket tournament to be staged in England from
June 6 to 23. The Sri Lanka team will leave tonight (Sunday) for the
United Kingdom to participate in the Championship.
Sri Lanka will meet New Zealand in their opening game on Sunday June
9 at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, England on June 13 at the London Oval and
Australia on Monday June 17 in a day night match at London Oval in their
The team is no doubt a blend of youth and experience with three
former captains Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekeratne
Dilshan , all by his side and will no doubt give Mathews a load of
Jayasuriya has faith in team
Chairman Selectors and former captain Sanath Jayasuriya expressed his
utmost confidence that his team will put up a good show. “ The side is a
well balanced one with some good youngsters making their way to the
side. Besides the seniors Mahela Jayawarderne, Kumar Sangakkara and T.M.
Dilshan we should expect something special from the younger players like
the Deputy Dinesh Chadimal, Kusal Janith Perera and Thisara Perera who
are all capable of changing the complexion of the game and chasing big
targets. However, it is a pity that Chanaka Welagedara the only left-arm
pace had to opt out of the side due to an ankle injury. But the pace
attack looks good with Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Mathews,
Shaminda Eranga, Thisara Perera and Dilhara Lokuhettige who came as an
replacement for Welagedara,” said Jayasuriya.
The 32-year-old Dilhara Lokuhettige is an aggressive batsman and a
fast bowling all-rounder, has been called into the national side after a
lapse of five years after playing in a T20 match against Canada in 2008.
He has been knocking at the door for some time with his consistent
Four regular wicket-keepers
The side also comprises four regular wicket keepers like Kumar
Sangakkara, T.M. Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Janith Perera who
have proved their capabilities behind the stumps in representative and
Test matches. However, the above mentioned foursome could walk into any
side for their batting alone and all could keep wickets competently in a
case of emergency.
Mathews was appointed captain against Bangladesh last February where
he beat the visitors 1-0 in the Test series and drew the ODI series 1-1.
The final curtain will come down on the ICC Champions Trophy with the
staging of it’s eighth edition in England from June 6 to 23 at four
different venues, namely Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, London Oval and
The tournament began in 1998 as the Mini World Cup in Dhaka,
Bangladesh who were not full members of the ICC at that time. South
Africa beat the West Indies in the final in a tourney conducted on a
knock out basis. In the second tournament also held on a knock-out basis
in Nairobi, Kenya in year 2000, New Zealand beat India in the final.In
2002, the tournament was named as the ICC Champions Trophy and was held
in Sri Lanka. All ten Test playing nations took part with two associate
members - Netherlands and Kenya.
India-Sri Lanka washout
The final between India and Sri Lanka was washed out twice due to
heavy rain. In 2004, West Indies beat England in England,
In 2006, when the tournament was held in India, Australia beat the
West Indies. In 2008, the tournament was to be staged in Pakistan, but
several countries backed out due to security concerns and the tournament
was postponed and was later held in South Africa in 2009 where Australia
beat New Zealand in the final.
Only the top eight teams in the ICC rankings are eligible to
participate in the tournament which will be held for the last time, as
the cricket governing body ICC has decided to do away with the
The eight teams have been divided into two segments. In group ‘A’
there is Sri Lanka, host England, Australia and New Zealand. In group
‘B’ India, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa will meet each other.
The two top teams in each group will meet in the semi-finals.
The match schedules:
Thursday 6 June - Group ‘B’: India–South Africa at Sophia Gardens –
Friday 7, June Group ‘B’: Pakistan–West Indies at Kensington, Oval.
Saturday 8, June Group ‘A’: England–Australia at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Sunday 9, June Group ‘A’: New Zealand–Sri Lanka at Sophia Gardens,
Monday 10, June Group ‘B’: Pakistan–South Africa (D/N) at Edgbaston,
Tuesday 11, June Group ‘B’: India–West Indies at the Oval.
Wednesday, 12 June Group ‘A’: Australia–New Zealand at Edgbaston,
Thursday 13, June Group ‘A’: England–Sri Lanka at the Oval.
Friday 14, June Group ‘B’: South Africa-West Indies at Sophia Gardens,
Saturday 15, June Group India–Pakistan at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Sunday 16, June Group ‘A’: England–New Zealand at Sophia Gardens,
Monday 17, June Group ‘A’: Australia-Sri Lanka at the London Oval (D/N).
Wednesday 19, June: First semi-final A1 Vs B2 at London Oval.
Thursday 20, June: Second semi-final A2 Vs B1 at Cardiff.
Sunday 23, June: Final at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Sri Lanka team: Angelo Mathews (Captain), Dinesh Chandimal (Vice
Captain), Tillekeratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara,
Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera, Thisara Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne,
Nuwan Kulasekera, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Sachitra Senanayake,
Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Lokuhettige.