Hard work pays off for Karunaratne's Sri Lanka

By Sports Desk February 23, 2019

Dimuth Karunaratne lauded his side's work ethic and ability to enjoy the occasion after Sri Lanka became the first Asian nation to win a Test series in South Africa.

The tourists wrapped up an eight-wicket victory on day three of the second Test to seal a 2-0 series whitewash.

Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis' unbeaten 163-run partnership saw the Lions chase down the 197 required for victory at St George's Park on Saturday, much to the delight of captain Karunaratne.

"It's really a great feeling," he said, having seen his side bounce back from series whitewashes in New Zealand and Australia. "It's not easy when you come to South Africa and win a series.

"A lot of hard work, we did really well, enjoyed it a lot, and that's why we created history.

"I think the tours of New Zealand and Australia were really tough, we learnt a lot. The players wanted to do better for the team and for themselves. They realised what to do and what not to do, and that's why we are here."

The skipper conceded, however, that he was concerned after the Lions only posted 154 in their first innings. 

"I want to thank the youngsters, like Vish [Vishwa Fernando], [Lasith] Embuldeniya, Oshada [Fernando]. Then with the bowling, Kasun [Rajitha], Suranga [Lakmal] – all put their hands up.

"First-innings batting is a concern, we were behind the game at all times, but came back really well thanks to the bowlers.

"I have to dedicate this win to all the guys who supported us, the Sri Lankan fans who supported us. They backed us when we kept losing, we wanted to do something for them."

Related items

  • Folau opts not to appeal against Rugby Australia ban, still considering options Folau opts not to appeal against Rugby Australia ban, still considering options

    Israel Folau has declined the option to appeal against his Rugby Australia (RA) ban, but is still considering his options after his contract was terminated last week.

    The 30-year-old was sacked by RA on Friday following a hearing over his anti-homosexual social media post last month, in which Folau, a devout Christian, uploaded an image on Instagram that said "hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators".

    Folau, who had been warned by RA for similar comments last year, was found guilty of a "high-level breach" of the governing body's code of conduct and RA confirmed on Monday that the former Wallabies and Waratahs star had not appealed.

    "The 72-hour window for Israel Folau to appeal his high-level code of conduct breach and sanction has expired," RA said in a statement.

    "As Folau has not notified the panel of his intention to appeal, the code of conduct process has now formally concluded.

    "With the code of conduct matter complete, Folau's employment contract will be terminated."

    However, Folau issued a statement of his own that was widely circulated in the Australian media on Monday in which it was noted that he was "considering all potential avenues" with regards to further action against RA's decision.

    "The last few weeks and, in particular, the last 72 hours have given me considerable opportunity to reflect and think about my future," he said.

    "I will not be exercising my right to appeal Rugby Australia's decision to terminate my employment contract."

    He added: "My decision not to commence Rugby Australia's appeal process is in no way an acceptance of the judicial panel's findings.

    "I simply do not have confidence in Rugby Australia's ability to treat me fairly or lawfully throughout this process."

    Folau, who has made 73 appearances for Australia, had previously said he would be willing to walk away from the sport but added in his statement: "I believe I still have a lot of rugby left in me."

  • Arthur 'very confident' in Pakistan CWC hopes despite losing streak Arthur 'very confident' in Pakistan CWC hopes despite losing streak

    Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur is convinced his side can shine at the Cricket World Cup, even though they will head into the tournament on the back of 10 successive ODI losses.

    A 54-run defeat at Headingley on Sunday condemned Pakistan to a 4-0 series reverse at the hands of England, the World Cup hosts.

    However, Arthur was determined to remain upbeat after seeing his side post scores of 361-7, 358-9, 340-7 and 297, only to be out-gunned by a prolific home batting line-up.

    "We sit here having taken a huge amount of positives out of this series," said Arthur. "I thought we batted extremely well. Our bowling has been average at best and our fielding has been average at best but we've batted fairly well.

    "The other thing is we've played against a team who are number one in the world in their own conditions. I know there's not too many teams who will arrive in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we've played against and match fitness.

    "We've got a couple of days now to regroup, two warm-up games and then we'll go. I'm very, very confident with the players we've got. We need to sharpen up on a couple of disciplines but we'll certainly get there. We'll be good."

    Asked to outline his expectations for the World Cup, Arthur added: "All I know is that the players are very, very determined to do well. Every time they go out there they play for 210 million people.

    "We all take defeat in a disappointing way, as our supporter base do. The players are good. Come the first game against the West Indies [on May 31], we'll be ready. I'm as confident that we'll do well as I've ever been."

    Arthur, who confirmed paceman Mohammad Amir is available for World Cup selection after missing the England series through illness, acknowledged Pakistan have to improve significantly in the field.

    "It's been very disappointing. I think that's been the massive difference between the two sides," he added.

    "That's a real worry for me because we are putting a hell of a lot of effort into it and there's not a massive amount of reward for us there at the moment. We'll just keep knocking away at it though, just to make sure we get it up to speed.

    "Fielding is about attitude and wanting to get out there and get it done. Our boys' attitude has been outstanding through this series and for the years before. They know where they are short, they know they've been short in this department and they are not happy about it. They are working damn hard at it."

  • Woakes: World Cup wait makes for nervy Monday Woakes: World Cup wait makes for nervy Monday

    Chris Woakes acknowledged a nervy Monday lies ahead for England's Cricket World Cup hopefuls as they await confirmation of who has made the final squad for the tournament on home soil.

    Woakes appears a certainty to be selected given his consistently impressive performances in one-day internationals, the latest of which saw him return 5-54 at Headingley to help Eoin Morgan's men to a 54-run victory over Pakistan and a 4-0 series triumph.

    Yet competition for places, particularly in England's bowling ranks, is fierce and the likes of David Willey, Tom Curran and Joe Denly seem to be among those most at risk of losing out with Jofra Archer anticipated to be picked.

    The squad will be announced on Tuesday, with each player likely to discover their fate the day before it is made public.

    "Everyone will be looking at their phones tomorrow [Monday], I suppose, if that's when we find out," said Woakes in a news conference following his man-of-the-match display in Leeds. "Everyone will be wary of that phone call.

    "Even if you feel like you've got a good chance to be in the squad, until you hear it from the selectors' mouths, it's not quite set in stone.

    "As a player you're still probably a little bit on edge, in particular with this 16 and 17 players because everyone has performed at some point over the series [against Pakistan]. 

    "In the last couple of years people have put in strong performances. It's a tricky decision for selectors and I'm glad I'm not having to make that decision. It has to be done, I suppose."

    Woakes, who acknowledged the timing of his impressive display on Sunday was "pretty nice", believes England's strength in depth has raised performance levels.

    "It's certainly driven everyone forward to try and improve, to make sure they're on top of their game, to make sure they tick everything off in practice," he added.

    "Whenever you get the opportunity to bowl in practice, or bat or field, you constantly feel ... not like you're on audition, but like it's an opportunity to show your skills.

    "It's certainly driven everyone to try and improve and it's certainly showed in our performances over the series."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.