Second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan may be moved to Galle

Colombo was due to host but there are fears that ongoing political demonstrations may cause logistical challenges

Dimuth Karunaratne and Babar Azam pose with the trophy they are fighting for, Sri Lanka vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 1st day, July 16, 2022

The second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka may be moved from Colombo to Galle, owing to the possibility of political demonstrations in the island’s capital.

While at no stage have cricket matches been threatened by the large-scale civil unrest seen in Sri Lanka over the last few months, and particularly in the past week, there are fears that masses descending on Colombo’s streets again may create logistical challenges for a Test match.

Galle itself had seen a large protest on July 9, on the second day of the second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka. However, the crowds seen there were not extraordinary in scale, as had been the case in Colombo.

Sri Lanka Cricket has been at pains to point out that the island remained a viable cricket destination, even as they prepare to host a Lanka Premier League in the first few weeks of August, followed by an Asia Cup featuring nine teams.

There have been international matches in Colombo recently. Two of the three T20Is, and three of the ODIs from the Australia tour were all played at Khettarama stadium. While those games were almost uniformly well-attended, and went off as usual, the scale of the political demonstrations has increased substantially in Colombo since then. Khettarama was scheduled to host the second Test against Pakistan but if it shifts to Galle, this would be the third successive home Test series to be played exclusively at the venue.


Bijoy must wait for his opportunity, says Domingo

Head coach Russell Domingo said Taskin Ahmed and Anamul Haque Bijoy were unfortunate as Taskin’s exclusion from the second ODI and play Mosaddek Hossain was due to matchups and conditions.

Domingo also stated that Bijoy must wait his time because there are others ahead of him in the pecking order.

“Yes absolutely. Bijoy has done fantastically well but I like to be fair as a coach. The player that’s in the squad, must get the first chance. The player that’s coming into the squad must then wait his turn, like [Yasir Ali] Rabbi. He [Rabbi] travelled with the team for a long time and then he eventually got his turn. He’s now in the squad he’s got to wait for his opportunity because the player who’s in the squad ahead of him, should play first.

“Taskin was hugely unlucky. Just the conditions. Not difficult to figure out that any seamer who can bolw cutters and spin the bowl away from the right handers is going to be a better option. His slower deliveries are generally off-cutters coming into the right handers. Just getting the ball away from the right-hander seemed to be the better option here and that’s why we have two left-arm seamers at the moment. Taskin will play. He has been fantastic for us in this format. Just because of the conditions it’s unfortunate,” Domingo said.

Domingo has differed from captain Tamim Iqbal, who hinted that he was willing to test the bench strength but coach doubted whether conditions along with the matchups will let them make too many changes heading into the third ODI at Guyana.

Although Bangladesh has already won the series, Domingo believes the scenario will not allow for many alterations.

Bijoy, Ebadot Hossain, and Taijul Islam are the only players from the ODI team who have yet to play in the series.

“It’s tricky. I would really love to play Bijoy but that’s another right-hander in our line-up and I feel we really need to have left-handers in that particular line-up. So maybe not too many changes in the batting line-up. He is the only batsman who hasn’t played a game yet in fifty overs format but he is a right-hander and I would like to have as many left-handers as possible in the line-up. So, I wouldn’t like to tinker with that,” Domingo said a day ahead of the third and final ODI.

“The pitch conditions mean we have to plan an extra spinner, so, very difficult to play all the other fast bowlers since there is nothing in there for them at the moment. You want to play everybody but you need a balanced team suitable for those conditions. So might not be possible [to make many changes] tomorrow,” he added.


Ireland fall one-run short chasing huge NZ score

New Zealand survived a record-breaking Ireland charge led by centuries from Paul Stirling and Harry Tector for a dramatic one-run victory in Friday’s third one-day international in Dublin.

“It was an amazing game,” said Andy Balbirnie the Ireland captain. “A bitter pill to swallow, but it was great.”

The Black Caps looked on course for a convincing win after Martin Guptill’s century laid the foundations for a total of 360 for six from 50 overs.

Stirling and Tector made the tourists sweat with some superb stroke-play in a tense finish.

Ireland’s lower order managed to bring the chase down to 10 off the last over.

They scored five off Blair Tickner’s first three balls, then Craig Young was run out trying for a second run.

Graham Hume needed three off the last ball, but his huge swing missed. Ireland got only a leg bye and, despite their highest ever ODI score of 359 for nine, suffered their third narrow loss of the series.

New Zealand won the first match by one wicket with one ball to spare and the second by three wickets to set up the sweep.

Guptill hit a faultless 115, his 18th ODI century for New Zealand, and Henry Nicholls smashed three sixes in his 54-ball innings of 79.

When Ireland batted, Stirling reached three figures with a boundary down to third man but was furious when he was out for 120, one of Matt Henry’s four victims.

His 179-run partnership for the third-wicket with Tector, who had made 113 in the series opener, was an Irish ODI record.

“The two hundreds were among the best I’ve seen,” said Balbirnie. “Tector has been threatening to do this. Getting two in a week is special.”

When Tector went for 108, the hosts’ hopes of victory looked slim, but George Dockrell’s rapid 22 kept them in the fight to the end.

“It’s been an amazing series, hats off to Ireland. All three games could have gone either way,” said New Zealand all-rounder Michael Bracewell, voted player of the series.

New Zealand will resume their duel with Ireland in three Twenty20 internationals starting on Monday.