No respite for Lanka 'A' from Windies 'A'


13 November 1996

Sri Lanka 'A' will receive no respite from West Indies 'A' when they go into the second 4-day unofficial Test starting at the SSC grounds Wednesday at 10 a.m. trailing 1-0 in the three-Test series.

``Most of these fellas here are aiming to do well to give some sort of competition to those in Australia,'' said West Indies 'A' manager Joel Garner, expressing the thoughts of his team for the rest of the series.

``We also have a Test series back home against India and against Sri Lanka. All these players who are here, know their next call is for West Indies duty. The whole idea is to make sure that when they get back to the West Indies, they would be on the team against India and Sri Lanka. Their performances on the tour of Sri Lanka will go a long way into helping them get back,'' said Garner.

So Sri Lanka 'A' can be rest assured that they are competing with a bunch of blokes whose intentions have been expressed in no uncertain terms at Kurunegala.

None made his intentions so very clear than 26-year-old six foot plus tall fast bowler Cameron Cuffy from St. Vincent.

``Cuffy's main aim is to get back into the Test team. He has a point to prove. He feels that he should have been in Australia. He is one of the guys who wants to prove a point and make sure he is on the next team of the West Indies,'' said Garner, a tall gangling fast bowler himself.

''Cuffy keenly wanted to bowl and continue to bowl. The captain couldn't take the ball away from him,'' he said.

Cuffy came off with an exceptional bowling performances on a good batting track at Kurunegala to take ten wickets (10 for 132) in a first-class match for the first time in his 44-match career.

Another player who made good use of the opportunity to press his claims for a recall to the senior side was the six foot tall powerfully built Barbadian right-hand opening batsman Philo Wallace, who made a good hundred - his second of the tour in successive matches.

``Wallace is always a hard-hitting batsman even at home. What the fellow has to work on is his fitness and, plan to bat for long. He is getting the hundreds, but if he wants to play at the highest level he is not going to get a hundred in 120 balls or so. At the highest level you will get less loose balls,'' said West Indies 'A' coach Gus Logie.

With all-rounder Laurie Williams recovered from a broken nose (suffered in the opening match of the tour) and joining the team at practice at the SSC nets, Garner said the full side was down for selection.

``The team management wants to create some sort of a competition between the players, which is good. If there is competition within the team, it means that they are competing against your team and also trying to do well,'' said Garner.

``Everybody had a game at the beginning of the tour and we played the best combination we saw fit for the Test match. We will pick a combination to suit the surface,'' he said.

Comparing the strength and weaknesses of the two sides, coach Logie said: ``We knew the opposition was tough, but our players lifted their game a notch or two. I don't think it is a matter of the opposition being strong, it is a matter of our boys just upping their game a bit,'' said Logie.

``The spin in Sri Lanka is a great test for these fellas. They are not used to turning pitches as much as we can encounter here in the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see how well they cope with the wickets when they come around,'' he said.

Sri Lanka cricket selectors, none of whom were present on any of the four days of the Kurunegala 'Test' made wholesale changes to the side for today's match.

Only six of the players retain their places in the side. The newcomers are batsmen Chaminda Mendis, Naveed Nawaz, and Mahela Jayawardena, wicket-keeper Chamara Dunusinghe, and fast bowler Pramodya Wickremasinghe. They replace Russel Arnold, Marvan Atapattu (in Sharjah), Indika de Saram, Lanka de Silva and Mario Villavarayan.

Sanjeeva Ranatunga will lead Sri Lanka 'A' with Ruwan Kalpage as his deputy.

THE TEAMS: SRI LANKA 'A' (from): S. Ranatunga (captain), D.P. Samaraweera, M.C. Mendis, M.N. Nawaz, S. Jayantha, D.P.M. Jayawardene, R.S. Kalpage, C.I. Dunusinghe, G.P. Wickremasinghe, N. Soysa, K.J. Silva, M. Villavarayan, W.C. Labrooy, R.R. Ar- nold, I.S. de Saram.

WEST INDIES 'A' (from): R.A. Harper (captain), S.C. Williams, P.A. Wallace, F.L. Reifer, D.R.E. Joseph, T.O. Powell, S.G.B. Ford, O.D. Gibson, R.N. Lewis, C.E. Cuffy, N.B. Francis, M.V. Nagamootoo, L.R. Williams, R.D. Jacobs, A. Samaroo.

UMPIRES: W.A.U. Wickremasinghe and E.K.G. Wijewardena.

Source: The Daily News

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 15:16