Saturday, December 17, 2005

Once upon a time in Singapore...

April 7, 1996. It is a gloomy Sri Lankan dressing room, after the newly crowned world champs suffer a shocking defeat to Pakistan in a tri-series final at the Padang Stadium. The newly crowned World champions restricted Pakistan to 215 and came out blazing with their double-barrel opening combo, Kaluvitharana and Jayasuriya. But the middle and lower order caved in and Sri Lanka fell short by a considerable 43 runs.
None of the middle order stalwarts want to face the Lankan skipper Ranatunga. He has been silent at the corner seat like a soon-to-erupt volcano and has eaten only 3 of his staple 5 post-match pizzas.
Kaluvitharana is a free spirit who cares little for anyone's mood. He walks in whistling, fresh after a bath and ready to rub it in. "Really, you middle order guys have been absolutely hopeless here. I give you an opening stand of 70 with Sanath and you just blow it all up like this.." He picks up his neatly packed wicket keeping kit and leaves for the team bus where Jayasuriya is already waiting.
Kalu's quip serves its purpose soon enough. There is an outburst from Arjuna and some of the cricketers hear the filthiest expletives of their lives from their portly skipper who generally reserves them for the tours Down Under. Steam let off, Arjuna comes back to sanity and picks up his kit. The 2 remaining pizzas are neatly rolled up in a napkin and pocketed before he departs.
The others start packing up their coffins. One of them mumbles, "By the way how much did Kalu score out of that 70 run stand?"
ST Jayasuriya c Saeed Anwar b Waqar Younis 76 (28 balls)
RS Kaluwitharana b Aaqib Javed 0 (11 ballls)
Having scored the fastest ODI fifty of all time off 17 balls, Jayasuriya was not out at 66 off 22 balls when Kalu departed with the team score at 70.
Information regarding further events of the day of the Singer Cup final remained within the Sri Lankan camp and was never reported.
[This is an old report which somehow got misplaced during transmission.]
Tailpiece: Jayasuriya reportedly starts recounting this incident at the pavilion during the First Test versus the same opponents at Faisalabad in Oct 2004. But midway through the narration skipper Atapattu, passing by, whispers something into his ears and Jayasuriya never utters another word.
A 101 run stand with Dilhara Fernando served as a reminder which he could not resist. But Dilhara scores a run more than Kalu did, and apparently that makes all the difference. Sri Lanka wins the Test.

[cross posted at ]

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