Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal suspended for two T20 tri-series matches due to slow over-rate

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Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has been suspended from his side’s next two Twenty20 internationals after being found guilty of a “serious over-rate offence” in the defeat to Bangladesh.

The Tigers overhauled Sri Lanka’s 214 for six with five wickets and two balls to spare to clinch their first win of the Nidahas Trophy, a tri-series competition also involving India being held in Colombo.

But Chandimal will be absent for Sri Lanka’s remaining group games against India on Monday and then Bangladesh on Friday after match referee Chris Broad determined Sri Lanka were four overs short of their target on Saturday.

Chandimal, who denied the charge, received two suspension points following Sunday’s hearing which equates to a ban, either from one Test, two one-day internationals or two T20s, whatever comes first. Each of his players have also been fined 60 per cent of their match fee.

An International Cricket Council statement read: “Dinesh Chandimal has been suspended from Sri Lanka’s upcoming two Twenty20 Internationals in the three-nation series after being found guilty of a serious over-rate offence in Saturday’s match against Bangladesh in Colombo.”

All-rounder Thisara Perera will captain Sri Lanka in Chandimal’s absence.

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee, with the rest of the side docked 10 per cent, after they were deemed to be one over short.

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Vintage AB de Villiers shows what Test cricket will miss once he calls it a day

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South Africa star batsman AB de Villiers proved he is still on top of his game in Test cricket despite taking a near two-year break from the longest format.

De Villiers scored an unbeaten 126 against a potent Australian pace attack in the Port Elizabeth Test on Sunday – his first Test century in three years – to show what the South Africans will miss once he decides to give up red-ball cricket for good sometime this season. The ongoing series is being seen as the last ‘big’ Test series for ABD. “My dream plan is to come back for those Test matches [against India and Australia] and that’s all I can say for now,” he had said in January 2017.

Test cricket has not been a top priority for De Villiers for a couple of seasons. A long-standing back injury plus the demands of playing all formats and various T20 leagues put an immense strain on his body. Unfortunately, he took a near two-year break from the longest format after the 2015-16 season.

De Villiers made a comeback to Test cricket last year. Since his comeback against Zimbabwe in December, the 34-year old has made 461 runs in 10 innings at an average of 57.62.

Most of the runs have been made on some of the toughest wickets seen in South Africa in recent times and against the high quality attacks of India and Australia.

In Port Elizabeth on Sunday, De Villiers got good support from the tail as South Africa took a lead of 139 after being dismissed for 382.

Seamer Vernon Philander (36) and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (30) helped De Villiers add 84 for the eighth and 58 for the ninth wicket as South Africa pushed ahead.

Australia’s fast bowlers struggled against a rampant De Villiers who played strokes all around the wicket. He hit 20 fours and a six in a 146-ball innings. It was his 22nd Test century and sixth against Australia.

But more than the runs, it has been the manner in which he has scored them – looking completely at ease while everyone else struggles to put bat to ball – is what has stood out since his comeback. If these indeed are some of the final few Test knocks from De Villiers, we need to savour every bit of it. AB has shown Test cricket needs him more than the other way around.

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AB de Villiers keeps Australia at bay as South Africa inch ahead in Port Elizabeth Test

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Ab de Villiers hit an unbeaten 74.

Australia fought back on the second day of the second Test but could not stop AB de Villiers taking South Africa into a slender first innings lead at St George’s Park on Saturday.

South Africa were 263 for seven at the close, a lead of 20 runs after Australia were bowled out for 243 in their first innings.

There was a flurry of wickets after tea but De Villiers counter-attacked to hit 74 not out off 81 balls with easily the most aggressive batting of an otherwise slow day.

“He’s an amazing player,” said Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. “He’s done it for so long. We need to find a way to nullify him as quickly as possible. That’s going to be a great challenge for us. Hopefully we can find a way to get him out.”

It was the second outstanding innings in the series by De Villiers, who made 71 not out in the first innings of the first Test in Durban before being run out for nought in the second innings as South Africa slipped to a 118-run defeat.

De Villiers’ innings was in complete contrast to the struggles of his teammates against superb reverse swing bowling. Dean Elgar made 57 and Hashim Amla scored 56, but they took 197 and 143 balls respectively to do it.

Only one wicket, that of nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada, fell between the start of play and the afternoon tea break. But it was painfully slow going. Only 43 runs were scored in 26 overs between lunch and tea, before a flurry of wickets and De Villiers’ batting enlivened the evening’s play.

“I thought the middle session was as good (an example of) Test cricket as you will see. We weren’t taking wickets but we felt in the game the whole session. South Africa batted extremely well to get through that period when the ball was reverse swinging and then we got our rewards later in the day,” added Marsh.

Amla also hailed the quality of the cricket. “Today was a tough day of Test cricket and I think those people who are Test match lovers will appreciate the skill of the bowlers and at times, especially when AB was batting, the skill of the batting,” he said.

South Africa’s quest for a series-levelling win was given added impetus by a pending disciplinary hearing which could result in fast bowler Rabada being banned for the remaining two Tests after his shoulder made contact with Australian captain Steve Smith on Friday.

Australia were frustrated for long periods by Elgar Amla, but the tourists were right back in the game after tea.

Amla was bowled by a fast, reverse swinging yorker from Mitchell Starc for 56 four balls after tea and Elgar was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood for 57 in the next over. Like Amla, Elgar fell to a full delivery which swung late.

Medium-pacer Marsh trapped South African captain Faf du Plessis and Theunis de Bruyn leg before wicket, again with full, swinging deliveries.

De Villiers and Quinton de Kock put on 44 for the seventh wicket before De Kock was bowled by off-spinner Nathan Lyon with a ball which spun sharply past the outside edge of his bat.

While other batsmen had struggled to gain any momentum to the South African innings, De Villiers looked at ease and played strokes to all parts of the ground in reaching a half-century off 62 balls with ten fours. By the close he had faced 81 balls and hit 14 boundaries.

Australia delayed taking the second new ball until the 90th over but De Villiers and Vernon Philander survived until the close.

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