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Sunday February 25th, 2024

No six pack but Malinga still a big-game hunter: Jayawardene

AFP – Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene praised Lasith Malinga for his ability to step up in big games after the paceman inspired his country’s shock World Cup win over England.

Malinga returned figures of four for 43 to help Sri Lanka dismiss England for 212 as they stunningly beat the hosts by 20 runs in Leeds on Friday.

The 35-year-old, often criticised for his unathletic body, rolled back the years at Headingley when he removed England openers James Vince and Jonny Bairstow.

He then got rid of dangermen Joe Root and Jos Buttler to leave England in turmoil.

It was a welcome riposte to the social media doubters who poked fun at Malinga when he was photographed with his shirt off exposing a portly belly before the England match.

"It’s not about the six pack, it’s about the skill and Lasith Malinga showed that in spades in Sri Lanka’s win over England," Jayawardene wrote in his column for the International Cricket Council.

"He has done it so many times for Sri Lanka over the years but it was great to see him at his best. He was on a mission with the new ball.

"Big players perform in big games and that is what he did, removing Root and then Jos Buttler who could have won the game for England as well."

Coming into the game as underdogs, Dimuth Karunaratne’s side blew open the race for semi-final places with their unexpected victory and Jayawardene said that is good for the tournament.

England, bidding to win the World Cup for the first time, suffered their second defeat of the group stage following an equally surprising loss to Pakistan.

"It’s a great win for Sri Lanka, but also for the World Cup and it opens things up a little," said Jayawardene.

"The top four so far have a lot of matches against each other coming up, so they will inevitably drop some points.

"You look at New Zealand, Australia and England who all have to play each other which does make it interesting.

"That leaves Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the West Indies with a chance to close the gap if they can pick up a few more wins."

Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, are fifth in the 10-team table, as they hunt a top four finish.

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Sri Lanka could get US$500mn from ADB in 2024

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka could receive 500 million US dollars in support from the Asian Development Bank in 2024 based on the progress of policy reforms, Country Director of the Manila-based lender, Takafumi Kadono said.

The ADB expect to go to its Board around March or April with a 100 million US dollar power sector loan subject to the cabinet of ministers of approving a revised electricity reform bill.

A 100 million dollar loan to support SMEs could also be approved in the early part of the year. Sri Lanka is setting up a credit guarantee agency to support credit for small firms.

A 200 million dollar credit for financial sector was also slated for the year. The ADB gave the first tranche of the financial sector policy loan late last year.

A $100mn for the water sector could also be approved later in the year.

Sri Lanka could get around 200 to 300 million US dollars a year at the lowest rate, or concessional ordinary capital resources (COL) rate of 2 percent.

The balance of would come at the ordinary capital resource rate linked to SOFR.

The ADB has also started work on a ‘Country Partnership Strategy’ for Sri Lanka covering the 2024-2028 period, Kadodo said. (Colombo/Feb25/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy based on friendship: Min

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none, its Minister of Foreign Affairs has said.

“Non-alignment means not becoming a bystander. Non-alignment means you are not forced or coerced into a camp to take sovereign decisions… you make your own choices. Whether it is commercial, security, regional or otherwise,” M U M Ali Sabry said on X (twitter).

“I have repeatedly stressed that sovereignty is the right to have your own opinion on what’s right and wrong, and to stand by your principles. Our multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none,” Sabry was quoting from his speech at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) Foreign Policy Forum, on the theme ‘Reassessing Non-Alignment in a Polarised World’.

Sri Lanka is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The strategically located island has been increasingly walking a fine line between opposing global factions as it seeks to come out of a financial crisis. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank Dec net down on tax provisions

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon reported profits of 6.9 billion rupees from the December 2023 quarter down 21 percent, despite an improvement in net interest income and lower provisions, amid a change in tax provisions.

Pre-tax profits were 8.89 billion rupees up from 2.4 billion rupees. There was a 6.4 billion tax reversal last year compared to a 1.7 billion rupee tax charge this year.

Commercial Bank reported earnings of 5.26 rupees for the quarter. For the year to December 2023 earnings were 16.07 rupees per share on total profits of 21.1 billion rupees, down 11.3 percent.

Net fee and commission income was down 1.2 percent to 6.1 billion rupees.

Net interest income went up 16.8 percent to 25.5 billion rupees, with interest income rising marginally by 1.3 percent to 73.0 billion rupees and interest expense falling 5.45 percent to 47.5 billion rupees.

Loans and advances to customers grew 4.06 percent to 1.17 billion rupees in the year to December. Debt and other financial instruments fell 10.5 percent to 649 billion rupees.

Financial assets measured and fair value through other comprehensive income was at 287 billion rupees, up from 117 billion rupees.

Impairment charges were 13.1 billion rupees, down from 19.6 billion rupees last year.

Gross assets were up 6.45 percent to 2.36 billion rupees. Net assets were up 5.51 percent to 214 billion rupees. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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