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Saturday April 20th, 2024

Pakistan clinch series despite Gunathilaka century for Sri Lanka

AFP – Pakistan thwarted a spirited career-best century by Danushka Gunathilaka to defeat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final one-day international in Karachi on Wednesday, taking the three-match series in the process.

Gunathilaka’s 134-ball 133 lifted Sri Lanka to a challenging 297-9 in their 50 overs but Pakistan chased down the target in 48.2 overs for their first series win in 15 months.

Pakistan won the second match by 67 runs while the first match was rained off without a ball being bowled — both also in Karachi.

Pakistan were indebted to Fakhar Zaman (76) and Abid Ali (74) who provided a solid 123-run opening stand in 20 overs before Haris Sohail (56) and Iftikhar Ahmed chipped in with a 22-ball 28 not out.

“It wasn’t an easy target but thanks to Abid and others who showed positive intent, they helped us chased it down,” said Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Sri Lanka skipper Lahiru Thirimanne praised his young team who had been depleted by the withdrawal of 10 top players due to security fears in Pakistan.

“I am really happy with this team’s performance,” said Thirimanne. “We scored a good total of 297 but then did not execute our plans in the first ten overs of bowling.

“Overall I am happy with the team and the arrangements in Pakistan and will encourage other teams to come here and play.”

Pakistan needed 37 in the last five overs as Iftikhar cut loose, hitting a six and a boundary to bring up victory — Pakistan’s eighth consecutive ODI win over Sri Lanka since 2017.

Sohail and Iftikhar hit three fours and a six apiece.

Abid drove 10 well-timed boundaries in his 67-ball innings and looked set for his second hundred in his fourth ODI before he was trapped leg-before by spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.

Zaman hit seven fours and a six in his 91-ball knock before becoming paceman Nuwan Pradeep’s first of two wickets for 53 runs.

Babar Azam, who struck a brilliant hundred in the second game, made 31 before being trapped lbw by Pradeep skipper Sarfaraz managed 23.

The matches revived one-day international cricket in Karachi after a gap of ten years.

International teams had mainly stayed away from Pakistan following the deadly attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009.

Pakistan did not stage international cricket for six years before Zimbabwe toured in 2015 followed by visits from a World XI, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

– Gunathilaka stars for Sri Lanka –

Earlier, Gunathilaka anchored Sri Lanka’s innings after they won the toss and batted.

The 28-year-old left-hander hit 16 fours and a six for his second ODI hundred.

Gunathilaka, suspended twice for breaches of discipline in the last two years, held the innings together with stands of 88 with Thirimanne (36) for the second wicket, 50 for the third with Angelo Perera (13) and 74 with debutant Minod Bhanuka (36) for the fourth.

He was finally dismissed in the 45th over, bowled by paceman Mohammad Amir who was the best Pakistani bowler with 3-50.

It was Amir who gave Pakistan an early breakthrough when he had Avishka Fernando caught behind for four by Sarfaraz who was leading Pakistan for the 50th time in an ODI.

Gunathilaka defied Pakistan’s bowling with guts and determination, improving his previous ODI best of 116 he made against Zimbabwe at Hambantota in 2017.

Thirimanne hit four boundaries off 54 balls while Bhanuka had two sixes in his 39-ball knock.

All-rounder Dasun Shanaka hit a 24-ball 43 with five fours and two sixes as Sri Lanka added 50 in the last five overs.

The two teams will now play three Twenty20 internationals — all in Lahore — on October 5, 7 and 9.

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Sri Lanka discussing giving extra land, water for Chinese oil refinery

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in discussions with China’s Sinopec to give extra land and assure water supplies after the company decided to expand the capacity of a planned oil refinery in Hambantota, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“There are concerns on how the water supply is going to be provided for the refinery,” Minister Wijesekera told reporters Friday.

The refinery will need more land and also revise conditions in a Board of Investment agreement, he said.

Read more
Sinopec to double capacity of new refinery in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota

Recommendations and decisions from Sri Lanka’s side had already been sent and Sinopec is expected to revert back in May.

“We are hoping to sign the agreement once everyone has agreed,” Wijesekara said.

The principle agreements are expected to be signed by June, he said.

The refinery could sell up to 10 percent of its output in the domestic market.

“There is no commitment by the government to purchase anything,” Minister Wijesekera said. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 302.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 302.00/50 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Friday, down from 301.50/302.00 a day earlier, dealers said.

There was increased demand for dollars after the central bank bought 715 million dollars from forex markets. In the previous two months it was buying on average about 200 million US dollars, leaving market participants and bank in a ‘oversold’ position.

There were some official dollars sales Friday dealers said.

READ Sri Lanka rupee quoted wide to US dollar as peg inconsistencies flare up

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 11.30/40 percent down from 11.35/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.95/12.05 percent up from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed stable at 12.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.30/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 12.40/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, banks trade down

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.38 percent, or 44.80 points, at 11,753; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.53 percent, or 18.46 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was at 1.4 billion. The diversified financials (Rs366mn) and banks (Rs266mn) sectors continued to see selling pressure.

“This was possibly due to uncertainty around the bond discussions,” market participants said.

With the exception of Sampath Bank Plc (up at 77.50) all other banks traded down in the day. Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc was down at 104.50, Hatton National Bank Plc was down at 188.50, and DFCC Bank Plc was down at 77.00.

LOLC Finance Plc saw the most trades and closed up at 6.40. Another LOLC company, Browns Investments Plc, also saw high traded volumes and closed up at 5.60.

Softlogic Capital Plc was up at 7.00, and Softlogic Holdings Plc was up at 11.20. A trading suspension imposed on SHL.N0000 was lifted effective today as the company submitted the annual report for the year ended 31st March 2023.

However, shares of the Company will remain in the Watch List “due to Qualified Audit Opinion and Emphasis of matter on going concern in the Independent Auditor’s Report in the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st March 2022.”

Dialog Axiata Plc, which announced its merger with Bharti Airtel Thursday, saw its share price close up at 11.90.

“There was some traction on index heavyweights,” market participants pointed out.

Top contributors to the APSI included Aitken Spence Plc (up at 134.50), Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc (up at 1,245.25, and Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc (up at 1,048.50).

There was a net foreign inflow of 5 million. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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