Sri Lanka off to winning start

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 Defending champions Sri Lanka were off to a dominant start to their Asian Netball Championship 2022 campaign when they outplayed South Asian counterparts India 102-14 at the OCBC Arena in Singapore on Saturday.

The five-time Asian champions led from start to finish, taking the first quarter 34-2 and extending their lead to 58-3 at half-time. They held on to their sizeable advantage, staying ahead 79-10 entering the final quarter and closed out the win with shooter Tharjini Sivalingam contributing 72 of her team’s 102 goals. 

 In the second match of Day 1, it was Sri Lanka who imposed themselves on the match immediately, with India unable to find a player from their first two centre passes. 

India did create a few chances and they managed to score two goals in the final four minutes of the quarter, but Sri Lanka were too good for them to handle as the first quarter ended 34 – 2 in Sri Lanka’s favour. 

Into the second quarter, India were still struggling to convert chances with their shooters unable to lift the ball over the defenders reach. On the other hand, Sri Lanka lasses took the maximum opportunity of their height advantage to trouble the Indian lasses.

India did manage to slow down the Sri Lanka scoring rate this quarter as they applied more pressure throughout the court, but Sri Lanka got the upper hand to head into the half-time at 58 – 3.

India continued to improve during the match and started the third quarter well scoring from their first two centre passes, and they went on to score more than double the number of goals this quarter than they managed in the first half. With 15 minutes left the score was Sri Lanka 79 – 10 India. 

It was a strong first match by Sri Lanka as they took advantage of their height in the shooting circle throughout the match and reached 100 goals with just one minute to go and ended 102 – 14 at the final whistle.

Captain Gayanjali Amarawansa said: “As we planned, we played well. The team is really good and they gave me very good support on court today (3). We played our style and we didn’t care too much about the score; we just focused on our game.”

Sri Lanka coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe was happy with the result, adding: “This is the first time the Sri Lanka team has come without any exposure to overseas tournaments or training. So, we didn’t know where we stood until we came here. We had two line-ups and both were good today.”

Sri Lanka will next meet Philippines in the next match today at the same venue.