100 and counting | Daily News

100 and counting

It is not always that you find a newspaper celebrating one hundred years. In this competitive age where newspapers are struggling to survive against the electronic and social media getting to a hundred is quite an achievement. It is like grinding your way towards a hundred in Test cricket against one of the best bowling sides where no quarter is asked nor given.

Today (January 3, 2018) the Daily News completes one hundred years and joins its two other sister papers the Sunday Observer (183 years) and Dinamina (108 years) as the only three newspapers in the country to achieve this unique milestone in the history of the newspaper industry in Sri Lanka. No other rival newspapers come within touching distance to this long dynasty which the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House) and its founder the late DR Wijewardene has created in the newspaper industry and set a glowing example for other newspapers to follow.

The history of the Daily News is replete with many individuals who had walked the corridors of Lake House and shaped the newspaper for what it is today. Some of them have served Lake House for as many as 25, 30, 40 and even 50 years giving their entire life to the institution in different capacities. Such was the impact that Lake House made on the reading public that the newspapers the institution produced shaped the lifestyle of the people.

The Daily News continues to serve the reading public even today and there is a common saying that people brought the paper to read the sports pages and the obituary advertisement page, which even in this competitive world still holds good.

At an age when rival newspapers struggle to compete with established papers the Daily News continues to move ahead stronger than ever as it looks towards another century.


For those who say that Test cricket is dying because of the poor turnout at matches stats prove otherwise. The year 2017 shows that the longer format of the game was far from extinction. In fact the last four years have proved so. In 2017 of the 47 Tests played during the year 40 ended in wins with 7 draws, similar to 2016. The years 2014 and 2015 also show encouraging results with 33 wins from 41 Tests and 34 wins from 43 Tests respectively.

Although it was a year to forget for Sri Lanka, other nations like Bangladesh, India and Australia prospered. Bangladesh cricket came of age winning Tests against Sri Lanka and Australia while also being competitive in New Zealand and in India. India extended their domination as a world cricket power by winning nine successive Test series since 2015 under Virat Kohli to equal Ricky Ponting’s Australia between 2005 and 2008.

They also hold the unique record of holding the rubber against all nine oppositions since they beat Australia at home in March.

Steven Smith and Virat Kohli emerged as the batting giants of the year while spinners proved dominant. A dream run with the bat against England in the ongoing Ashes series enabled Smith to take his Test career average to 63.66 surpassed by only the great Sir Donald Bradman (batsmen with a minimum of 20 innings). In fact Smith ended 2017 as the leading run-getter in Tests with an aggregate of 1305 to pass 1000 runs in a calendar year for the fourth consecutive time.

Kohli ended as the top batter in ODIs with an aggregate of 1460 and in Tests scored 1059 runs to round up a good year for him as captain where India ended as no. 1 in Tests and no. 2 in ODIs.

Spinners dominated the list of leading wicket-takers for 2017 occupying six of the top eight positions. The ever improving Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon ended the year as the leading wicket-taker with 63 scalps thereby becoming the first Australian spinner other than Shane Warne and Richie Benaud to top the wicket chart in a calendar year. Another off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin of India became the third bowler to take 50 wickets in three successive calendar years after Warne and Sri Lanka’s Muthiah Muralitharan.

Another Lankan bowler Rangana Herath became the first left-arm spinner to take 400 Test wickets while Pakistan leggie Yasir Shah became the first spinner to take a five-for in five consecutive Test matches.

It was also a good year for South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj who became his country’s most successful spinner in a calendar year with 48 scalps, ten more than Hugh Tayfield’s 38 in 1957.

The Test cricket fraternity welcomed Ireland and Afghanistan as its 11th and 12th Test-playing nations with both countries slated to make their debuts in 2018.

With the political climate undergoing a major change in Zimbabwe one hopes that cricket which has suffered much in the past 15 years following the exodus of white players will get back to normalcy and this once proud nation will become a strong force again.


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