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Friday, 11 March 2011






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The 132nd Battle of the Blues:

Ramith hits second successive top score

S.Thomasí fought back to make exchanges even after the opening dayís play of their 132nd Battle of the Blues three-day encounter begun at SSC grounds, Colombo here yesterday.

Royalís top scorer Ramith Rambukwella flicks the ball during his fine innings yesterday at the SSC ground. Picture by Roshan Pitipana

Royal, helped by a superb knock of 83 by skipper Ramith Rambukwella, declared at 276 for 9 shortly after tea after the Reid Avenue boys lost the early advantage they enjoyed by lunch. However, Royal fought back to send S.Thomasí reeling at 65 for 3 at close, still 211 runs short of Royal with seven first innings wickets in hand.

The Reid Avenue boys were going strong last morning before S. Thomasí came back into the picture 30 minutes after lunch as Royal slumped from a commanding 147 for one to 247 for 5, losing five top wickets with the addition of only 100 runs.

Thus, Royal threw away the early advantage they enjoyed with all the hard work though a solid opening stand.

At lunch, Royal were strongly placed at 109 for one wicket.

Earlier in the morning, Thomian captain Chamod Pathirana surprised all when he invited Royal to take the first lease of a perfect batting strip after winning an important toss.

Pathiranaís decision was instantly proved wrong as Royal openers Ramith Rambukwella and Waruna Dissanayake added 91 runs for the first wickets in 25.3 overs without facing any serious trouble from the Thomian bowlers.

In fact, the only Royal wicket to fall in the pre-lunch session was a Ďgiftedí one as Dissanayake played a half-hearted shot to a full toss from Ravichandrakumar.

But the Thomians struck shortly after lunch to capture two wickets within the space of 17 balls, including that prized wicket of Royal captain Rambukwella who narrowly missed a successive big match century.

Opener Rambukwella, who had the honour of playing for Sri Lanka Under-19 recently with distinction, fell 17 runs short of what would have been his second successive Ďtoní in the Battle of the Blues series, having struck a blistering knock of 165 for Reid Avenue boys in last yearís encounter.

Rambukwella missed the golden chance of becoming only the second Royalist to score back to back big match centuries after Neil Joseph (113 in 1925 and 133 in 1926) when he was caught behind.

He mistimed a ball pitched outside the off stump by his vis-ŗ-vis Chamod Pathirana and Sachin Peiris, behind the stumps, obliged with an easy catch. Rambukwella hit eight fours during his 140-ball innings which lasted little over three hours.

Had the Royal captain played his usual attacking game like previous year after lunch, he would have well completed his century.

While Royal continued to lose wickets from the other end, former captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa made a useful half century, making 55 off 61 balls with five fours and two sixes.

After capturing the second Royal wicket with the total on 147, S. Thomasí continued to exert pressure on Royal batsmen and were rewarded consistently. The Royal innings which looked rock solid 147 for one at one stage, collapsed in a flash to declare their first essay at 276 for 9 with the last eight wickets producing just 129 runs which speaks the volumes of the control the Thomians gained after lunch.

S.Thomasí captain Chamod Pathirana, who had two early spells of four and five overs without much success, produced a devastating third spell to capture five wickets.

The right-arm quick bowler finished with a seasonís best 5 for 101, with his final uninterrupted 19-over spell in the post lunch session reading 19-3-70-5. Leg spinner Madushan Ravichandrakumar played a fine supportive role to his skipper to finish with 4 for 50.

It would be a tall order for S.Thomasí this morning with three of their top order batsmen back in the pavilion.

Unless they put their heads down and bat the entire post lunch session of todayís second day, Royal has a better chance of regaining control and restricting S.Thomasí under 200 runs. Yet, it points to an another eventful day at the 132nd Battle of the Blues at SSC today.


Waruna Dissanayake lbw  b Ríkumar		42
Ramith Rambukwella  c Sachin Peiris b Pathirana	83
Supun Subasinghe        c Bongso  b Pathirana	19
Bhanuka Rajapakse  c Bongso b Pathirana 	55
Imal Liyanage   c K.Perera b Ríkumar 		27
Heshan Kumarasiri  C Sachin Peiris b Pathirana 	02 
Milan Abeysekera  c Sachin Perera b Pathirana	16 
Devind Pathmanathan   b Ríkumar  		07
Gauraj Deva not out 				06
Imran Khan  lbw b Ríkumar 			00
Extras: (9b, 2 l, 2 w, 6 nb)  			19
TOTAL:  for 9 wkts decl. 		       276
 66.2 overs
DID NOT BAT: Anjana Kudahetti
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-91 (Dissanayake), 2-147 (Subasinghe), 3-164 (Rambukwella), 
4-205 (Liyanage), 5-217 (Kumarasiri), 6-247 (Rajapaksa). 7-259 (Pathmanatha), 8-276 (Abeysekera), 9-276 (Khan).
BOWLING: Pathirana 28-4-101-5; De Silva 8-1-28-0;  U. Fernando 16-1-69-0; Ravichandrakumar 
12.2-0-50-4; Wickremasekera 1-0-6-0; Kavinda 1-0-11-0.


Asiri Wickremanayake  b Anjana 			01
Javed Bongso  b Deva                            19
Nuwan Kavinda  not out 				32     
Sachin Peiris    lbw b Deva                  	05  
Kavindu Perera  not out				04
Extras:     (3 lb, 1w)          		04
TOTAL:    for 3 wkts   				65

TO BAT: Chamod Pathirana, Ramith Gunaratne, Neomal Wickremasekera, Umesh Fernando, Madhushan Ravichandrakumar, Mevantha de Silva.
FALL OF WICKETS:  1-1 (Wickremanayake), 2-48 (Bongso), 3-60 (S. Peiris)
BOWLING (to date):  Khan 4-0-25-0; Kudahetti 3-0-19-1; Rajapakse 4-1-7-0; Deva 3-0-11-2


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