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
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
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
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
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.
ROYAL COLLEGE - 1ST INNINGS
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
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.
S THOMASí COLLEGE 1ST INNINGS
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