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Andrew Fidel Fernando
March 10, 2014
Moors Sports Club left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara's first-innings five-wicket haul cleared the path for a 236-run win over Ports Authority Cricket Club, that moved Moors to the top of the Super Eights table. Having chosen to bat first, Moors' lower-middle order contributed heavily to their first innings total of 311, with captain Janaka Gunaratne hitting 88 and no. 9 Irosh Samarasooriya scoring 53.
Ports Authority had already slipped to 100 for 4 when Pushpakumara sparked the collapse proper, taking four of the last six wickets, which fell for 36. No Ports Authority batsman had mustered more than 26, as they conceded a lead of 175.
Moors' tail wagged again, after no. 4 Harsha Cooray had hit 66 in the second innings. The last-wicket pair of Suresh Niroshan and Pushpakumara put on 80 together to help set a Ports Authority a target of 437 in the final innings. Ports Authority lost five wickets in the 47 overs they faced on day three, before they were wiped out in less than 22 overs on the final day. They had offered a little more resistance in the second dig, as Gayan Maneeshan hit an unbeaten fifty.
Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay and opener Dimuth Karunaratne ensured Sinhalese Sports Club comfortably took first innings points in their match against Army Sports Club, but Army's vastly improved batting in the second innings ensured the match would end in a draw.
Vandersay took a career-best haul of 7 for 77 in the first-innings, as SSC took control following Army's 70-run opening stand. Army would lose six wickets for 38 - with four of those scalps going to Vandersay - before Rishan Kavinga mounted a 51-run resistance alongside Chatura Damith. Vandersay wiped out the tail by the 55th over, as Army ended on 189.
Karunaratne's 142 set up SSC's 246-run first innings lead, as he continued to display his appetite for the kind of large domestic scores that have so far eluded him in Tests. Half-centuries from Dasun Shanaka, Thilina Kandamby and Charith Jayampathi helped expand SSC's total to 435. Spinners Seeekkuge Prasanna and Lakshan Madushanka took four wickets apiece for Army.
Manjula de Zoysa's 120 from 361 balls formed the centrepiece of Army's resistance as they successfully batted for a draw. Their vigil began late on day two and lasted until well into day four, as opener Mohammad Feshal and Kavinga also contributed innings of significant longevity. Everyone but the wicketkeeper bowled for SSC, but only seam-bowler Upul Bandara proved penetrative in their 173.3 overs in the field.
Colombo Cricket Club achieved their first Super Eights win, defeating Ragama Cricket Club by seven wickets in a low-scorer that ended in three days. Ragama may have erred by batting first on a surface that proved prosperous for the opposition seamers. CCC's fast men Dilesh Gunaratne and Chaturanga Kumara instigated a rolling collapse, taking three wickets each before left-arm chinaman bowler Lakshan Rangika arrived to wipe the innings out at 107.
Ragama's seam bowlers could not be as effective however, as they relied on spinners Sajeewa Weerakoon and Malinga Bandara to deliver most of their breakthroughs. Indika de Saram ensured CCC would have a healthy first-innings lead, hitting 91 out of the team's 218 runs.
Gunaratne took five more wickets in the second innings as Ragama found more resolve with the bat, hitting a match-high total of 248, thanks in part to Ian Daniel's 68. They had lost too much ground in the first dig however, and CCC chased down 138 in 25 overs. Lasith Abeyratne hit an unbeaten 67.
Nondescripts Cricket Club claimed first-innings points, but only three innings were possible in their draw against Tamil Union Cricket Club. In a match in which no other batsmen managed triple figures, NCC's Jehan Mubarak hit a hundred in each innings to move to the top of the season's run-scorers' list, with 862 at an average of 95.77. Mubarak, 33, has now scored a double ton, three centuries and a fifty in his last seven first-class innings.
Kosala Kulasekara and Tharindu Kaushal also hit fifties in NCC's first-innings total of 436. NCC had been 145 for 4 before Mubarak strung together sizeable stands with the lower middle order. Kulasekara and Kaushal also put on 107 for the seventh wicket, while spinners TN Sampath and Ramith Rambukwella shared seven wickets for Tamil Union.
Kaushal collected another bagful of wickets in Tamil Union's innings, completing his third five-wicket haul of the season as the opposition fell 103 runs short of NCC's first-innings score. Jeevan Mendis was stranded on 98 when Mubarak took the final wicket, with Rumesh Buddika also having hit a half-century earlier in the innings.
Niroshan Dickwella and Pawan Wickramasinghe struck fifties as Mubarak ended unbeaten on 112 - the same score he had achieved in he first innings. The match was called off when NCC had hit 304 for 6.
Badureliya Sports Club defeated Panadura Sports Club by four wickets in a low-scoring match that featured only two scores over 50. Left-arm seamer Thilan Thushara took four wickets for 25 as Panadura collapsed to 101 in the first innings, before a 75 from Badureliya's Hans Fernando helped establish a 120-run lead.
Opener Malith Chathuranga's 63 would form the basis of a better Panadura batting performance in the second innings, but they could set Badureliya only 78 for victory, which was achieved despite a top-order collapse in the fourth innings.
Colts Cricket Club inflicted an innings and 44-run victory over Chilaw Marians Cricket Club to embed themselves at the top of the table, with three wins from three. Colts opening bowlers Ishan Jayaratne and Kanishka Alvitigala shared five wickets as Marians slumped to 55 for 5, before Sachith Pathirana wiped out the tail.
Roshen Silva led the Colts response, with Bhanuka Rajapaksa contributing 82 and Angelo Jayasinghe hitting 70. Colts' 418 secured a lead of 290. Pathirana then took a five-for to finish with nine from the match, as the opening bowlers shared the remaining wickets. Fifties for Geeth Kumara and Umesh Karunaratne only delayed Colts' victory.
Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club defeated Air Force Sports Club by 176 runs, thanks in large-part to a nine-wicket haul for left-arm spinner Chatura Randunu. Fast-bowler Vishwa Fernando also took a five-wicket haul for Bloomfield, helping set up their 110-run first-innings lead.
Half-centuries from Nadeera Nawela and Madawa Warnapura were the largest contributions in Bloomfield's first-innings score of 278, before Fernando and Randunu were set upon the Air Force batsmen. They dismissed the opposition inside 37 overs in the first innings, and 45 overs in the second innings. Left-arm spinner Lahiru Sri Lakmal had taken six wickets for Air Force in the first innings.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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